The meteoric rise of UKIP and its charismatic leading man has been an irresistable subject for the British press and its insatiable desire for spectacle. It must be the fag in Nigel's hand, the twinkle in his eye, the mischevious grin, the accent of deepest, darkest Kent... Yet the full picture demonstrates quite well that the key to UKIP's success is in the mainstream.
It was only a few months ago that UKIP candidate Roger Helmer was easily defeated by mainstream candidates. It isn’t insignificant that it took an establishment candidate to secure the Party’s presence in Parliament. Douglas Carswell still stands as the kind of man UKIP sucks up in vast quantities. He stands opposed to universal healthcare and regulations on private enterprise. He wrote the Plan with fellow-traveling libertarian Daniel Hannan. It’s a free-market hymnbook for decentralisation and deregulation.
This is consistent with the reality of Farage’s success. The leap from 13 MEPs to 24 MEPs took five years, but the European elections only draw out 33.8% of the electorate. That’s half of the usual turnout in UK general elections. The entrance points are to be found in the weak spots of the Westminster consensus. Under these conditions the fringe parties can have greater influence.
UKIP gained 27.5% of the vote and outmatched Labour by a little over 2%. So that’s about 9.3% of the electorate. The Conservatives lost 4% of the vote, just as the Lib Dems lost 6% and were overtaken by the Greens at 8%. The vote for the BNP fell by 7%. Against this backdrop, it’s easy to see why UKIP bolstered its vote by over 10%. If you take the local elections, the Farage party lost 5% of the vote, but picked up 160 seats and gained no councils.
See the rest of this article at Souciant.