The Farage bandwagon groans on. It appears that every depressed decade has its marginal Messiah, be it Mosley, Owen or our current subject of derision. Ever since the Tories managed to screw up their Eastleigh by-election campaign, their fellow-travelling media morons have been talking up UKIP as though it is some form of panacea for the world - playing into xenophobia, ignorance and the language of exclusionary politics.
I doubt that Nige himself is a racist bigot. There are plenty of racists who pop up to endorse UKIP - which must be horribly embarrassing for a party that does not wish to project the image that it is a white-collar BNP. However, the UKIP panaceas are sufficiently broad-brushed and vague as to encourage every type of right-wing zealot to assume that their calming balm of proto-reaction is directed solely at undermining the diversity and tolerance that really defines a civilised society.
The anti-European rhetoric is not solely directed at the European Union. Just as well, since for all the anti-Brussels posturing, Farage and his MEP cronies have been expert at syphoning off the funds that are available to all MEPs. This is perfectly legal and legitimate, but it does strike an odd note when the perfidious recklessness of any EU institution is the dog-whistle that brings the reactionary clones out of their kennels.
Research published by Professor John Curtice, of the University of Strathclyde, suggests that, despite the UKIP ululations, most of their support will come from Tory voters. This fits the bill, since most UKIP defectors in elected office tend to be Tory councillors whose views are either based around the assumption that it's all been downhill since Eden started getting rid of the Empire, or those whose reputation is somewhat dodgy and who have become an electoral embarrassment to the Conservatives - pause to examine how such an unlikely thing might come about.
UKIP taps into the anarchic streak that used to reward and build up Liberal hopes between General Elections - but that is about as far as its parallels with a respectable party can be taken. It's apparent that it only has one leader, one figurehead - without resort to Google it is impossible to identify any other prominent figures - and there appears to be internecine warfare. This is not a party as a disgruntlement embodied by a gallery-playing prima donna.
If UKIP does well in the English shire elections, then there will be much excitement about a breakthrough. However, the electoral system is against them - but their voters are much happier punishing the Tories than reflecting that their support will achieve a potential shift of the centre of political gravity further left. For that, we must all be grateful - while ensuring that the barmy fools are challenged whenever their assertions are made, and the rent-a-gobs parrot them as if they were based in fact.