South Thanet

2015 Result:
Conservative: 18838 (38.1%)
Labour: 11740 (23.8%)
Lib Dem: 932 (1.9%)
Green: 1076 (2.2%)
UKIP: 16026 (32.4%)
Independent: 61 (0.1%)
Others: 728 (1.5%)
MAJORITY: 2812 (5.7%)

Category: Marginal Conservative seat

Geography: South East, Kent. The eastern part of the Thanet council area and two wards from the Dover council area.

Main population centres: Ramsgate, Sandwich, Broadstairs, St Peters.

Profile: A coastal seat, snaking around the eastern coast of the Isle of Thanet and then south into Dover to include the historic Cinque port of Sandwich and the rural villages inland from it, including Ash and Wingham. The main centres of population is the ferry port, fishing town and coastal resort of Ramsgate, the more genteel seaside town of Broadstairs and Cliftonville, a residential part of Margate. Thanet suffers from the economic problems often associated with declining seaside towns, and has some of the most deprived wards in the otherwise generally affluent Kent.

Politics: Historically this was a safely Conservative area, the Isle of Thanet seat that existed until 1974 was solidly Conservative throughout its history, as was this seat`s immediate predecessor Thanet East. In 1992 Jonathan Aitken enjoyed an apparently safe 23% majority here, but in 1997 he lost his seat to Labour`s Stephen Ladyman and subsequently his liberty after being found guilty and jailed for perjury. The seat was regained by the Conservatives in 2010 under Laura Sandys, a Tory moderate and pro-European. The 2015 election was one of the most high profile constituency battles, fought between the UKIP leader Nigel Farage, Craig Mackinlay, a UKIP to Conservative defector chosen to replace Sandys, and the Labour candidate Will Scobie. Ultimately Mackinlay won, prompting Nigel Farage to briefly honour a promise to resign as UKIP leader.


Current MP
CRAIG MACKINLAY (Conservative) Born Chatham. Educated at Rainham Mark Grammar and Birmingham University. Former chartered accountant and tax advisor. Medway councillor since 2007. Contested Gillingham 1992 as Independent, 1997 as UKIP, Totnes 2001 for UKIP, Gillingham 2005 for UKIP, Kent Police Commissioner election 2012 for the Conservatives. First elected as MP for Thanet South in 2015. Acting leader of UKIP 1997, Deputy leader of UKIP 1997-2000. Defected to the Conservatives in 2005.
Past Results
2010
Con: 22043 (48%)
Lab: 14426 (31%)
LDem: 6935 (15%)
UKIP: 2529 (6%)
MAJ: 7617 (17%)
2005*
Con: 15996 (39%)
Lab: 16660 (40%)
LDem: 5431 (13%)
UKIP: 2079 (5%)
Oth: 1076 (3%)
MAJ: 664 (2%)
2001
Con: 16210 (41%)
Lab: 18002 (46%)
LDem: 3706 (9%)
UKIP: 501 (1%)
Oth: 1012 (3%)
MAJ: 1792 (5%)
1997
Con: 17899 (40%)
Lab: 20777 (46%)
LDem: 5263 (12%)
Oth: 1049 (2%)
MAJ: 2878 (6%)

