No they don't. To win half a dozen seats, UKIP do not need any sort of local council base at all, they need the electorate to believe that they can win parliamentary seats, then they need two dozen seats where the demographics give them an outside chance. By contrast, they can build all the local base they want, but it will translate into zero to one seats unless the electorate actually think they can win. In fact, the presence of a couple of hundred UKIP councillors being stupid in public might actively harm their chances.
Yes and No. Winning council seats in significant numbers would help us to convince people that we can win parliamentary seats.
I would remind you that extremism in the defence of liberty is no vice! And let me remind you also that moderation in the pursuit of justice is no virtue!
I see no chance of UKIP winning in Sutton as it is just too strong but if they split the Tory vote Labour now do have a very decent base there and the the whole of the West Mids Labour party being involved, well interesting.
Like all places the demographics are changing, witness the election of a labour councillor. However it is the older voters that are being lost by the Tories at the moment and Four Oaks is teeming with them.
The idea that any good UKIP byelection result is in some way dependent on previous UKIP performances is pretty illusionary. We've never really had a set of results that would make much impact - even in Eastleigh it wasn't really that much of a factor. The reason a Sutton coldfield byelection would crop up - appointment to be an EU Commissioner would totally play into UKIP's hands and make them relevant from the outset. I think our prospects in such a seat would be very good...
I think the logical places for a UKIP win would be a relatively safe Tory seat where the Lib Dems tend to come a mediocre second with little of a historic council base (by which I include seats seriously fought even if lost) and Labour a poor (sub 20% but without that being after a serious squeeze so there are not lots of votes to unsqueeze).
Examples Devizes, North Somerset, Bromley and Chislehurst, North Shropshire, Ashford.
Probably best without a big LD/Lab machine close to hand so not Henley (ie Oxford for both) or Blaby (S Leics? with Leicester [Lab] and Harborough/Bosworth [LD] which would lower the squeeze effects.
I have no doubt that under certain circumstances UKIP could win a parliamentary seat, the question though is how long would their representative remain a member of the party? Their track record in the European Parliament is none to good in that respect.