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 254.

    Let's not foget, the average turn out for these local election will be extremely low. The last general election had a turn out of 65%, hardly a convincing argument to say anyone of the parties should be in control anywhere - it has been in a steady decline for 16+ years.

    Now let's be extremely honest with ourselves, would you let any of these clowns run your bath or a p**s up in a brewery?

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    #237..So UKIP is a dictatorship,if as you state there would be no need for a referendum,the UK just pulls out of the EU without asking the population to vote on it.
    If that is their policy as you state then I've no need to read their manifesto.
    Personally I have never voted for any of them,I've never read anything I liked about any of them,I believe nothing and trust no one,they're all liars.

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    Just correct me if I am wrong but is not Mr Farage an MEP?

    How does he square the circle?

    How can someone who professes to be rabidly anti EU take payment & work from that which he despises?

    Is it because he is a charlatan..... I mean a politician.....

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Plenty of people will still mock UKIP and while they haven't become a major political force overnight people should remember that the SNP was originally mocked as a bunch of anti-English racists and some sort of joke party. Now they are a legitimate political party with a majority government. It will take time, maybe decades but UKIP could do the same in England because of the failures of Con/Lab.

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Ner ner, ner ner ner. UKIP are upsetting the applecart!

    Tories of all parties running scared, - good!

    Resorting to insults and lies, - good!

    Arriba the democratic process!

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    most commentators on here have never read the UKIP manifesto at all. I read all of them otherwise I would not vote. The media in the UK is biased one way or another. Instead many rely on soundbites from the media. Quite funny the level of ignorance about what UKIP stand for. Please have a read. It opened my eyes ps- I am not wanting out of the EU but I voted for them. Ask yourself why?

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    Is the SNP xenophobic? I don't think so, but I have seen a few comments on here that UKIP are xenophobic. I don't buy into that, but I would like to see the reasoning on why decentralising differs between the 2 groups. Are the French, Dutch,also xenophobic? They voted NO. Where do the Norwegians and Swiss stand. Are the Irish healed xenophobes? There is no consent for this bullying farce ANYWHERE.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Radical right wing parties are marked by victimization,(The EU,immigrants),,and by nostalgia.-the pint in the snug and solicitor`
    s clerk outfit circa 1951.

    The are a party of power by default,,representing the most serious split in the Tory vote since the Corn Laws.

    The Tories will move to the right to fight them leaving the centre unoccupied.(The Lib_Dems are a busted flush).

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.


    Its all they've got. Funny watching the metro-left tweets as the results were coming in..... "the plebs are voting UKIP? How DARE they, the ungrateful wretches! Dont they realise what we've done for them?" Laurie Penny in particular.

    Not that you're bitter about it, though?

    And you worked that out how, precisely?

    You calling for sensible debate? Theres a novelty...

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    @176. Edwin - Perhaps you should open your ideas. The BBC is a biased left wing propaganda machine. Have you ever seen them discuss immigration without only talking about the Polish? They ignore any non-European immigration which is the most disruptive for social cohesion and racial/cultural heritage, incurs the most cost, most permanent and causes all additional state interference into our lives.

  • rate this

    Comment number 244.

    The UK, a country of increasing mediocrity, with a mediocre politics that fails to deliver anything of substance except "same old, same old".

    The UK needs to be a world leader in science, engineering and technology. We need to do away with the medicore SPADS that run the majoirty of mainstream political parties; politicians that haven't done a day in the shoes of the average person.

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    We need the BNP. Since Clegg sold the Lib Dems out so that he could say he was "in power", there has been no-one to counter the Tory arrogance or Labour feebleness. A real party with real, understandable views, best of luck to them.

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    I dreamt that a group of honest decent people, with experience of the real world, got together and formed a Govt with the one single intention of improving the lives of the whole UK population?

    And there were other similar groups of decent people in opposition who wanted to do even better for the lives of the UK population.

    Then I woke up...

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    I voted UKIP to wake up politics.

    I moved about a year ago 2 a new town and both LD and Labour claimed for stopping a supermarket, now only 1 can be right on that front. Also ED (Labour) was saying they woudl borrow more to reduce energy bills etc day before local election, that alone puts me off Labour, as put here with our debt issues today

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Wonder if the Tory response will suddenly be tax cuts for the squeezed middle & a new top tax rate, the Labour response will be spending AND borrowing cuts & the Lib Dem response will be to suddenly find the EU too expensive, too overgoverned & badly run?


  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    I find UKIP appealing. Not by some racist,anti eu,little britain view -rather they are making sense in debates and the more the main parties squabble in soundbite in westminster the more UKIP look like the mature grown ups. Also their manifesto is fresh and full of good ideas (I work in finance) and the economics do make good sense. Ignore them at your peril lab con lib! They are not the clowns!

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.


    Not true, they are not a seperatist party, they're not a nationalist party like the SNP or Plaid. The policies are there on their website, if you can be bothered to look.

    But, if I'm correct in thinking you're an SNP voter, what do you care?

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    "In the unlikely event that Farage got anywhere near No 10,I assume he would be offering us a referendum on EU membership.
    I just wonder where his one policy party would be if the British public voted to remain in the EU."

    If UKIP won there would be no need for a referendum, we would withdraw from the EU, as for your one policy party comment, your ignorance is astounding, try reading about them!

  • rate this

    Comment number 236.

    206. Stephen Coulter wrote: I don't understand why some people are calling UKIP 'racists' and 'Nazis' when all UKIP are trying to do is protect the interests of the people of Britain ...

    No they are not - they are trying to separate us from the rest of the world instead of realising that the world is slowly joining together.

    We should be PART of that process, not isolated from it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    I was once, about ten years ago, an ardent supporter of UKIP. Of course, in those days the party based its policies around the assault to British Sovereignty rather then playing up to the 'Immigration is always bad' crowd.
    I dropped the party during Kilroy-Silks disastorously racist run. I won't come back now, shame the main three are still reprehensible.


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