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rpannier Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Tue Nov-27-12 10:58 PM
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Ukip: the party that's coming in from the cold
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It was written off by David Cameron as a party of 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists'. So why is Ukip suddenly becoming a political force to contend with?



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UK Independence party (Ukip)

Ukip: the party that's coming in from the cold

It was written off by David Cameron as a party of 'fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists'. So why is Ukip suddenly becoming a political force to contend with?

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John Harris
John Harris
The Guardian, Monday 26 November 2012 20.00 GMT
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Nigel Farage, leader of Ukip, 2009
Nigel Farage: the former Tory first became leader of Ukip in 2006. Photograph: Toby Melville/Reuters

In the long slipstream of this year's party conference season, British politics seems to have gone strangely quiet. But listen closely, and under the sound of all that rain, you can make out something very interesting: the metaphorical forces politicians usually call "tectonic plates", shifting in ways that, three or four years ago, no one would have predicted. This winter's biggest political story, in fact, may turn out not to be focused on the Conservatives, Labour or the Lib Dems, but an organisation that until recently was routinely condemned to the fringes, or smirked about as a collection of eccentrics and oddballs.

But there it is: the UK Independence party, which has spent well over a year regularly scoring at least 6% or 7% in the polls, and often climbing as high as 11%, thus relegating the poor old Lib Dems to fourth place. At last week's Corby byelection, the party managed an impressive 14.3%, its highest-ever share of the poll in any such contest. That day, there was also a byelection in the seat of Cardiff South and Penarth, where it managed 6.1% not nearly as convincing, but still its highest share in any Welsh election. And in the same day's somewhat shambolic elections for police and crime commissioners, Ukip's share of the vote per candidate once again put it ahead of Nick Clegg's lot.

snip

Yesterday, the Tory MP and party vice-chairman Michael Fabricant published a report titled The Pact, in which he advocates an electoral deal between the Conservatives and Ukip, on the basis of a referendum on Britain's EU membership, and a place in a future Tory cabinet for the Ukip leader Nigel Farage.

link:
http://www.guardian.co.uk/politics/2012/nov/26/ukip-par...

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