Send in the clowns ....and the loonies ....and the fruitcakes.


Those David Cameron once insulted - but now says he respects - have given him and the Conservatives a bloody nose. Indeed, all the leaders of the big political parties are nursing wounds after so many chose to vote for "none of the above".

This has been a very English anti-establishment revolt. After all, its leader Nigel Farage is an ex public schoolboy from Kent, the son of a stockbroker who also worked in the City of London. However, like Boris Johnson or Alex Salmond he has found a way to reach those parts of the electorate others cannot reach.

No-one can know how durable his success will be but this election will kill the widespread assumption that UKIP is more a pressure group than a party... that it matters only in European elections... that it is merely a temporary home for disgruntled Tories.

The immediate effect will be to add pressure on the prime minister to sound and act like the sort of Conservative his activists want him to be - tougher on immigration, Europe and crime.

Longer term, today's results leave the next general election intriguingly open - a split vote on the right of politics might allow Ed Miliband to become prime minister with barely more than third of votes. Equally, the fact that Labour are not attracting many of those who are rejecting the Coalition means that its demise is far from guaranteed.

The people have spoken. Now it's time for the political classes to try to work out what on earth they meant.

Nick Robinson Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

What a difference a day makes

In just 24 hours, Sir Malcolm Rifkind went from angry defiance to a grim-faced acceptance that he would have to quit his job as an MP and chairman of the Intelligence and Security Committee.

Read full article

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  • rate this

    Comment number 14.

    Nick can you do an article on today's research that shows the majority of the electorate do not vote for any political party. Ta.

  • rate this

    Comment number 13.

    The LibDems lost support by joining the Tories.
    The Tories split their support by being too 'liberal' on certain issues.
    Labour doesn't stand for anything.
    Shouldn't be a surprise that a right wing party, preying on basic fears in tough economic times, is the beneficiary.

  • rate this

    Comment number 12.

    @alfsplace, where in the ukip manifesto does it state your comments? i have a copy in front of me, and there is no mention of your ridiculous statement...

  • rate this

    Comment number 11.

    Its simple really. A large proporion of the electorate are:-

    * sick to the back teeth with gay marriage
    * skeptical about the EU
    * worried about the impact of immigration

    This is just the start

  • rate this

    Comment number 10.

    Be careful for what you wish for. It can come back and bite you on the bum. What exactly are UKIPs policies. Are they going to turn the country around. Beware if you are sick and disabled or a Carer. Or even a Pensioner on benefits. They want to get rid of them. Benefits I mean. Pensioners are the biggest recipients of Welfare spending.

  • rate this

    Comment number 9.

    Interesting that Lincoln has gone UKIP because of the many migrant agricultural workers accepting minimum wage. Fine. Without migrant workers the locals might be able to force up wages. This will incease the cost of food in the shops.
    How people vote is up to them, but they should be aware of the consequences of the policies they support
    Wage inflation will devalue the pound making fuel costlier

  • rate this

    Comment number 8.

    oh dear here we go, protest vote excuse, sorry but read the UKIP manifesto, there are policies there, and your trying to say the UK voted in protest? please change the record, They voted because they are fed up with the three main parties lies, deciept and spin. They chose an honest hard working party called UKIP. We are here to stay and just made history, get with the program we have!

  • rate this

    Comment number 7.

    It's no surprise that since DC let the immigration genie out of the bottle, it was likely to reward him with a black eye. The politics of "us and them" has allowed some of the electorate to indulge their less attractive characteristics. However, it'll be a mark of the man if he recognises his folly and reigns in the loonies in his own ranks - more probably though it will be a jump to the right.

  • rate this

    Comment number 6.

    UKIP success is down to a protest vote - their problem is that they have no positive policies and to become credible they really need to ditch their leader

  • rate this

    Comment number 5.

    UKIP appeals to those who find the BNP too extremist/socially unacceptable and the Conservatives too moderate. However, despite UKIP's lack of policies and that they may not win a general election, UKIP may way determine the outcome of the next election due to splitting the Conservative vote. The Conservatives must now be wondering if they would have been better off under another voting system!

  • rate this

    Comment number 4.

    As a founder member of the Havant Branch of UKIP we laid the foundations, for one of our team to be elected, congratulations Councillor Finch! Two pairs of worn out shoes, three printers and hours of door step chats finally paid off. And its been repeated across the UK. We have waited years to gain this moment, absorbed the insults, played the game, now we are on the rise. Viva UKIP London next!

  • rate this

    Comment number 3.

    The 3 major UK parties only have themselves to blame.They treat the electorate with contempt. I am not a UKIP supporter but anything that shakes up the politically system and forces the major parties to take a good long hard look at themselves can only be a good thing, in my opinion. well done UKIP.

  • rate this

    Comment number 2.

    With four parties collecting significant votes, first-past-the-post seems increasingly unsuitable. The prospect of a split vote on the right makes Tory opposition to electoral reform look less than smart. AV was a good idea killed by association with Clegg.

  • rate this

    Comment number 1.

    These politicians so wrapped up in cotton wool can't see what's happening beyond their nose end.

    Spin has had its day and what people look for is good straightforward talk.

    The panic is obvious among the three what were main parties for none of them are enough in touch to know what is likely to happen next. Good entertainment for the electorate..


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