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 154.

    As a Scot I'm ever so sorry that England doesn't appear to have forgotten Thatcher for all the wrong reasons. We look on in wonder from a land with no Tories at our Neighbours as they voice their displeasure at Cameron by moving even further to the Right? - Incomprehensible - scarcely believable but shouldn't be surprised. Socialism has been a dirty word in the land of "The Self" for a generation

  • rate this

    Comment number 153.

    Best result in next General Election ? ... A hung parliament ... all of them

  • rate this

    Comment number 152.

    I'm amused by the people who believe UKIP offers them a break from the established parties.

    These people may want to look at UKIP's track record where it has been elected - it's had representatives convicted for fraud and found guilty of fiddling expenses worse than many of the established party's MPs.

    UKIP is the same as the rest of them, but with a hint of far right thrown in to boot.

  • rate this

    Comment number 151.

    There are lessons from the past to be remembered. Far right parties do well when those who are hit hardest by political mismanagement feel aggrieved. Far be it from me to draw,analogies with Nazism but just for now I'm rather glad we have,a first past the post system. It at least protects the national government from the lunacy of ukip

  • Comment number 150.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 149.

    UKIP is a minority opinion and always will be. The Tories are running scared, run, run, but first past the post will never give UKIP any control of the levers of power. UKIP does not have a coherent policy, it is cut and paste and the front man with the big grin and the pint. He is the Beppi Grillo of English politics, and it won't matter. Labour would govern with the Tories before UKIP could win.

  • rate this

    Comment number 148.

    The chattering classes obviously don't like it but the reality is that UKIP reflects the feelings of many in the country on issues like the EU, immigration, and human rights legislation far more accurately than any of the LibLabCon political elite. We are British, proud to be British and wish to remain British. Anything wrong with that?

  • rate this

    Comment number 147.

    Judging by the support for, and advocacy of racial hatred, on this blog I am surprised that many of you haven't been 'moderated'.

    Why will the BBC not prevent the airing of these views?

    It is illegal!

  • rate this

    Comment number 146.

    UKIP is where people turn when career politicians start saying what they think a rich man's media will accept. The real evidence based models explaining the economic crisis are obscured by the timidity of Labour in the face of a neo-liberal consensus in the media. The Greens who have a strong case have been airbrushed out of the debate. However misguided Farage has authenticity.

  • rate this

    Comment number 145.

    The "indecent haste" shown by the "Big" 3 parties to react to UKIP is not a measure of how cogent UKIP's argument is; but of how the UK public see the impotence of the major parties' ability to change the increasing cost to the UK tax payer of supporting the EU and its non sensical approach to managing peoples' lives. When Lab & Tory get this maybe change will happen. Blaming UKIP is an excuse.

  • rate this

    Comment number 144.

    Interesting that the UK clowns' share of the vote is very similar to that of the Italian clown!

  • rate this

    Comment number 143.

    Tchernobog 86

    How can it be foolish to label UKIP as xenophobic when they clearly are? If we can't use the word here we may as well remove it from the dictionary.

    I appreciate that some may find the description offensive but, you know, hang it, I can't be doing with political correctness, I like to call a spade a spade.

    (I do buy your point about general disaffection with the mainstream.)

  • rate this

    Comment number 142.

    @134.andarkian Not racists and xenophobes? Lets look a little closer at some of their associates;

  • rate this

    Comment number 141.

    What a shame UKIP was not around 50 years ago. Society in the UK has changed beyond all recognition since then. I wish UKIP every success in gaining more ground so that they may influence what happens from here on.

  • rate this

    Comment number 140.

    104. John_from_Hendon
    So far the only threat I am hearing is from you.

    Don’t change anything or all will be doomed.

    Keep feeding the bloated political monster or all will be doomed.

    Do express a differing opinion or all will be doomed.

    No wonder they ignore us The People.

    UKIP ARE moving up because the people are waking up you.

    No more apathy no more Lib, Lab or Con.

  • rate this

    Comment number 139.

    I think the Tories will be forced to do what Labour did when the BNP were harvesting too many Labour votes up North. They'll have to arrest Farage on trumped up 'racism' charges - after all, even discussing immigration is probably 'racist'. Then they can tie him and UKIP's resources down for years with unlimited taxpayer funds trying and re-trying him.

    Worked for Labour.

  • rate this

    Comment number 138.


    Sorry but you are wrong - all history proves you to be wrong!

    135. kaybraes "where they will not be at risk of being beaten up by the UKIP heavies"

    Your response is EXACTLY THE FASCIST RESPONSE and you prove my point completely.


  • rate this

    Comment number 137.

    As for clowns..these are the next line..

    But where are the clowns?
    Quick, send in the clowns.
    Don't bother, they're here.

    Applies to the coalition methinks..

  • rate this

    Comment number 136.


    Pandering to race hatred, as you and UKIP do, is wrong.

    The vast majority of the settled population in the British Isles are immigrants. So stop stigmatise those with obvious racial differences. Get used to treating everyone as an equal.

  • rate this

    Comment number 135.

    Roll on UKIP, , maybe now the Tories and or Labour will listen , and give us a referendum on membership of the obscenity that is the EU. If John from Hendon and his friends are so in love with the EU, then they can feel free to move across the channel, where they will not be at risk of being beaten up by the UKIP heavies. Vindictive abuse of those who support UKIP will not make them go away.


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