When the analysts sit down to work out the secret behind the so-called rise of UKIP or the reason why turnouts at elections continue to tumble they need to look no further than Chris Skidmore MP for their answer.
Now it may be that Chris Skidmore, MP for Kingswood since 2010, is a splendid constituency MP and all round good egg. It is not really Mr Skidmore that is the problem it is the Tweet that he, or someone on his behalf, posted last night.
If you cannot make out what it says, he Tweeted “South Glos Euro results – Lab pushed into distant 3rd: Con 20,043, UKIP 24847, Lab 11827, LD 8162, G 5811”.
This is an example of exactly the sort of cheap political point scoring that is turning off the entire nation from taking part in the democratic process. It is also the sort of transparent spin that causes every one of us to mistrust our political figures.
This Tweet, however, goes to the heart of the problem in just 140 characters. Mr Skidmore sought to deflect attention away from the Conservative Party’s defeat by focussing on Labour’s position. As I say, a bit of a cheap political point. A cheap political point clothed in contempt for the electorate.
We can all see that the Conservatives came second. We do not notice that any less because Labour also lost. The fact is that UKIP won. However look at the little things the Tweet contains. The Conservative tally is the only one that contains a comma. The number just looks a little bigger that way. It may be a mistake, it may be the result of the limit of characters on Twitter but a remarkable coincidence that it only appears in the number of votes cast for his party.
And then there is the order of the parties. You will note that Labour is listed third, their position in the election. The Lib Dems and Greens are correctly in fourth and fifth place. It is only the Conservatives and UKIP that have been transposed. UKIP won, yet appear in second place (with their comma-free number). The results are not listed in correct numerical order or alphabetical order. Just in an order that may lead the casual observer to think the Tories won.
This is political spin that says “the voter is so stupid they may just fall for this”. It is not just deflection, it is a cheap shot at deception. A deception that is predicated on the basis that we, the humble proletariat, cannot count, cannot read and cannot think.
This Tweet says everything which is rendering the nation more likely to vote for a dancing dog or the new lead in an Andrew Lloyd-Webber musical than we are to vote for those who will make the big decisions. It is the 140 character representation of every politician who answers for their own failings by pointing out the failings of their opponents. It is every bent statistic traipsed out by a Minister to justify another cut.
We are sick of it. Sick of the meaningless utterances. Sick of the point scoring. Sick of the avoidance of responsibility. Sick of the falsehoods. Sick of being treated with such utter contempt.
I would never vote for a politician who so clearly thinks the citizens that they wish to represent are stupid enough to fall for such cheap tricks. Sadly no politician recognises this. Not Tory, Lib Dem, Labour or UKIP. From ministers making profit from policy, to broken promises to cling to power, to members of the opposition failing to oppose, to casual racism excused by exhaustion the political class believe they can act with impunity because we will not notice.
Well, we notice alright. That is why less than 40% of us turned out to pop an X in a box. It is so often said that people fought to give me and you the right to vote. Those same people fought so we would have leaders better than this. If Milliband, Cameron and Clegg want to know what they have to do to fight off Farage all they have to do is stop treating us like idiots and start earning our vote.
Perhaps we can just start with Mr Skidmore. And a Tweet that says “we lost, we will try to do better by you.”