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, Political editor Article written by Nick Robinson Nick Robinson Political editor

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  • rate this

    Comment number 39.

    It annoys me that all the BBC/Guardian types are calling UKIP racist. Farage is married to a German. I am part Sri Lankan. Just because you don't want to be in the EU does not make you a racist, it just means you don't want to be in the EU. The fact that Lib/Lab/Con don't see that is why UKIP got 25% of the vote today. The political establishment is far from the majority view, as is the media.

  • 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 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 114.

    I think the UKIP phenomenon is due to the feeling many have that the political class does not represent them or their views; talks a language which they don't understand describing a country that they do not recognise as their own.
    For many, representative democracy is dead and needs to be revived. They do not feel any affinity towards the main political parties any more.

  • rate this

    Comment number 20.

    How loud does one have to shout before the powers that be recognise the problems that beset the majority, silent or otherwise?


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