Published on 23 May 2014

Seven reasons why success breeds success for Ukip

There’s much chat today about how important these results are for Ukip. Is it the earthquake Nigel Farage promised? Well, how does one define an earthquake. Some are pointing out that Ukip’s likely share of the vote – 22 per cent – is actually slightly down on 2013.

Maybe, but the local results and the European results on Sunday will provide Nigel Farage and his party with a real bridgehead for 2015, in all sorts of ways.

First, the European polls on Sunday will give Nigel Farage a much larger team of full-time paid MEPs from whom he can pick a front-bench team to relieve him of some of the burden of being a “one-man band” – perhaps 24 or so.  True, he had around a dozen MEPs before (the figure kept fluctuating), but this time the Ukip high command has put a lot more effort into quality-control and tried to exclude oddballs and eccentrics. We will see how successful that has been.

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Second, the likely result on Sunday will provide Ukip with lots more money from the European parliament, up to 100 paid staff in one form or another and a network of regional offices. In short, a much stronger campaign infrastrucure.  Under the rules, these resources are meant to be devoted solely to the parliamentary activities of MEPs. Again we’ll see about that.

Third, more and more people are getting into the habit of voting Ukip. It’s become a regular, respectable thing to do. So Ukip’s European election vote this weekend may not crumble so readily as it did after the Euro elections of 2004 and 2009.

Fourth, Ukip have rapidly been building up detailed canvass records of who their supporters are. These, in turn, can be used not just to garner votes, but to raise funds and recruit new members.  The party has declared that this summer it expects to overtake the Liberal Democrats in membership numbers. It would not surprise me.

Fifth, Ukip’s successes will put a lot more pressure on us broadcasters to include the party even more in our political coverage, up to and beyond the election. And it makes it all the harder to exclude Nigel Farage entirely from leaders’ TV debates.

Sixth, each election gives Ukip more campaign experience. For example, several of the newly elected Ukip councillors in Rotherham today told me it was only after experience of the 2012 by-election there that they understood the importance of organising postal votes. This time they were a lot more organised to getting supporters to apply for postal votes and use them. And I think it unlikely that Ukip will ever again organise a carnival quite as chaotic as that in Croydon this week.

Finally, today’s local election results, added to the results from 2013, give Ukip a detailed ward-by-ward guide map as to where their support and strength lies, and therefore the  parliamentary seats they should “throw the kitchen sink at” over the coming year. Great Yarmouth, for example, and Rotherham.

It’s simple really. Success breeds success.

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10 reader comments

  1. Tom Stack says:

    All the talk in the world about tectonic plates & throwing kitchen sinks about will not alter the maths. Nor will any funds that filter through from the EU make much difference. What happened in 2004/5 will repeat itself as all the shortcomings that have bedevilled UKIP in the past will once again materialise.

    As you more than anyone Mr Crick, should be aware. UKIP is a One Man Band on a One Trick Pony and so long as it is led by Farage its future is bleak. He is a control freak and the past is littered with the corpses of the disaffected. People who are out to get him. He has upset too many along the way with his: “If you don’t agree with me sling your hook,” technique.

    It’s all about to play catch-up, mark my words.

  2. keith says:

    Was this article written by Michael Crick, as its seems to be fair and balanced, one thing i think UKIP have made a mistake on though, is selecting Helmer to fight Newark, they should have got someone local who was fresh and not one of the old brigade and we know that Mr Crick and the rest of the Press pack will keep on asking about his batty Homosexual Opinions. But i agree they are getting more organised and i see no reason why they wont win at least two MPs at the general Election

  3. skynine says:

    That’s the way the SNP started and they ran rings around Westminster.

  4. Frank Fisher says:

    You know, you could have been writing thoughtful serious articles like this for a year. You and the rest of the MSM could have treated us as a normal, respectable party. Instead, and particularly for the past eight weeks, the media have conducted an unprecedented hate campaign against us. If we were evil ignorant racists a week ago, why aren’t we now?

    Your analysis is reasonable however – but you miss the big change for May 2015 – absence of LibDem activists in consequence of this disaster, and their gradual decline.