*There were boundary changes after 2005

Demographics
2015 Candidates
CRAIG MACKINLAY (Conservative) Born Chatham. Educated at Rainham Mark Grammar and Birmingham University. Chartered accountant and tax advisor. Medway councillor since 2007. Contested Gillingham 1992 as Independent, 1997 as UKIP, Totnes 2001 for UKIP, Gillingham 2005 for UKIP, Kent Police Commissioner election 2012 for the Conservatives. Acting leader of UKIP 1997, Deputy leader of UKIP 1997-2000. Defected to the Conservatives in 2005.
WILL SCOBIE (Labour) Educated at Dane Court Grammar and York University. Thanet councillor since 2011, Kent county councillor since 2013.
RUSS TIMPSON (Liberal Democrat) Educated at South Bank University. Businessman, fire engineer and former Royal Navy submariner.
NIGEL FARAGE (UKIP) Born 1964, Farnborough. Educated at Dulwich College. Former commodities broker. Contested Itchen, Test and Avon in 1994 European election. Member of the European Parliament for South-East England since 1999. Contested Eastleigh by-election 1994, Salisbury 1997, Bexhill and Battle 2001, South Thanet 2005, Bromley and Chistlehurst 2006 by-election, Buckingham 2010. Leader of UKIP 2006-2009 and since 2010.
IAN DRIVER (Green) Thanet councillor since 2011, originally elected for Labour.
GRAHAME BIRCHALL (United Thanet) Born 1952. Businessman and former serviceman. Former Canterbury councillor for the Labour party.
DEAN MCCASTREE (Independent) Born St Lucia. Financial Trader. Former Thanet councillor, former Lambeth councillor. Contested Brent Central 2010.
ZEBADIAH ABU-OBADIAH (Al-Zebabist) Musician.
NIGEL ASKEW (Reality) Publican.
RUTH BAILEY (Manston Airport Independent) Teacher.
AL MURRAY (No description) Born 1968, Stewkley. Educated at Bedford School and Oxford University. Comedian.
Links
Comments - 1,977 Responses on “Thanet South”
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  1. Wasn’t Heath’s accent more Kent proper than London suburb? He did after all grow up well away from London. I think there are quite a lot of older people in Kent today who speak not unlike Heath; not the very posh, but the comfortably-off who have lived in the county all their lives.

  2. Well I agree Heath’s attempted accent change wasn’t wholly successful, but there’s little doubt his slightly odd mode of speech was the result partly of trying to ape his contemporaries at Oxford. Not really that surprising – that was what people like him tried to do then.

  3. “Wasn’t Heath’s accent more Kent proper than London suburb?”

    By London suburb I meant the outer suburbs which were previously in Kent, such as Bexley and where I used to live in Bromley. Many older residents there speak like Heath, the younger ones who aren’t foreign sound more recognisably like Londoners. “Kent proper”, further out to Sevenoaks and Tunbridge Wells at least, is traditionally a more rural sounding and posher accent, think of the darlings buds of May.

  4. “there’s little doubt his slightly odd mode of speech was the result partly of trying to ape his contemporaries at Oxford.”

    I don’t agree it was at all odd. His mode of speech was very common amongst professionals of his generation living in the Kent/London borders, many of whom may well of course have been well educated. It sounds more odd now because that accent is dying out due to migration patterns and white flight.

  5. In one of Dominic Sandbrook’s (v good) books about the 70s Heath’s accent is described as very tortured and weird which is rather an exaggeration.
    Laura Sandys is standing down for family reasons. In “another place”, where her type of Tory MP is not popular anyway, she is critcised for not having foreseen this. Of course partners/children may suddenly become seriously ill let alone elderly parents, but imagine if everybody turned down job offers because of some hypothetical future situation.

  6. I think I now understand what Farage’s grand plan is:

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadian_federal_election,_1993#Legacy

  7. Based on the county council elections –

    A – Did UKIP win in any constituencies?
    B – How many Conservative, Labour or Lib Dem constituencies did UKIP come within 10% of winning?
    C – Which London constituency will UKIP poll most strongly at the LBC elections in May?

