Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell visit Clacton today, where Roger Lord wants to remain a candidate. Photo: Getty
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Roger Lord, Ukip's original Clacton candidate, may defect to the Tories

Ukip's Clacton candidate, who is refusing to give way to Douglas Carswell, is now considering defecting himself - to the Conservative party.

In a teetering-on-tedious game of what appears to be right-wing swapsies, the initial Ukip candidate for Clacton, Roger Lord (who was a Conservative party member in the past) has hinted on LBC that he may defect to the Tories.

Douglas Carswell, MP for Clacton, yesterday defected from the Conservatives to Ukip, and is triggering a by-election. But Lord has insisted that he wants to remain a candidate for Clacton, and won't step aside for him. He said yesterday:

It's pretty arrogant of Douglas Carswell to assume that the voters and the electorate are like sheep and they will just go along with this.

I genuinely hope that the national executive of Ukip will hear me out. For starters though It's pure bad manners for someone from Ukip who I have never met to just ring me up and tell me to shut up.

Now, Lord has told LBC that he is considering doing a reverse-Douglas and joining the Tories instead, to be the Conservative candidate for the Clacton by-election. Here's the clip:

Would you go back to the Conservatives if they made you the right sort of approach?

It's gotta be a damn good deal, a damn good deal.

But it's a possible, is it?

It's a possible, but we shall see. Douglas Carswell's still got the opportunity to do a deal, OK?

...

Have the Tories been in touch?

Sorry, you're breaking up, due to the wind...

I personally think the best part of this interview is when Lord says, "I know what's happening in South America" and the presenter James O'Brien goes "ooh!"

Anoosh Chakelian is senior writer at the New Statesman.

Lindsey Parnaby / Getty
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The public like radical policies, but they aren't so keen on radical politicians

Around the world, support for genuinely revolutionary ideas is strong, but in the UK at least, there's less enthusiasm for the people promising them.

You’re probably a getting a little bored of the litany of talking head statistics: trust in elected officials, parliament, the justice system and even democracy itself has been falling steadily for years and is at record lows. Maybe you’ve seen that graph that shows how people born after 1980 are significantly less likely than those born in 1960 to think that living in a democracy is ‘essential’. You’ve possibly heard of the ‘Pasokification’ of the centre-left, so-named the collapse of the once dominant Greek social democratic party Pasok, a technique being aggressively pursued by other centre-left parties in Europe to great effect.    

And so, goes the logic, there is a great appetite for something different, something new. It’s true! The space into which Trump et al barged leaves plenty of room for others: Beppe Grillo in Italy, Spanish Podemos, Bernie Sanders, Jean Luc Melanchon, and many more to come.

In my new book Radicals I followed movements and ideas that in many cases make someone like Jeremy Corbyn seem positively pedestrian: people who want to dismantle the nation state entirely, use technology to live forever, go off grid. All these ideas are finding fertile ground with the frustrated, disillusioned, and idealistic. The challenges of coming down the line – forces of climate change, technological change, fiscal crunch, mass movements of people – will demand new types of political ideas. Radical, outsider thinking is back, and this does, in theory at least, offer a chink of light for Corbyn’s Labour.

Polling last week found pretty surprising levels of support for many of his ideas. A big tax on high earners, nationalising the railways, banning zero hours contracts and upping the minimum wage are all popular. Support for renewable energy is at an all-time high. According to a recent YouGov poll, Brits actually prefer socialism to capitalism, a sentiment most strongly held among younger people.

There are others ideas too, which Corbyn is probably less likely to go for. Stopping benefits entirely for people who refuse to accept an offer of employment is hugely popular, and in one recent poll over half of respondents would be happy with a total ban on all immigration for the next two years. Around half the public now consistently want marijuana legalised, a number that will surely swell as US states with licenced pot vendors start showing off their dazzling tax returns.

The BNP effect used to refer to the problem the far-right had with selling their ideas. Some of their policies were extremely popular with the public, until associated with the BNP. It seems as though the same problem is now afflicting the Labour brand. It’s not the radical ideas – there is now a genuine appetite for those who think differently – that’s the problem, it’s the person who’s tasked with delivering them, and not enough people think Corbyn can or should. The ideal politician for the UK today is quite possibly someone who is bold enough to have genuinely radical proposals and ideas, and yet appears extremely moderate, sensible and centrist in character and temperament. Perhaps some blend of Blair and Corbyn. Sounds like an oxymoron doesn’t it? But this is politics, 2017. Anything is possible.

Jamie Bartlett is the head of the Violence and Extremism Programme and the Centre for the Analysis of Social Media at Demos.

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