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

Analysis: David Cameron's 'agonising' EU immigration speech

The BBC's political editor Nick Robinson gives his take on the eagerly-anticipated speech by David Cameron on the issue of EU migration.

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  • rate this

    Comment number 294.

    293 "If immigration is a problem make border controls tighter"

    While ever we are in the European Union we cannot close our borders to other Europeans if they want to come and live here.
    There has to be free movement of people.
    The immigrants could in theory go to live in any other European country, and many do, but the benefit system here is a big attraction, and quite a burden on taxpayers.

  • rate this

    Comment number 293.

    If immigration is a problem, which many seem to think it is..a) make border controls tighter and better resourced. do thorough checks - why are we cutting? (btw - Same goes for housing, benefits etc) b) Stop selling weapons to/getting involved in countries then moaning when the victims come here for a better life? Leaving the EU though? Needs thinking through for many of the reasons listed below.

  • rate this

    Comment number 292.

    If Farage's UKIP (and the tories?) have their way and the UK exits the EU, what will happen to all those brit migrants who opted to put their feet up in the sunny climes of Spain and Italy. Will they be turfed out and become yet more 'immigrants'?

  • rate this

    Comment number 291.


    Dont worry, you can declare independence if you want.

    That was weak. You can do better than that.


    Its certainly a significant part of it. The prizes for all dumbing down started in 97 has a lot to answer for.


    The opportunity is there. It always have been. Previous generations have fought and died for it. Its just that there is a significant amount who just can't be bothered.

  • rate this

    Comment number 290.

    Ukip have certainly livened things up.
    With mainstream politians trying to appeal to everyone and looking to the "Middle ground", they actually please no one as they seek to produce the most evasive bland replies possible. Nigel Farage has nothing to lose and his straightforward approach and willingness to answer a question (even if I don't agree) is refreshing.

  • rate this

    Comment number 289.

    Yet we are at the mercy of a host of foreign puppetmasters. And this clown Farage wants us to be more addicted to the oil of the middle east/Russia. Oh the irony. This country is a joke and we are all to blame for standing by and letting this happen around us. We don't vote for who is best, we seem to vote for who rupert tells us to.

  • rate this

    Comment number 288.

    286 .."they will find an immigrant somewhere along the bloodline.."

    The current immigration question is not to do with bloodlines, it`s to do with numbers of people on these tiny islands.

  • rate this

    Comment number 287.

    Devil's Advocate @70
    "AV would guarantee Coalitions"
    No. Part of Cameron 'tragedy'

    Fearing Proportional Representation, which MIGHT 'ensure coalition' (if people & parties persisted in ruinous conflict), Cameron exerted all powers of persuasion against AV (effectively little more than registration of the real balance of voters-preferences, behind in fact little-changed parliamentary balances)

  • rate this

    Comment number 286.

    Immigration. I challenge any so-called 'englishperson' to examine their family tree. It is almost certain they will find an immigrant somewhere along the bloodline The Royal Family is a good example. Chill out 'little englanders'.

  • rate this

    Comment number 285.

    This country is a joke. Whenever Murdoch (Wasn't he involved in something recently) says jump, we say how high? Everytime (blair, cameron and now this fool) - and we still buy it. This country is a laughing stock.

  • rate this

    Comment number 284.

    "What did they mean?"
    Confused & abused

    Having borrowed 'too much' for new patios & duck-houses, is NO reason deny borrowing 'enough' to invest in education, research, development, manufacture, and moral leadership

    What would 'moral leadership' look like? As in war, but better (no hiding place for shirkers, cheats and thieves), all pulling together, having understood and agreed Equal Partnership

  • rate this

    Comment number 283.

    229 Clare

    You paint a picture of a country I do not recognise - I wonder how you would define English - is a 2nd or 3rd generation African Caribbean/Asian person English by your definition or perhaps you would make it more exclusive?

    Please elucidate I would hate to think you were just a racist.

  • rate this

    Comment number 282.

    Here's a way of getting your voters back Theresa, replace George osbourne with someone who knows core Tory values ie lower tax and invest in the future. Remove the darth Vader like Alexander. Get a plan of investment going, why build hs2 when the current infrastructure is falling apart for lack of maintenance, it's not rocket science. 53m a day might just pay for it.

  • rate this

    Comment number 281.

    Cameron to emulate Peel
    Country before party

    NOT a dumb referendum, but 'truth & reconciliation'

    Admit need of Plan C (NOT Europe ALL to blame)'

    Admit 'party tricks' (2010 election, 2012 AV persuasion)

    In deeper national emergency, agree HOW 'to pull together'

    Same lesson EU as UK: equal partnership; full employment; free movement for work, 'in conscience for better', not compulsion for 'any'

  • rate this

    Comment number 280.

    I am still not sure how big a threat UKIP would be come the GE - are people really supporting their policies or is this just a rejection of mainstream politics. People like Farage & Boris can capture the imagination but I shudder to think of either of them leading a government - the party leaders need to up their games before panic sets in and their parties do something they will live to regret.

  • rate this

    Comment number 279.

    That's not my only reason for not going Tory again, the roads I drive on may as well be cobbled they are getting that bad, including large sections of the M6, library's and local services shutting, people being passed fit to work by contractors not doctors and said people dying after being declared fit. I did not vote for the country to be closed down and the vulnerable to be attacked its immoral

  • rate this

    Comment number 278.

    'I really resent being taken for a mug.' @ 260


    It's better to be taken for a mug than to vote UKIP and thus be one.

  • rate this

    Comment number 277.

    I went ukip instead of Tory. I agree that tax thresholds should rise for the poorest, but not to be moved to the middle class, whilst the super rich got a tax cut. My wages have not risen in 5 years but my taxes have under this coalition, have again this April and will again next year. I work hard and the mantra of it pays to work ? Really !! Sorry but change better come soon really soon.

  • rate this

    Comment number 276.

    273 "Immigration is not the real issue. It`s poor education and training"

    It is immigration, and poor training! It`s also parliament`s lack of vision and planning, untrustworthy and self-serving MPs, a docile electorate, a dependency culture etc
    It`s death by a thousand cuts
    It makes me wonder if there is a deliberate agenda to wreck our sovereign nation in order to force us into a Federal Europe

  • rate this

    Comment number 275.

    Immigration is not the real issue...

    Well it is and it isn't.

    That poor education and training you mention, who is responsible for providing that? The government. The same government that's quite happy to allow all this CHEAP better trained labour to flood in from Europe.

    If the government did something about this poor education & training, we wouldn't need all this cheap labour would we?


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