  8. Hemmelig – you obviously aren’t old enough to remember Heath’s accent being lampooned by Monty Python.

  9. A – Off the top of my head, Boston & Skegness, Great Yarmouth, Castle Point, Aylesbury, Sittingbourne, Thanet North, Thanet South, Bognor Regis & Littlehampton, Worthing East & Shoreham, Falmouth & Cambourne. There may be others where the situation is clouded by either CC divisions being divided between constituencies (eg Lewes) or where only part of the constituency had elections (eg South Basildon & east Thurrock)

    B – don’t know all as have not collated votes everywhere, but some include West Suffolk, NW Norfolk, North Norfolk, Waveney, Worthing West, Eastbourne, Bexhill & Battle

    C – probably Hornchurch & Upminster. Others will be Romford, Old Bexley & Sidcup, Orpington, Bexleyheath & Crayford – all pretty obvious really. I’d expect decentish performance elsewhere in the Sutton seats, Uxbridge & South Ruislip and the Barking & Dagenham seats (probably not so much in Barking now)

  10. “a Wet as described by Thatcher (in quotes, books or The Iron Lady) was also about background. Most had inherited wealth or privileged titles/land and were ashamed, whereas Thatcher fought and worked her way up”

    In my opinion thats what made Thatcher a cut above the rest. She fought for her position and had to fight to keep it unlike the old money type who like to pontificate to those below them, or even worse the rich folk in the Labour party who think helping poor people makes it more palatable to be very wealthy.

    HH is right re Heaths accent. In the 20s and 30s people in Sidcup, Bromley, Bexley, Orpington would certainly not have considered themselves to be Londoners and many people spoke with a similar accent to Heath part posh Kent, part working class London. However a book I am currently reading on Ted Heath does say that many suspected he ‘poshed up’ his accent, not surprisingly, when he went to Oxford University and later joined the Conservative Party. I get the impression that Heath didn’t seem particularly comfortable with his background.

  11. “Hemmelig – you obviously aren’t old enough to remember Heath’s accent being lampooned by Monty Python.”

    No I’m not, I was born one year after Heath was ousted as Tory leader.

    I find it quite amusing however that you are attacking Heath for having a reasonably ordinary middle class accent, when Margaret Thatcher, whom you obviously like much more, had a far more pretentious and put-on voice than Heath, and she was also famously lampooned for it so much that she had to get voice coaching so that it didn’t ruin her chances of becoming PM.

  12. If people decide to “reinvent” themselves it’s usually regarded in a positive light in today’s society, but oddly this isn’t applied to people who change their accents. So it’s okay for a formerly conformist person to dye their hair, wear unorthodox clothes, cross-dress, etc, but if you try changing your accent for whatever reason it’s regarded as “fake”. But why is changing one’s accent any different to changing any other aspect of one’s persona? There seems to be a double standard at work here.

    If Heath decided to modify his accent to improve his life chances, good for him I say.

  13. As I said, Heath’s behaviour was rather normal at the time. I wasn’t attacking him particularly, just observing that despite his apparently ‘posh’ (but in reality obviously not right to those with a decent ear, hence the mockery) accent he wasn’t from a privileged background unlike some of the other wets. Thatcher’s original fake accent was arguably even odder.

    Today of course we have politicians faking elements of lower status accents which is possibly even more embarassing.

  14. Yes I agree with that, and with Andy as well.

    I far prefer people faking poshness to the dumbing down we see today.

    I will say though that the pretend ordinary accents are generally worse on the Labour side – Blair set the trend and it’s got worse from there onwards. At least in terms of voice I don’t think Cameron is trying to disguise his poshness, he speaks very well and avoids the horrible estuarine glottal stops that Blair and the Milibands and Balls are all so fond of.

  15. Interesting poll commissioned by UKIP in Thanet South which shows them currently in second – ahead of the Tories, but 5 points behind Labour

    And quite a feasible result.

  16. Not feasible at all.

    I think it is actually very unprofessional of Survation to realise a poll where the 2010 vote cuts the tory majority from 17 points to 3. Especially with such a small sample size. This poll should be totally ignored.

