If there are any defections to UKIP then I think they could be the day after the local election results to gain maximum impact.
Was it Purnell who resigned as the Polls closed ?
surely the biggest impact is the day before voting ?
It depends who you're trying to appeal to. The attempt to overthrow Brown in June 2009 was holed below the water before it began, because they needed the support of MPs and the tacit consent of activists.
Blears resigning the day before the elections meant that activists were pissed off as hell, because a bunch of bitter never-beens had just decided to put another nail into the burning coffin that was our European elections campaign. As a result, anybody being seen to line up with her was laying themselves open to some pretty vicious savaging from a portion of their activist base, which is not what any MP wants when they need to start preparing in earnest for a general election.
And if UKIP are going to make an impact, they need experienced activists a lot more than they need elderly backbench MPs. I'd suggest a defection designed to damage the Tories in council elections would not be favourably received by the activist base, particularly those Eurosceptic councillors who might be defeated because of such a defection.
Were a defection to happen - and I remain sceptical that it will - the most likely time would be the day after the locals.
I remember when Crispin Blunt resigned just as the Conservatives made hundreds of gains in locals. It looked a little silly at the time, of course subsequent events gave it a presience it lacked at the time.
"By giving us the opinions of the uneducated, journalism keeps us in touch with the ignorance of the community." - Oscar Wilde
Seriously, though, that also had a great deal to do with the excellence of the Labour candidate
I do think that I recall saying in the old place, though, that there was surprisingly little evidence of a Tory campaign on the ground. How much that was to do with the candidate is of course impossible to say with certainty, but I agree it is unlikely to reflect well on him.
"The New Labour 'project' was finished by the 2005 election: its creative energies were exhausted and its failures increasingly apparent"