In last month's European parliamentary elections, the UK Independence Party (UKIP) became the first British political party other than Labour or the Conservatives to win a national poll in more than 100 years. Political and media reaction to UKIP's victory has ranged from hyperbolic to head-in-the-sand.
Echoing the words of UKIP's pint-sized, pint-loving leader, Nigel Farage, media commentators talked up the "political earthquake." In contrast, many politicians from the established parties dismissed UKIP's election upset as a midterm protest. In reality, the Euro elections, which took place on the same day as local polls in many parts of England, revealed mixed fortunes for all British parties, including UKIP.
Winning 27.5 percent of the vote and more than doubling their number of members in the European Parliament (MEPs) to 24, UKIP clearly achieved a good result in the European election. Furthermore, by winning a Euro seat in every region of Britain, UKIP demonstrated their national appeal. Yet, the election results were not all good news for UKIP. In English local elections, UKIP's vote dropped at least 5 percentage points from 2013, falling from 23 to 17 percent. Yet, despite receiving fewer votes than in 2013, UKIP won far more council seats this year, thanks to an increased concentration in its voter share.