  17. If you have poor quality data you need to apply more stringent constraints and restraints. Any scientist knows that.

  18. Constituency polls are notoriously a pile of horseshit. It is extremely difficult and expensive to find a representative sample large enough to be able to tell you anything meaningful in a small defined area of 80,000 voters. Especially this far out from the election, and even when you group some of the seats together you get the same problems. Remember Lord Ashcroft’s “polls of the marginals” in 2008 and 2009 which showed David Cameron heading for a three figure majority and winning Poplar & Canning Town and Dulwich & West Norwood? I would file this poll into the same dustbin, even more so given that it was commissioned specifically to push UKIP’s campaign and was not adjusted to match the correct 2010 vote weightings.

    I don’t think Labour have a cat in hell’s chance of winning this seat. If UKIP got a big bandwagon rolling with Farage as candidate and an A-list nobody standing for the Tories they might have a shot of winning on 30-35% of the vote. Otherwise it will be a Tory hold with UKIP sapping Labour votes as well as Tory ones (which did happen in the county elections here).

    The Tories really have to up their game on candidate selections however. The selections in safe seats recently have been extremely uninspiring. The same merry go round of Ed Argar and other Westminster bubble SPADs moving from seat to seat until they get lucky one by one, with almost all local candidates excluded. A repeat of that in South Thanet will give UKIP a fighting chance.

  19. In the 2011 districts:

    South Thanet comprises 13 wards from Thanet District Council and 2 wards from Dover District Council.

    In the Thanet wards, the Conservatives won 6 wards (Cliftonville E, Kingsgate, Bradstowe, St. Peters, Viking and Cliffsend Pegwell).

    Labour won 7, (Cliftonville West, Beacon Road, Northwood. Sir Moses Montifiore (!), Newington, Eastcliff and Central Harbour)

    Despite this, the conservatives outpolled labour comfortably in these wards, by 10,283 to 8,959.

    The two Dover wards are very weak for labour. The tories won both, with the vote tally being 3,271 to 1,054.

    In total thats 13,554 to 10,013.

  20. With regards to the KCC seats:

    The Cliftonville half of the Margate and Cliftonville seat is in South ~(i.e. Cliftonville W and E, with Dane Valley and Margate Central in North)

    This ward was ultramarginal between UKIP and labour, with the tories 10 points behind,

    However, The Cliftonville half is better for the conservatives and weaker for labour (ukip??? – ill presume they are equally strong in the two halves in absence of any real evidence).

    In the 2011 districts

    North – Dane Valley Lab 54%, Con 30%, LD 16%
    North – Margate Central: Lab 71% Con 29%

    South – Cliftonville West Lab 60%, Con 40%
    South – Cliftonville East Con 54%, Lab 23%, Ind 18%, Green 4%.

    So Labour outpolled the tories by 2:1 in the Thanet North half of the CC ward, but were behind in the Thanet South Half.

    I would guess that the tories probably slightly outpolled labour in the Southern half as a result. with UKIP slightly ahead of the tories in 1st.

    Broadgate and Sir Moses:

    UKIP 2797, Con 2182, Lab 1854

    Ramsgate

    UKIP 3347, Lab 2478, Con 1583

    Sandwich

    Con 2093, UKIP 1173, Lab 983

    Total Excluding Split Ward:

    UKIP 7317
    Con 5858
    Lab 5315

    The Thanet South half of the split ward probably does not significantly alter the picture and probably votes about the same as the other 3 wards combined.

    That doesn’t paint a good picture with regards to labour’s chances of winning the seat in 2015.

  21. The Evening standard’s reporting of this Thanet South Poll states that it is an ‘unpublished’ poll covering 5 seats and ‘commissioned by Ukip donor Alan Brown’.

    Presumably the details of the other 4 seats remain private?

    And how likely is it – assuming this is the only one of the five to be released – that it was also the most flattering to Ukip?

  22. I thought the others are going to be released.

  23. I look forward to posting of fuller results of the UKIP polls for this and other seats.

    I agree with the reservations expressed above about private party polls and polls for individual constituencies.

    All that said, the recent poll reported for Thanet South strikes me as not at all implausible for this seat, and in lie with my “feel” from recent monthly trips to Ramsgate.

