To listen to some sections of the media you would think that UKIP had achieved a startling breakthrough in the recent elections. Once you examine the facts, however, the story is quite different.
UKIP expected to win two seats in the elections for the Greater London Assembly. UKIP had been shown in polls at around 8% in the capital. On this basis they had boasted they would secure third place in the mayoral race for their candidate Lawrence Webb and win two seats in the Assembly, where UKIP has been unrepresented since two members defected in 2005.
They failed on both counts. The UKIP candidate for Mayor scored 43,274 votes (1.96%) placing him sixth. The UKIP Top-up result was 100,040 votes (4.5%) with no seat being won.
In an attempt to explain this away they are claiming that it was the result of a blunder about the description on the ballot paper. UKIP’s Mayoral candidate Lawrence Webb’s description was ‘Fresh Choice for London’. This cock-up lost them votes so they claim. But wait a minute. On the proportional election London-wide Top-Up list they were described as UK Independence Party. UKIP only really stood any chance of getting someone elected via the Top-Up list. This did feature their full Party name as the description.
UKIP spent a reputed £500,000 on their London campaign but won nothing.
On the same day local elections were held and UKIP’s local council candidates averaged 13% in the 700 seats they contested (notice that this is much higher than their London percentage). However they won only 9 seats which is unchanged.Sure UKIP increased their percentage in local elections but that did not translate to an increased number of seats won. They did not increase their number of councillors.
Let's be realistic, these elections did not see good results for any Party which can even vaguely be described as Nationalist and that includes UKIP. UKIP only increased their percentage because they reaped disaffected Tory votes when the Conservatives are taking unpopular policy stances. For more working-class based Nationalists, such as the BNP, the swing to a Labour in opposition meant a decline in fortune.
Compare 9 UKIP councillors to Labour's 2,158 or the Tories' 1,005 and it looks pretty dire. Even comparing it to the Lib Dems' 431 it looks bad.
The future is not bright for UKIP as the Tories will worry that at the General Election UKIP could cost them marginal seats. It is likely that they will make "right sounding" noises to win back the disillusioned just as Thatcher did in 1979 to undermine the National Front. UKIP are building their house on sand. The disillusioned Tories they rely on will be bribed, cajoled and sweet-talked by Tory Central Office. Where then for UKIP?