On Saturday 20th April our branch linked up with UKIP West Suffolk and held a stall in Market Street, Newmarket, to engage with voters ahead of the local elections. Both branches are fielding candidates in the elections and whilst Newmarket is strictly West Suffolk, many shoppers come into the town from East Cambs.
We christened our new UKIP gazebo which looked really good and got noticed by passers-by. The last time we were here we held a 'referendum' on Brexit using a mood box. Cycle on a few months and the public mood has changed somewhat. Frustration then has turned to anger now. Many people said they wouldn't be voting in the elections. "What's the point if they ignore our vote?", they said contemptuously of the politicians.
We had our core supporters come up to us as usual and there was no sign of any LibDem or Labour supporters. The Tory 'voters' we encountered were embarrassed. Some said they'd vote for the Conservatives as usual, others that they might not vote, and some entertained the idea of voting for UKIP, especially once we explained that the Brexit Party weren't standing locally.
It must be said that we also encountered more negativity to us than usual from some people and we ascribe that to the incessant attacks on UKIP by the mainstream media recently.
Overall though it was a thoroughly worthwhile exercise and we were surprised at the ignorance of many about the impending local elections on 2nd May. Turnout in a local election is usually about 40%. One suspects that with many Tory voters turned off by Theresa May and their party's failure to deliver Brexit, they won't vote. This could well depress the turnout which would be very disappointing for democracy. As the chair of UKIP West Suffolk, Julian Flood, said to the many who showed apathy: "If you don't vote the politicians think you agree with them".
Our UKIP candidates running for District/Town councillorshipWest Suffolk
Bardwell ward: Julian Flood
Clare, Hundon and Kedington ward: Stuart Letten
Haverhill North: Ian Hirst
Newmarket West: Dave HudsonEast Cambridgeshire
Burwell ward: Martyn Cubitt
Woodditton ward: Richard Fullerton