Clacton II

So, he won. Douglas Carswell won his seat back as a UKIP candidate. It has been hailed as a grassroots uprising, the birth of four-party politics in the UK.

Grassroots? Carswell is establishment (and so is Farage but that’s a story for another day). Would UKIP have won if they fielded their own unknown candidate? Maybe. Maybe not.

Four-party politics? Now they have an MP. So do the greens.

Predicably, the media backlash has been personal – Farage has said something stupid (again), calling for HIV positive people who migrate to the UK to be excluded. Scaremongering, for sure, especially in these times of Ebola panic. But he tends to say something stupid on a regular basis, but it’s not made a big deal of until he rocks the boat a teensy bit too much. He should be roundly condemned for the statement, but let’s not pretend that this is a one-off or that the people voting for UKIP really care about UKIP policies or controversies, beyond the simple, reflexive EU exit and cutting immigration. Otherwise they’d be a bit perturbed at UKIP calls to privatise the NHS, among other crazy policies.

It *is* remarkable that UKIP have broken through to get an MP, but it looks less like a people’s revolution than the rearranging of the deckchairs in the crazy section of HMS establishment. But as narratives go, nuance isn’t as sexy.

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