Leader of the racist Ukip party Nigel Farage failed in his attempt to be elected MP in South Thanet.
Farage resigned—but Ukip refused to accept his resignation.
In a statement the party said there was “overwhelmingly evidence” members didn’t want him to go. “He has therefore been persuaded to withdraw his resignation and remains leader of Ukip.”
Farage’s election failure follows months of campaigning by anti-racists in the Stand Up to Ukip (Sutu) campaign.
Jo Cardwell from Sutu told Socialist Worker, “Farage came to South Thanet with the intention of dividing people—but they rejected that.
“The high turnout shows that people came out to vote against him.”
The party now has just one MP, Douglas Carswell in Clacton, after Mark Reckless lost in Rochester and Strood.
But behind the lack of MPs is a worrying rise in the Ukip vote.
Farage grabbed 32 percent of the vote in South Thanet, behind the Tories’ 38 percent. The Ukip vote there rose by 27 percent. Nationally
the party took around 13 percent of the vote—or 3.8 million votes.
It made Thanet its first district council, going from two seats there to 33.
And nationally Ukip gained 200 seats in the council elections—175 more than it had before.
In many areas where Ukip didn’t win, it saw its vote rise.
As Jo pointed out, “Ukip came second in 118 places in the parliamentary elections.
Ukip is now effectively Britain’s third biggest party.
“Its rising vote is massively worrying and shows how important it is to stand up against Ukip.
“But South Thanet shows that it is possible to drive Ukip back.”
Ukip benefited from the mainstream parties’ agreement that immigration is a problem.
Their racist scapegoating made Farage and Ukip seem less extreme and more credible.
Farage may have lost in South Thanet but Ukip has succeeded in pulling the debate over immigration yet further to the right.
Anti-racists will need to keep organising.
Sutu activists in Ramsgate were set to meet on Wednesday of this week to plan their next steps.
Sutu also plans to hold a national activists’ meeting in the next few weeks to plan future campaigning against the racist party.