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

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  • rate this

    Comment number 254.

    We must remember from that the turnout for the local elections was pitifully low, the Ukip vote was insignificant, the EU has little to do with these elections.
    Lets see if Ukip can keep their promises without putting up council tax. -no more windfarms, stop HS2, keep public libraries, no road tolls for lorries – except, of course, foreign lorries, no police cuts, youth services investment etc.

  • rate this

    Comment number 253.

    I feel that the uk population is becoming more extreme with many people being anti-Europe, anti gay marriage and thinking that a loud charismatic leader with a unique look can help the country. UKIP will make the country turn to an extreme state and make this country more hated around the world than after the Iraq war.
    " reality has a well-known liberal bias " Stephen T Colbert 2006

  • rate this

    Comment number 252.

    They did NOT vote for "none of the above".

    They voted for a set of policies that resonate with people who actually do something real in society:

    - EU exit
    - Immigration
    - Flat rate tax
    - Same sex marriage
    - Food/farming
    - Small business
    - Fisheries

    I disagree on:
    - HS2 (why policy change?)
    - Flat rate tax needs to allow for pensioners who pay no NI (that should continue, they paid their dues).

  • rate this

    Comment number 251.

    Leaving the EU would be a disaster.
    Ukip may have moved from a 1 policy fringe party, but The 3 main parties need to start explaining that while we need some adjustments in The EU for the benefit of ALL the member states, leaving is not an option.
    The huge benefits brought to this country be being in The EU need to explained, politicians are playing a dangerous game, action is needed now

  • rate this

    Comment number 250.

    Perhaps the true wishes of the electorate will be realised if: a) voting was made compulsory for all those eligible to vote, and b) if there was an option of "None of the Above".
    I suspect that a good many of us will opt for "None of the Above".
    This should send the parties back to a re-think of their election manifestoes!
    At least we'll end up with a government that the majority actually want!

  • rate this

    Comment number 249.

    More nonsense from Robinson, Labour failed at this election, UKIP took as many votes from them, it's just that UKIP stood in fewer Labour areas.

    England is more right of centre than the Celt parts, which is why we english need our own Parliment.

  • rate this

    Comment number 248.

    UKIP put up over 1700 candidates but won only 139 seats in the local elections. Are they a force to be worried about. No, after all their bluster they managed a pitiful result. This was supposed to be their assault on local and national politics, and with much fanfare they pulled a dud. After all this bull they are flash in the pan that will not even be noticed in a general election.

  • rate this

    Comment number 247.

    Facts about Farage:
    - Son of wealthy stock broker who also went to public school
    - Earns 92000 euros a year as MEP, not including the extra money he is paid for being on Committees.
    -On Fisheries Committee and accepts salary, but has not shown up to a meeting in over 3.5 years!
    -In European Parliament sits with parties which have repeatedly been accused of being racist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 246.

    The idea that immigrants are to blame for the debt is farcical, as overall immigrants pay more in tax than they claim in benefits. Majority do not understand how the EU works, it is an INTERGOVERNMENTAL institution! What is not mentioned in news, corporation tax avoidance adds up to 80 billion a year. Benefit fraud adds up to just over a billion a year. Why isn't this mentioned in manifestos?

  • rate this

    Comment number 245.

    Re 163 PutneyCommon

    The plain fact regarding immigration is very simple.

    There are 7,000,000,000 people on this planet and many millions have a bum deal and would like to move from where they live to improve their lot.

    They can not all come here. That is not racism - that is common sense.

  • Comment number 244.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 243.

    Why not have MPs swear an oath to tell the truth instead of pledging alliegance to the monarch. Then maybe we will be able to believe their promises. Make manifestos an binding agreement between to party and the voters or what about paying MPs the minimum wage but an annual bonus based on performance

  • rate this

    Comment number 242.

    233 - If anything the UK needs to take a lead of the WJC book and support each other...billions of public sector work gets contracted out to business based elsewhere in the world....the WJC makes sure the money circles in their communities even if means going across the world to do it.

    If we did that, everyone would say we are racists and discrimate against others

  • rate this

    Comment number 241.

    240 John

    I was not born,but Winston Churchill,when he said
    I have nothing to offer but blood sweat toil & tears.

  • rate this

    Comment number 240.

    Can I ask you all a question, No need to answer, I just want you to consider it.
    When was the last time you heard a politician give a straight answer, when was the last time you honestly fully understood what one said, when was the last time a politician kept a promise once elected?
    Nigel Farage always gives a straight answer, I understand everything he says, 2 out of 3 so far, makes you wonder!

  • rate this

    Comment number 239.

    @ steve carr.. Firstly, I made meant to say country... not company, in my comment at 237. Also, you are essentially right in what you say about us not having a choice when it comes to Labour, Lib Dem and Conservative. Whilst these three rule the roost, we are all up faecal creek without a paddle. My comments about Mr Brown stand though!

  • rate this

    Comment number 238.

    230 DaveG - Ok so only around 32% voted any maybe the turnout will be double for the general election.

    Those with strong feelings most likely who are the other 32%?

    I suggest a big proportion will be "swing voters" and on face value, UKIP is winning a large majority of these. 25% from a standing start is perhaps an indicator for the future.

  • rate this

    Comment number 237.

    @ 231

    What is right with Mr Brown?

    Shall we start with selling 50% of the UK's gold at rock bottom price then announcing it 3 days before so it plummeted further? The fact he destroyed pensions in the country. The constant borrow and spend plunging the company into debt and creating the deficit we now suffer. If you think this is good for the country, then I would have to question your morality.

  • Comment number 236.

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

  • rate this

    Comment number 235.

    I live in Sutton and i do not recognize the comments made about it. It is not a ghetto.. I would like to see the evidence that all houses are being let to immigrants and that they become run down. I have lived here for over 40 years and some areas of Sutton have always been a bit run down and that was before many immigrants lived here.


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