Rod Liddle Rod Liddle

I’ve just seen the Rochester candidates’ debate. Sheesh. Poor Rochester

So – the Rochester and Strood by-election next Thursday. Who will win? I’ve been there a few times recently and my guess, from a feeling in my water, is that it will be Ukip by about ten thou. Good, I suppose. That will shake them all up a bit more, no?

Last night, I watched the main candidates in debate on a BBC Newsroom South East (or whatever it’s called) special programme hosted with some acuity by Polly Evans, in front of the most left wing audience the BBC could cobble together at short notice. Christ help us, what a shower.

The best, by a million miles, was Labour’s Naushabah Khan – unruffled, articulate, competent. Mark Reckless – Ukip’s lauded defectee – was disingenuous and evasive and possessed of all of the charisma and warmth of a caravan site on the Isle of Sheppey in late February. But at least he made sense when he spoke.

The Tory candidate, Kelly Tolhurst, was utterly useless on a rather epic level, unable to string a single sentence together. The Lib Dem bloke look like he’d been constructed out of flour and water by a class of remedial six year olds and made no sense at all.

The Green was ineffective and fabulously loathsome, with his sideburns and white poppy and endless sanctimony – an ageing Russell Brand without even his very limited wit, humour and articulacy.

Sheesh. Poor Rochester. Still – Ukip first, Tories second, Labour a sad and distant third.

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