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 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.


Comments 5 of 294


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