Whether it’s a blip or not, UKIP’s surge in the opinion polls should be looked at in a wider context: the combined far-right vote.
In the last European election, UKIP and theÂ BNP together got nearly 23%. The BNP’s subsequent collapse, with its voters mostly switching to UKIP, means that UKIP’s starting point in this election should itself be around that mark…Â perhaps a little less if there are some who still vote BNP, but on the other hand they’ll also pick up some of the former ‘English Democrats’ vote.
Seen in that light, there hasn’t really been a swing away from the mainstreamÂ parties soÂ much as a massive swing between them — from the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats to Labour, whose support is almost double what it got in the last EuropeanÂ elections.
Perhaps Labour’s calm attitude to Europe (“leaving the EU is high risk,Â so let’s work inside to improve and reform”) has more appeal than some people think?