A lot has been written over the rise of the BNP due to their success at the European elections last week. There have also been discussions surrounding Labour's apparent demise and falling support. All the while the party that pushed Labour into 3rd place seems to have slipped under everyone's radar. UKIP supporters are crowing about how successful they were, pushing Labour into third and increasing the number of their MEPs by 1. But they were another group that benefitted from the disappearance of the Labour Party's core voters.
Overall UKIP's total number of votes fell by 8.6% but then this is probably reflective of a falling turnout. If you examine their vote across the regions it varies from a drop of 44.9% in the East Midlands to a 19.5% gain in the West Midlands (where they gained the extra MEP). The party only managed to gain supporters in 5 regions and the majority of those gains were below 6%. Their losses were heavier, three of them being above 18%. It is difficult to see where they can improve on the numbers who are voting for them, despite this election proving to be a fillip for them. In these politically apathetic times they are facing stiff competition from smaller/newer parties that are also anti-federalist. It is unlikely that we will see any increase on the 6% of the electorate who voted for them in the 2004 European election. Indeed if they deemed that a success one only has to look at the next election for the UK parliament where they only polled 2.2% of the votes, or 22% of the actual total number of voters from 12 months previously.
While many supporters of UKIP will see last week as a success the figures point to a party that has possibly reached it's zenith. But there still remains a hope for them, the continuing ignorance of the populace by the professional politicians of the day. Despite the citizens of the EU delivering a firm 'no' to the federalist leaning politicians they continue to call for more integration, as seen by yesterday's announcements by Peter Mandleson. UKIP's continued success depends on this blinkered idiocy to continue.