UKIP - Send in the 'clowns'


This is the day when those dubbed "clowns, loonies, fruitcakes and closet racists" may find it hard to resist the temptation to laugh in the face of their detractors in the established political parties.

It is the day UKIP emerged as a real political force in the land.

The leaders of all other political parties will now be considering how to respond, what to say and what to do in the face of the party's rise.

UKIP has evolved over the two decades since it was created from an anti-EU pressure group into a fully fledged party which has now proved that it can succeed beyond European elections.

This is a more profound change than you might think. Before today a party created because of one issue and dominated by one man could, in theory, have simply wound up after a referendum on the UK's membership of the EU.

Many of its early backers might have concluded at that point - "job done".

Now, however, there will be UKIP councillors all over the country (there may even be some with a slice of power once all the results are in) who will insist they exist for other purposes. UKIP is not going the way of the Referendum Party.

For now their impact will be on other parties.

Tories on the right will claim that if only David Cameron had listened to them none of this would have happened. They will demand political red meat to woo back their former supporters.

To some extent it's already been offered - David Cameron has talked of a parliamentary vote on an EU referendum, he's announced a crackdown on immigration and a tougher prison regime has been heralded. So, what now?

Blairites will reheat their warnings that Ed Miliband has not extended Labour's support enough.

Some in his party will angst about their appeal in the South, some about their failure to convince their traditional white working class voters. He will respond, I suspect, with an attempt to forge a much clearer economic alternative.

The Lib Dems will be relieved that the spotlight is on someone else's problems whilst having to live with the fact that their party's problems are very far from over.

Nigel Farage has already proved that he is one of those politicians like Ken and Boris and Alex Salmond who can make his country smile. Now the clowns are bringing tears to their opponents' eyes. He's sure to see the joke in that.

PS: Having said all of this this let's not forget that UKIP did not win the elections. They look set to end the night with tens of councillors not many hundreds, unlike their opponents. It is extremely unlikely to run any council alone.

They have no MPs and, under our first-past-the-post system, it would be a major achievement to elect just one. Labour still won last night's by-election and the Conservatives look set to have the most councillors and run the most councils.

UKIP are putting down political roots. They are not about to challenge for power.

Nick Robinson, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 114.

    @89 Phillip
    People like you who are fed and believe everything the establishment says are part of the problem with this country and why we have this perpetual political merry-go-round and never ending cycle of misery.

  • Comment number 113.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 112.

    In previous centuries, angst amongst the people would have produced revolution. The 25% voting for new parties here in the UK, and most recently for a comedian in Italy is a warning across the bows that we are one stage from chaos unless those who believe their power is by right dont start listening.

  • rate this

    Comment number 111.

    As usual Robinson's analysis is sensationalist and completely wrong. UKIP will not win a single council in the only areas they could possible win (those traditionally on the right). They have no MP's and it is extremely unlikely that at the next General Election that position will change. Their support is two fold 1. Tories to the right and 2. Protest votes. Neither will be sustainable long term

  • rate this

    Comment number 110.


    To compare UKIP to Hitler & talk of Flanders blood letting is frankly offensive & ridiculous. The last time I looked there was nothing in any UKIP manifesto about annexing Austria or invading Poland. Typical Political Class response - rather than engage in the issues about why people are turning their backs on the main three parties just resort to petty name calling.

  • rate this

    Comment number 109.

    Can't deny that it's a good day for democracy.

    I don't think Nick's comment about the general election holds any water at all. He conveniently forgets that UKIP keep coming a few percentages points away from winning in by-elections. It's hard to see, with the national gains made today, how this will not translate into at least a few constituencies sending UKIP MPs in 2015.

  • rate this

    Comment number 108.

    Blame the EU, blame the immigrants... let's all lock ourselves up in our little homes with lots of food and live happily ever after. The UK colonized half the world for centuries and its multicultural society is a key asset today, to be proud of. UK right place is in the EU, leading the EU for a better and greater Europe.

  • rate this

    Comment number 107.

    The real issue with UKIP is that they are isolationists

    The world has been slowly gluing it self together for the last 400 years. The Internet has sped up that process hugely.

    Relationships, both personal and business, are forged across national barriers - in fact, people do not even think about the barriers.

    A party that advocates separation is seriously out of step with reality.

  • rate this

    Comment number 106.

    'sanity' @ 66

    But I am listening. And I'm telling you what I hear.

    Xenophobia and a nostalgic longing for a simpler world - that's the core of UKIP's appeal. It's deeply reactionary and it's feeble minded.

    For example (of the latter), you call my analysis 'elementary' and also a 'riddle'.

    Can hardly be both now, can it?

  • rate this

    Comment number 105.

    A damning performance from my local area's representitives (Belper, Derbyshire) -Not a single "Flyer", Call or "Door-knock" from ANY of the four candidates....If THEY can't be bothered , why should I ? Are we heading for government by apathy? (again)

  • rate this

    Comment number 104.

    91.Robin "I voted UKIP .. old for jam tomorrow"

    The ONLY jam you will get from UKIP is the blood and guts of your children spread over the fields of Flanders. They offer a certain path to death for your children. All parties of hatred, such as UKIP and Hitler's National Socialists offer easy solutions, but history shows us the results are very bad!

    Love your neighbour!

  • rate this

    Comment number 103.

    Totally understand the UKIP voters.

    Tories are a complete disaster.

    Labour are clowns.

    What's left?

    Can't really see UKIP as a national government, unfortunately that will have to be Labour in 2015.

    But as a message to the main parties - well done UKIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 102.

    Ruled by foreigners in Brussels. Prevented from deporting foreign criminals by low calibre foreign judges in Strasbourg. Overrun by foreigners in our own land many of whom are th enemy within. The people of these islands are waking up at last.

  • rate this

    Comment number 101.

    The main parties have made a huge mistake taking the electorate for fools, they have had plenty of time to see how people feel how long have we been saying do something about immigration and the EU but they have ignored us at their cost , people are now truly p..... off with them , most people want our country back .

  • Comment number 100.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • rate this

    Comment number 99.

    The mainstream parties no longer stand for anything. Their policies are purely dependent on the latest opinion polls, not on principals, That's why they've all become the same.

    Despite their dodginess, UKIP seems to stand for something. Some people have apparently found that preferable to the unprincipled sycophancy of the main parties.

  • rate this

    Comment number 98.


    Not quite right.

    Uncontrolled immigration maybe, not just immigration. There is a difference. Ultra left wingers trying to stigmatise this debate know this to be true but it doesn't suite their agenda to make the distinction. This is both sinister and disingenuous. It is also dishonest and downright reprehensible.

    And UKIP voters are anti EU. Not xenophobic.

  • rate this

    Comment number 97.

    If the results do nothing more that get politicians in general to remember that they work FOR us and not us for them, then we may finally see some of them listening to the people for a change.

    We the people DEMAND representation not politicians feathering their own nests at our expense.

  • rate this

    Comment number 96.

    57 A very apt analogy. This countries is rather frighteningly reliving the 1930s economically and politically.

    Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 95.

    91.Robin .."frac lots of lovely cheap gas out from under Lancashire PDQ"

    Just don't expect to be able to drink the water from your tap any more!


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