Lots has been made of the surge in support for UKIP in the European elections. Much eating of humble pie has been done by the various party leaders. Many promises of a new dawn have been made. What's it all add up to?
Well, it looks as if the main parties have had an Emperor's New Clothes moment. Having spend a lot of time ignoring UKIP in the past, they have woken up and promised to engage with the “lunatic fringe” - not my words but theirs (in the not too distant past).
It's beginning to look like a classic. The damn people just won't vote the way they are supposed to! I think it's called democracy, and it can be damn inconvenient as well as damn awkward.
The people have voted for UKIP, so even if the people are wrong (as Nick Clegg thinks) they cannot just be ignored. Or can they?
There is little doubt that Nigel Farage is good copy. On any slow news day he can certainly liven up the exchanges. Recently it was revealed that he has appeared on the BBC Question Time more times than any other politician in the last year. This is a classic case of there is no such thing as bad publicity.
Even though most folks really think that UKIP is a racist, homophobic, xenophobic mishmash of odd-balls they are still voting for them. Does this say more about UKIP, or more about the voters? I think it's the voters.
To read the media you might think that the UK is a very tolerant, cosmopolitan sort of place where Johnny Foreigner is made welcome and feels safe and welcomed. This is mostly the product of years of people peddling this clap-trap without really assessing the real attitudes at the ballot box. The unique British election system helps to make this a reality. The so-called coalition has set itself up to be mocked as out of touch and out of mind. They have to soldier on for the full five years (a period far too long anyway) simply because they said they would – come what may. Consequence? The voters are tired of them but cannot get an early election to either confirm them or get rid of them. Outcome? They flock to UKIP just to annoy the others.
Whoa! I can hear the multitude crying UKIP are not just a protest party!
Sorry I can't see it. Their only contribution to the next General Election is likely to be to secure a majority for Labour.