    A Labour win in a seat they held until the last General Election cannot be regarded as totally implausible, even though the swing in 2010 was massive. On the contrary, a reasonable Labour recovery combined with more votes going from the Conservatives than Labour to UKIP, with the combined effects leading to a Labour victory her, strikes me as very credible.

    The analysis of local election results pointing to Sandwich as being a burden to UKIP if they hope to win this seat is also very credible. Sandwich is a close knit town with a strong local culture, for instance to Huguenot history, and it isn’t pro-UKIP.

    From the recent poll, if Farage wants to win here, presuming he would be selected if he wishes to stand, he will have to do a lot of grassroots work , starting from now, whilst keeping up his national profile. The UKIP councillors will also have to work hard. Along the lines of Caroline Lucas in Brighton. This means that, from what I understand of UKIP history, he will have to up his game at local level considerably compared to previous General Elections.

  24. UKIP got 25% of the vote in Sandwich in May which can only be considered a poor result in comparison with the rest of East Kent. I struggle to believe that any Huguenot history has any bearing on modern voting patterns

  25. Two replies, not directly about this seat.

    First, H. Hemmelig, I am deadly serious about Toton marshalling yard, although relocation of parliament to near Birmingham or Manchester airports strikes me as more likely,

    Since it was rebuilt in the 1830s, Westminster has presided over the decline of the United Kingdom rom being the major world super party to being a medium-sized nation within Europe, being detroyed by a decadent capital along the lines of early twentieth century Vienna. At national level we need organizational re-engineering including rebuilding of the national headquarters to sweep away the plethora of organizational cobwebs.

    During the last parliment, I was quite critical of John Bercow on the Buckingham thread. However, The Speaker is miles ahead of the political parties, and the large majority of MPs in relation to parliamentary reform to take account of the online based society. We ought to support Bercow on this.

    Organizational change can be uncomforable, but MPs would be far happier in a House of ommons more fit for purpose, and in many cases might find a more comfortable niche in English Regional Assemblies.

    I am sure the Royal family could find some niche houses in the Derby Dales, of a more comfortable size than Buckingham Palace. They could make more money by opening Buckingham Palce to the public.

    The Government could make money by selling off property in and around Whitehall and replacing it on cheaper sites elsewhere. They would also make planning gains as a result of the redevelopment.

    On other gossip, having been born in Bromley and speaking not unlike Mr. Heath myself, I am comforted by the points about our North-West Kent accents. it is just another example of how London has destroyed the local culture of surrounding areas, particularly the Kentish culture which should ompare in strength with say Yorkshire or Lancashire.

    Sadly, the local accdents, and related culture, in Thanet have almost entirely disappeared. The country people and fisherman had accents until about three generations ago more like the West Countrythan those of today. My great uncle and great aunt spoke that way. The fishermen’s accent was different from that of the rural villagers. Perhaps there ought to be a movement to preserve and recreate Kentish English.

  26. Pete, agreed in relation to Huguenot history specifically, but the point is that there is an outward looking culture in Sandwich which does not fit well with UKIP. Without looking it up or being told, I would have guessed that the UKIP vote in Sandwich was lower that 25%.

  27. Frederic

    To some extent I understand what you are saying and, though it will be a great shame historically speaking, the time might eventually come when the national government has to move out of London.

    However, you know as well as I do that the enormous egos of politicians and senior civil servants will demand the new seat of government be suitably grand. Meanwhile, regional jealousies will prevent it being moved to major cities like Manchester or Birmingham. As with the Australians, we will have to choose a smaller, more neutral place with some element of grandeur and excellent transport links…….York would be an excellent bet IMO.

    Your comments on the NW Kent accent are very interesting and do concur with my own experience.

  28. Yes, I do know about the MPs and civil servants egos. They are a major part of the problem that needs to be addressed.

