UKIP have an MP. Well, almost. There is still the matter of a by-election in a safe Tory stronghold and trying to prevent the understandably upset former UKIP candidate having a hissy and disrupting the program. Carswell is popular and reportedly a very good operations man. But he has made a mistake.
By doing the honourable thing and defecting and then immediately calling an election, he has avoided the charge that he lacks candour and is an unprincipled bounder of the Shaun Woodward type. Woodward left the Tory party, having been elected in a safe Tory seat, and joined Labour, who welcomed him with open arms.
Despite all sorts of protests from constituents and party Woody refused to hold a by-election and served out the remaining two years until the election, when new Labour parachuted the multi-multi millionaire, butler employing, 7 homes, Sainsbury husband into a safe Northern Labour seat, to the disgust of that local Labour party, and to the further erosion of voters faith in the electoral system.
So Douglas has done the right thing and declared he won't be just taking his previous voters for mugs, and will pit himself and his new beliefs against those of his former colleagues at the ballot box.
There are lots of good reasons for doing this. his integrity. The views of his constituents. Detoxifying his defection. Shutting down the very negative betrayal aspect of the story. Its a very Kippy thing to do. To be seen to be doing what loacal residents would wish, and not what Westminster masters would want.
And best of all, holding a by-election keeps him, and nigel and UKIP, in the news for months.
But its a mistake.
Carswell could quite easily have remained in place. Citing the sound precedent of every MP that has ever gone before him. A few nasty remarks from Labour quashed by the Woodward story. The liberals silenced by Emma Nicholson, who pretty much did for John Major. The Tories themselves have serial floor crosser Winston Churchill to point to. Carswell could have ridden out the taunts with ease.
But by taking this course, Doug has made it much less likely that other defectors will follow.
An MP who has to immediately stand for re-election is taking a large risk. And others who are wavering won't have Carswell's fortune to be standing in the seat considered to have the most UKIP profile in the land. So only those very sure of a win, or those so sure that they will lose in the 2015 election that it makes the gamble worthwhile, will even consider a defection.
In february the UKIP Treasurer said he had had talks with seven disaffected Tories, who he was hoping to persuade to jump ship.
Once those waverers see just how awesome the funding, manpower and resources the Tories are going to put into winning Carswell's Clacton seat, they may well decide not to open the box, but keep the money.
Carswell will probably win anyway and become a UKIP MP.
But his honourable stance on the by-election might well mean he is the only one.