Article by Dan Hodges
'Ukip have induced a from of catatonia in both the mainstream British parties. It is as if Nigel Farage has the eyes of the Medusa. Wherever he casts his gaze, mortal men turn to stone.
Politics is a contact sport. During the weekly ritual of PMQs we see both parties hurling themselves at each other like packs in a rugby scrum. They punch, they bite, they gouge. No blow is too low.
But as soon as Farage appears, they cower. To confront Ukip – to criticise them in any way – is now seen to be engaging in the act of ultimate political folly. “They just don’t get it,” Ukip’s apologists sneer. “The political establishment are just playing into their hands.” So rather than confront them, the Tories and Labour try to mimic them. Which ends with the result that we saw in Clacton, and will see again in a couple of weeks in Rochester and Strood.
Our political class does not know how to deal with Farage. So instead it will have to be left to the British people to deal with him.
Yesterday, just before the Rochester poll was released, two other polls were published. The first, produced by Ipsos MORI, revealed that support for Britain remaining in the EU is now at its highest level since 1991, with 56 per cent saying they would like stay in, compared to 36 per cent saying they wished to leave.
That’s right. Despite all the scares about armies of Polish builders and Romanian cashpoint bandits running amok on our nation’s streets – where they presumably smash holes in the walls of our banks, and then brick them up again – a growing majority of the British people want us to remain in the good old EUSSR.
The second poll was produced by ComRes, and found that Ukip have now overtaken the Tories as the party the electorate now regards as most “nasty”. Again, you’ll recall this wasn’t supposed to be happening. All the claims that Ukip was extreme and racist and homophobic and sexist were supposed to be falling on deaf ears. They were charges that resonated with the London metropolitan elite, we were told, but no one else.'
We will probably start to see an increasing public backlash against UKIP.