    York is one of very few places I can think of in the North that are already overheated in terms of infrastructure. There is open land in the North of the City which belongs to two public schools, which I suppose could be subject to compulsory puchase, and a hospital. From my own personal experience, nothing would please me more than such a demolition, but I would point out that Sir Jeremy Heywood, the Cabinet Secretary, went to Bootham School and might have different views.

  29. Kentish dialects historically tended to be very conservative, often preserving features of the language that had long fallen out of use in other parts of the country. It’s unfortunate if this kind of richness in the language is lost but it’s not a problem confined to Kent I’m afraid.

  30. all national parliament ought to be in that nation’s capital – and by and large they nearly always are

    the netherlands is the one exception i can think of but i’m sure there are others

  31. Following devo max for Scotland and Wales we might eventually get an English parliament in eg. York, with a slimmed down Westminster / Whitehall remaining for UKwide issues like defence and foreign affairs.

  32. Tony Wright wanted Parliament to be moved to Cannock Chase.

  33. “all national parliament ought to be in that nation’s capital – and by and large they nearly always are”

    They are but many countries do not have their largest city as their national capital.

    The issue regarding London is that it is the centre of not just political power but also economic and cultural power as well.

    In addition if London continues to become a ‘world city’ then the influences upon it, and hence the application of the political, economic and cultural power based there, will be increasingly from outside Britain and not necessarily in the interests of the British people.

  34. Yes I think that’s right.

    Of the countries I know quite well, I do like the Chinese model when it comes to this.

    They keep Beijing for all government and administration, and as the centre of heritage tourism and culture. Meanwhile the centre for international business and excitement is most definitely Shanghai. Neither city is clearly more important than the other.

    Perhaps a similar dual model between London and Birmingham or Manchester might eventually work.

  35. I hope we eventually build a MagLev system similar to the one in Shanghai, which would cut London-Birmingham and Birmingham-Manchester journey times to 20 minutes.

  36. England’s problem is that there isn’t a clear number 2 city any more, given how much Birmingham has declined.

  37. Why is that a problem, particularly?

  38. It is a problem which makes it hard to sap London’s increasing domination

  39. I suspect 100 years ago London was more dominant in population terms than it is now, vis a vis other cities. There has been a vast gulf between London and the next biggest cities in the UK for centuries.

  40. Birmingham’s population is now back over a million again so it’s not downhill in all departments.

  41. Not many people today are aware that in 1960 the West Midlands was the most prosperous part of the UK by some distance. I think the terrible war damage in London had a lot to do with it.

  42. Thanks for your observations Pete.

    If UKIP were to poll over 10% in a GE, would they be likely to gain at least 1 seat? The Liberals won several seats with much less in the 1950s and 1960s.

  43. Dalek: It depends on their local organisation. On 12% or so, they could plausibly win Boston and Skegness with a good local campaign, and potentially 1 or 2 other LAB-CON marginals where they can win on a low vote share that is just above the share of the other two parties (Thanet South comes to mind).

    They would need 20% or so to start winning a good number of seats in practice though.

  44. I still think Castle Point is their best shot.

  45. The seat of Government is by definition the capital.

    There are many successful states in which the largest city and/or commercial centre is not the capital eg.

    Switzerland (capital Berne)
    United States (capital Washington DC)
    India (capital Dehli)
    Australia (capital Canberra)
    Canada (capital Ottawa)
    Brazil (capital Brazilia)

    The above is just off the top of my head.

    Andy. I have sympathy with your ideas about Maglev. So much of the proposed HS2 route is in tunnel, and judging from HS1 the open air bits will have massive unused (and expensive) land alongside for safety and performance reasons, that I cannot help wondering whether it would be better to build the new railway, if at all, in tunnel all the way from London to Birmingham, combining this with advanced technology so that the trains run just below the speed of sound.

    HS2 strikes me as being largely Crossrail engineers looking for something else to do, and going on empire building using conventional railways pushed a bit rather than innovating with leading edge technology. As a railway fan I think they could do better.

