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 Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 134.


    To emote on the blood of children, the deaths at Flanders and the Nazi Party in relation to UKIP is as pathetic as the comments of Ken Clarke who feels that the sheeple are an inconvenience to the political classes.

    As UKIP strongly represent the views of the average Brit, but have been continually derided as racists and xenophobics it is these hypocrites being punished.

  • rate this

    Comment number 133.


    This country isn't run by elected politicians in Westminster it is run unelected technocrats in Brussels.

  • rate this

    Comment number 132.


    UKIP want European Nation State democracy, The EU want more & more centralised control. If anyone is acting in a Hitler-eque way then it is EU who are destroying Southern Euro States with their catastrophic Euro project which is making entire Nations economic prisoners. If anything is likely to lead to European conflict then it is the EU. Greece & Spain are on the brink

  • rate this

    Comment number 131.

    David Cameron,

    Start Listening. Stop HS2!

    An ex tory voter (x3 in my family)

  • rate this

    Comment number 130.

    Playground stuff - when you've lost the argument you just shout abuse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 129.

    Just looking at the election coverage.

    Has it been forgotten that these are LOCAL council elections, not national elections?

    They are meant to be about local issues and local problems.

    What is the point about making a Protest vote in an election about your street lighting?

    But since the media just ignore the local issues, you cant blame people for voting for the wrong reasons.

    Sad, though.

  • rate this

    Comment number 128.

    117.jgm2 "Wow! Are the EU going to nuke us if we leave?"

    No, but who is to say what the lunatics in UKIP will do if every they got into power?

    If you vote for lunatics don't be surprised if you get madness! The German people didn't vote for war when the voted in Hitler - but that is what they got! If you ignore the lessons of history you will relive it!

    Examine the personalty of UKIP's boss!

  • rate this

    Comment number 127.

    So the little UKIP destroyer has fired a warning shot neatly across the bows of the big Battleship. The message is clear in any language on this planet: change course or else.

    Those who dispage UKIP as being nothing but a protest vote may get a rude shock at the next engagement ....

  • rate this

    Comment number 126.

    #120 they are not lies farage tells the truth.....this country is a joke run by career polititians for their own sake...they dont give a damm about us.this country has had enough UKIP is doing it the right way if they are ignored... then you have to worry my friend.

  • rate this

    Comment number 125.

    Farage doesn't make me smile. He turns my stomach.

  • rate this

    Comment number 124.

    113. John_from_Hendon
    The bigots on this blog will not hear the truth!

    And that is the core issue - huge numbers of people are sick and tired of being called bigots/racists etc for expressing concerns about uncontrolled immigration.

    One of the top two issues for voters and no one allowed to discuss it.

    .... except UKIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 123.

    It is about time that the "Red Ping & Blue Pong" parties owned up to having misgoverned this country for generations to their own personal advantage.

    The "professional" politicians are only interested in feathering their own nests.

    The success of UKIP gives us a chance to break their stranglehold on our wellbeing.

    The UK is the only country in Europe not normally governed by a coalition.

  • rate this

    Comment number 122.

    49. kevrev

    That’s right we need more promises from the main 3 parties that they can then NOT deliver.

    More noise from the political elite whilst the country burns.

    Let’s try something new the people are not idiots if it’s not too their liking then won’t get in but the status quo is a slow death of the UK

    What do YOU offer ?

    You have the right to leave if you don't like it....

  • rate this

    Comment number 121.

    "88 The UKIP Success is almost entirely due to the Established Parties … not listening to ordinary people’s justified concerns about Immigration and the EU."

    Just because the main parties haven't adopted UKIP's more xenophobic and reactionary policies doesn't mean they haven't listened. They listened and, thankfully, rejected. If you like what UKIP says, fine, but don't be petulant about it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 120.

    How sad that Farage's lies about the EU can believed by the UKIP brigade.
    A generation ago, builders were flocking to Germany seeking good jobs.
    100s of thousands have left The UK to live in France, Spain etc.
    Now times are not so good UKIP blame The EU for our woes. This is nonsense of course.
    Frightening times.

  • Comment number 119.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 118.


    You have entirely misunderstood my point - deliberately or otherwise. I'm saying UKIP and all one issue parties like them try to make everything simple. The EU is only one issue amongst many that this country faces. The fact we have greater borrowing as a % of GDP than other European countries, massive welfare dependency, a poor quality labour force etc is far more important. UKIP policies?

  • rate this

    Comment number 117.

    113 John_from_Hendon

    'A vote for UKIP is a vote for the violent death of your children!'

    Wow! Are the EU going to nuke us if we leave?

  • Comment number 116.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 115.

    And meanwhile... Lib/Lab/Con are STILL not listening, They are STILL in denial & worst of all are STILL disrespecting the electorate by stating that it is only a "protest vote" for UKIP.

    If the big three continue with this tired, worn out, primitive & opaque response, the electorate will for sure reclaim this once great country back from the uneducated Eton "plebs". It will be natural justice


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