  5. harvey says:

    ‘Here is the UKIP news from the North. The more observant amongst you may notice a trend amongst this data pattern. Which may give a different slant from many London based major media outlets.
    Warrington – 0 councillors
    Oldham – 2 councillors
    Trafford – 0 councillors
    Chorley – 0 councillors
    Stockport – 0 councillors
    Preston – 0 councillors
    Manchester – 0 councillors
    West Lancashire – 0 councillors
    Liverpool – 0 councillors
    Salford – 0 councillors
    Bury – 0 councillors
    Blackburn – 0 councillors
    Pendle – 0 councillors
    St. Helens – 0 councillors
    South Lakeland – 0 councillors
    North Tyneside – 0 councillors
    Wakefield – 2 councillors
    Sheffield – 3 councillors
    Wirral – 0 councillors
    Knowsley – 0 councillors
    Burnley – 0 councillors
    Gateshead – 0 councillors
    Barnsley – 0 councillors
    Halton – 0 councillors
    Derby – 2 councillors
    Bolton – 2 councillors
    Rochdale – 0 councillors
    Carlisle – 0 councillors
    Wigan – 0 councillors
    Hartlepool – 2 councillors
    South Tyneside – 1 councillor
    Sunderland – 0 councillors
    (we won’t mention the 9 ukip in Rotherham, there was always the odd rabid Tory in Yorkshire ;))

  6. Anthony croft try says:

    This is a example of the poor journalism that is common place in today’s media,it does not even occur to the author that people voted for ukip because they agreed with their policies.The other parties are going to be hit hard by ukip’s simple mantra of self determination regarding laws,

  7. Tom Payne says:

    Still think UKIP a wasted vote, they do not have a single M.P or Control a single council, they do NOT have a complete policy for Government – merely a wish list. No use leaving the EU without trying to get it altered. Conservative, Cameron, Correct, Constructive. Farage out of touch with what the Country needs. His intervention taking votes from all other parties could lead to a disaster by the UK getting a Labour Government in a years’ time – Unless Scotland says Yes – then there will never be one as too many Labour MP’s come from there.

  8. Martin says:

    Michael, yes UKIP had a good night on Thursday, boosted by wall to wall media coverage for the last few months. But talk of Farage being involved in the leader’s debate or “an era of four party politics” raises serious questions about the impartiality of broadcasters coverage of these elections.

    Let’s remember that UKIP’s share of the vote was slightly down. They failed to win control of any councils. They have consistently failed to turn success in European elections into respectable showings in Westminster elections. UKIP has been trying to get into Westminster for ten years without success and the polls show that a large proportion of their vote this time around will not turn out for them next May.

    By contrast, the Green Party control a local authority, are the official opposition in at least one other, who had (up until Thursday) a similar presence in the European Parliament as UKIP and who, most importantly, have actually won one Westminster seat and are challenging in two others. Even Respect have managed what UKIP never have, to get their figurehead into Westminster. And in the event of another hung Parliament, the parties of Government in Northern Ireland, Scotland and Wales are likely to have more influence than UKIP, the Greens or any of the other minor parties.

    So yes, UKIP are always good copy and I can see why the press focus on them so heavily. But broadcasters are supposed to be impartial and I think all of those parties have legitimate grounds for complaint about the air time and credibility that has been given to UKIP ahead of these elections and which presumably will continue to be given to them.

  9. Kevin Ruffy says:

    The huge amount of media coverage enabled ukip to portray themselves as victims and therefore enhance their image as outsiders willing to speak plainly. I believe this helped garner ‘protest’ support as it appeared to offer something different to the mainstream established parties.
    I think the real issue is the fact that % turnout and participation of politics is so low. When relatively small numbers are involved it accentuates figures like the votes gained by ukip and makes it appear a lot larger than it is.
    There needs to be a ‘none of the above’ option on ballot papers. ‘Protests’ could then be registered without support being given to more extreme parties. If the amount of ‘none of the above’ votes were sizeable then the mainstream parties would find them harder to ignore and not be able to complacently believe that ‘protesters’ would return to them (for a diet of more of the same) in a general election.

  10. Malcolm Berry says:

    Thank you Michael. This standard of journalism, with objective, balanced research and a refreshing way of looking at things is what we really mean by a free press. By all means criticise UKIP (we do) but please keep out of that PC cesspit.

    You have risen above earlier diatribes and shown the way for your colleagues. I hope that they are thoroughly ashamed of their recent propagandist approach and will now aim to raise the level of debate rather than let themselves be drawn back down into the Westminster/Islington mire.

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