  46. Second topic, second post.

    The Isle of Thanet Gazette has reported Laura Sandys’ decision to stand down on pages 8-9 of this week’s paper. There is just a box at the top of the front page, with Laura’s Sandys picture and a box with just a headline, announcing this story.

    The main front page story is about the death of a Ramsgate man in a car crash on the M25, with alongside it a column about the sale of Manston Airport to Stagecoach for £1.

    So much for the incumbency effect. This coverage does not suggest that Laura Sandys would have been a major vote winner for the Conservatives at the next General Election. The newspaper’s coverage is mostly fairly standard. For instance they report the UKIP poll.

    There is a very competent reaction from the Prospective Labour Candidate, Will Scobie, who received the news during a County Council meeting. He appears to be using his profile as a councillor very competently to raise his profile. If the result here next time comes down to personal votes, as it may, the Conservatives and UKIP are up against a formidable opponent.

    UKIP misfired with an overenthusiastic reaction from a local party worker and had to follow up with something more dignified. I think this is not unprecedented in campaigning history. Perhaps from our point of view the most significant UKIP reaction is that Nigel Farage is quoted as saying that they were concentrating on the Euroelections and have not yet got a date for selecting a candidate here.

    There is a major error in Laura Sandys’ column later in the paper. She refers to her work in Thanet over the last nine years, which has been translated by the headline writer into her nine years as an MP! Presumably Laura Sandys was thinking of her time as a candidate before 2010 as well as her service as an MP, but I am still not sure how this adds up.

    Laura Sandys’ refers to the redevelopment of the Sandwich site, vacated by Pfizer as the major issue she has had to deal with. The Conservatives will need to attend to this if they are to hold onto the seat if things turn out tight. Foir instance, they could arrange to extend the high-speed London to Folkestone and Dover service to Sandwich throughout the day. They also need to up their act in relation to science and technology support for the ex-Pfizer campus, for instance in providing University of Kent the resources to develop quality research at Sandwich. At present University of Kent is in a limbo below Russell Group service, and this cannot have helped when Pfizer decided to relocate research to Cambridge.

    Other issues the Conservatives need to attend to include the expansion of Manston, where the KLM service to Schipol does seem to be doing better than previous attempts at passenger services, and the regeneration of the Ramsgate harbour area. I understand this may acquire the largest Wetherspoon’s in the country, but whether this is sufficient is dubious.

  47. Third topic, third post.

    We referred briefly to Huguenot history in Sandwich, where one third of the population were Huguenot for a time in the sixteenth century and it was suggested that this is not of contemporary relevance. However, it is in the back of my mind somewhere that Nigel Farage has referred to Huguenot descent, so given his concentration on European affairs it is perhaps not so completely irrelevant. Although if he were to turn up at the French Protestant Church in Canterbury it might be an interesting encounter in terms of differing perspectives.

    Again it has got stored in the back of my head and I might not find it easy to find the reference, but I think I have seen was that one reason the Huguenots were moved from Sandwich to Canterbury in Elizabethan times was that they took to piracy against Spanish ships sailing to the Spanish Netherlands. So perhaps the views of sixteenth century French refugees towards Europe were not as different from twenty-first century UKIP views as at first sight appears.

    Perhaps we might follow up this view by suggesting that if European Government is concentrated in one capital, as is long overdue on efficiency grounds, this should be Strasbourg rather than Brussels. I am not sure about this though

  48. Barnaby mentioned a few posts up that Castle Point is UKIP’s best prospect and I’m sure Frederic will know that Benfleet and that whole area of Essex was a major recipient of Huguenot refugees. Maybe there is something in this after all

  49. ‘The seat of Government is by definition the capital.’

    That’s not the case in the Netherlands

    The seat of the government is The Hague, but constitutionally Amsterdam is (and always has been) the capital of the Netherlands

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