Angry Ukippers are using #ThanetRigged to claim the party taking the council but losing in the general election is proof of some shady goings-on.
Some party faithful are claiming a local conspiracy because the count took hours longer than usual, and coupled with Ukip's shock council poll victory today at Thanet, obviously suggests someone is having them on.
Election boxes missing for 6.5 hours? More voted UKIP for Coucil than in National elections? They didn't want Nigel in HOC. #ThanetRigged— Donee liberum (@petertonline) May 9, 2015
— liam ukip noble (@liam345) May 9, 2015
Do theyexpect us to believe that so many people vote for UKIP but won't vote for the party leader in General Election? #ThanetRigged— M smith (@Smithy1974Uk) May 9, 2015
SOUTH THANET - DECLARATION TIMES
2015: about 11:00am (8hrs LATE)
1997: 3:12amMay 9, 2015
Odd that UKIP win Thanet council elections but Farage fails to win the seat. Ballot boxes were unaccounted for for six hours #ThanetRigged— Nathan Kett (@nathan_GAFC) May 9, 2015
Postal votes and those missing ballot boxes which magically turned up after 6.5 hours are the key. #ThanetRigged— UKIPHavant (@UKIPHavant) May 9, 2015
#ThanetRigged trending, for good reason. It was— mkpdavies (@mkpdavies) May 9, 2015
They also began to target journalist Isabel Hardman, who said she had word Farage had lost, but said so before the count had even started.
If so then how did @Nigel_Farage lose?May 9, 2015
To which she responded jovially:
I'm getting a lot of tweets from Ukippers who think that rather than the Thanet electorate not wanting Farage as MP, the result was rigged.— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) May 9, 2015
I note that unlike these tweeters, Farage has accepted the verdict of voters, rather than trying to develop an elaborate conspiracy theory— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) May 9, 2015
Kippers who are upset about their party not doing better could usefully direct energy into getting annoyed with voting system.— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) May 9, 2015
Still, the #Thanetrigged hashtag is quite fun to read.— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) May 9, 2015
Also not a lot of love for pencils this afternoon, it seems.— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) May 9, 2015
The truth about #Thanetrigged of course is someone called LibLabCon hid in a room with an eraser, rubbing out all crosses on ballot papers— Isabel Hardman (@IsabelHardman) May 9, 2015
But that hasn't of course, stopped the rest of Twitter from also helpfully pointing out their own theories to support a Thanet South conspiracy:
MI6 put flourides in the water which altered voting intentions #ThanetRigged— Rupert Myers (@RupertMyers) May 9, 2015
LATEST SOURCES SUGGEST 63% THANET PENCILS DIDN'T EVEN HAVE LEAD IN THEM!!!! #ThanetRigged— Hugo Rifkind (@hugorifkind) May 9, 2015
Ballot counter man: "We have top men working on it right now". Indiana Jones: "Who?". BCM: "Top. Men". #ThanetRigged— Michael Legge (@michaellegge) May 9, 2015
Off to do Sky News. May take inspiration from #ThanetRigged and claim we won 65 seats but MI5 rubbed out the votes.— Sean Kemp (@Sean_Kemp) May 9, 2015
The real reason for the local council/Westminster split, however, may be a lot more simple. The constituency turnout was 70% for the general election, but historically only sat at 40% in the locals.
So what's really happened, it seems, is that Ukip voters were the only ones who actually bothered to turn in their ballots in the local elections while Tories and Labourites ignored the councils and just voted in the general election, letting the Conservative candidate cling to power.
For what it's worth, with some results still to declare, Ukip has already returned 31 out of 56 councillors in Thanet, taking control of the authority.
Marathon election counts have ground on into the third day with Tories extending their run of council poll triumphs.
With results in from 250 out of 279 authorities, Conservatives have made 490 net seat gains, Ukip 47 and Greens 11.
Liberal Democrats have 322 net losses and Labour 160.
There were 321 losses for others.
Tories gained control at Babergh, Basingstoke and Deane, Brentwood, East Lindsey, East Staffordshire, Eden, Gloucester, Herefordshire, High Peak, Mole Valley, Newark & Sherwood, Poole, St Albans, Scarborough, South Gloucestershire, Staffordshire Moorlands, Taunton Deane, Teignbridge, Torridge, Waveney, Winchester, Worcester and Wyre Forest.
They captured Amber Valley, Gravesham and North Warwickshire from Labour, Hinckley & Bosworth from Lib Dems and Richmondshire from independents.
But they lost overall control at Tendring.
Labour's biggest prize so far was at Bradford where it won from no overall control (NOC).
It also gained from NOC at Stockton-on-Tees and West Lancashire but lost Plymouth, Stoke-on-Trent and Telford and Wrekin.
Lib Dems lost to NOC at South Somerset, Three Rivers and Watford.
Six authorities -Bath and North East Somerset, Bournemouth, Broxtowe, Guildford, Middlesbrough and Redcar and Cleveland - are not expected to produce final results until Monday.
With counting completed at Thanet, Ukip has 33 seats, Conservatives have 18, Labour four, and independents one.
Liberal Democrats, who failed to hold Eastbourne's parliamentary seat, easily retained control of the council.
And of course Ukippers, along with their Green Party brethren - who also only claimed a single seat despite winning millions of votes - would be better off focusing their attention on changing the voting system: