Reckless kept his seat by 2,920 votes, that is 42.1 per cent of the total vote cast in a turn-out of 50.67 per cent against the Conservatives' 34.8 per cent. Tchah! Stalin used to get 99.8 per cent. Now that's what I call popular support.
The Boss has a highly entertaining
Now that UKIP has two MPs the question of whether they understand whereof they speak will become important. It will no longer be sufficient to produce another picture of our Nige drinking beer or wine and grinning happily into the camera. The media might finally start asking about policies and wondering about certain contradictions in them. There will also be, I can confidently predict, a certain tension between the Dear Leader and the two MPs who will now be the obvious sources of information about UKIP and its policies (or some version thereof).
Meanwhile, the BBC, the Telegraph and, indeed, everyone else has quoted Nigel Farage as saying that this will mean dozens of UKIP seats in the next Parliament. The Telegraph, curiously, predicts a nice round number instead of the dozens but then they also predict a sizeable Labour majority, which is not indicated by the opinion polls, all of which show Labour merely 3 or 4 points ahead, a statistically negligible figure while the Thornberry saga and their poor performance in the by-election must give their strategists somewhat gloomy thoughts. In fact, if the Conservatives abandon their candidate in Rochester and Strood and find someone more intelligent (though it is not clear that intelligence is of any interest to the voters of that constituency) they stand a good chance of taking it in May.
The Dear Leader is also quoted as saying (something we have all head recently) that "if you vote UKIP you get UKIP" in response to baseless (in this case) accusations of voting UKIP will get you Labour. In Rochester and Strood voting UKIP got you Mark Reckless, exactly as voting Conservative in 2010 did.
Somewhere in the long continuous Telegraph update there is a mention of some hack asking Douglas Carswell (the previous recruit to the People's Army) about the possibility of more Conservative MPs defecting to UKIP. He snaps crossly that he is completely uninterested in what the Conservatives (his friends and colleagues until August) intend to do. That would indicate that he does not think there will be any more defections as Reckless's victory is not big enough to encourage any more of them.
The Lib-Dims did particularly badly, getting 0.87 per cent, that is 349 votes; they were easily overtaken by the Greens with 1,692 votes, that is 4.22 per cent and another lost deposit.
It is worth noting that in 2010 when Mark Reckless won as a Conservative, the turn-out was 64.9 per cent and Reckless's majority was 9,953, that is he won by 20.7 per cent.