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
    +1

    Comment number 194.

    I have little faith in our main political parties, compounded that the leaders appear like beings from another planet.
    Nigel Farrage is the only one who i would consider going for a pint with, and before all you smart arses start patronising me, that is important.
    Regardless of his views i think he has integrity

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 193.

    The Tories haven't been given a bloody nose by UKIP here: looking at the numbers, everybody has been given a bloody nose, in equal measure.

    If the trend indicated here plays out in 2015, it could actually go well for the Tories. Who is the only party that UKIP will form a coalition with? A Labour MP to UKIP is an MP lost, whereas a Tory MP to UKIP would not change the right's number of seats.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 192.

    UKIP = xenophonbia? BNP=fascism? Labour = trade unions? Tory = out of touch toffs? So what? If that is what the majority vote for then that is what (hopefully) we get. It is called DEMOCRACY! I am sick to death of this idea that some seem to have that everybody else is welcome to vote for whomsoever 'I' choose.
    (PS absence of Lib Dems from above is because I don't really know what they stand for)

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 191.

    Coats@ 173. Hi. Not sure it's protest, nor would I see it as thin end of a fascist wedge as some claim. UKIP reflect views of a sizeable chunk of UK and so, democratically, should exist and will win votes. Nothing wrong with that. No need for other parties to court UKIP votes, they need to perform better in the middle ground and combat general disaffection with politics to avoid low turn-outs.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 190.

    Some of us voted tactically in the last general election trying to bring about a coalition to moderate the excesses of Labour and the Conservatives whilst gaining the advantages of different thinking. Instead we got given the clowns.

    So what other choice is there for those that could vote last night? If this country votes UKIP then the mainstream political leaders are to blame, not UKIP

  • rate this
    -3

    Comment number 189.

    Gentleman C

    Come on Mr Robinson, how about some political balance by telling us exactly what Mr Farage's detailed policy is on immigration in this country.

    Oh you haven't asked him yet? Lost in admiration for him because it makes good copy? Please shape up or is there any chance there is someone somewhere in the BBC who can give the electorate a balanced view?

  • rate this
    +8

    Comment number 188.

    John From Hendon. Love to meet up with you.Question? Do you or do you not think that the electorate should be allowed to vote on a Euro Referendum,and if not why.

  • rate this
    -1

    Comment number 187.

    174 Entropic man

    'the Guardan's critique thereof.'

    When you're appealing to the Grauniad as some kind of environmental (or indeed any kind of) authority then you're not exactly looking at an unbiased source.

    They still believe in global warming and that Gordon Brown did a fine job with the UK economy. They're left-wing flat-earthers.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 186.

    79.
    Sanity_Speaks or more to the point Insanity mumbles without making a valid point about anything of value!

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 185.

    Hard times often favour extremist parties. Our times are hard, and they have favoured an extremist party -- not as hard as those of Germany in the 30's, of course, and UKIP is not any way as extreme as NSDAP, but it is part of the same phenomenon. The better comparison is perhaps with Italy rather than Germany -- Farage has no moustache and he is personally nearly as attractive as Musso.

  • rate this
    +9

    Comment number 184.

    UKIP is not a protest vote. The raw facts are that the majority of the UK want a return of sovereignty and to leave the EU as a political entity (whilst retaining free trade). The vast majority want a referendum. Yet all 3 parties are not providing this other than the Tories, possibly, in about 2018 if they win elections etc. etc. THAT sort of utter contempt for the public is what drives UKIP

  • rate this
    +5

    Comment number 183.

    UKIP still won't get an MP at the general election due to the silly first past the post UK electoral system.

    If only we had a referendum to change it.......


    .... but the proletariat sided with the establishment. Oh hum.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 182.

    I am not that into politics but from my view the problem with the three main parties is that they are too similar. They all seem to be so obsessed with the middle ground it is getting very difficult to differentiate between them! At least UKIP offer a different choice. UKIP does not seem to shy away from its beliefs and I for one find that very appealing.

  • rate this
    +4

    Comment number 181.

    @174. Entropic man

    Wow, just read that PDF. I love the way they are quoting the C4 documentary that was shown to have made things up, intentionally left data off and generally was a complete stitch up by the head-in-the-sand lobby.

    You are right, if you want to be in government, you must make your lies a little less obvious!

  • rate this
    -2

    Comment number 180.

    UKIP does not represent the views of the "average Brit" - whatever that means. It represents a rump - about 12-15% - of people who struggle to come to terms with what this country - indeed what the world - has become. Lets see what happens in two years time. This is a protest vote - that's all it is.

  • rate this
    0

    Comment number 179.

    'Angst' is not a verb Nick. Wash your mouth out.

  • rate this
    +2

    Comment number 178.

    Its really dead simple. A huge part of the electorate

    * dont want gay marriage to keep a handful of trendies happy
    * are not anti-Europe but skeptical about the EU
    * want immigration controlled

    The major parties just refuse to acknowledge this. They now see the consequences and this is just the start.

  • Comment number 177.

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

  • rate this
    -48

    Comment number 176.

    Well at least my previous post confirmed it - the BBC moderators are now demonstrably and unquestionably grossly biased towards UKIP in that they will censor equivalent attacks on UKIP that they will not censor on other parties.

    This puts the BBC in clear breach of it's charter, and means this discussion cannot be deemed fair or objective as it is slanted in UKIP's favour through BBC censorship.

  • rate this
    +1

    Comment number 175.

    161.John_from_Hendon

    How have I misrepresented the EU? Are you saying that they don't advocate more centralised control of things like Nation State Monetary Policy? Are you saying that all is well in the Southern EZ & that employment is high? Are you saying that there aren't strikes & disorder in Countries imprisoned in the Euro? You have one pair of glasses & they are heavily rose tinted

 

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