UKIP Sweeps Thanet Council—Will 2020 Be Tipping Point?
The map above, courtesy of the Telegraph, shows not the percentage of victory, but the “most improved” party in all parts of the UK. Advantage: Nationalism.
Of course it was a bittersweet general election for immigration-patriot, anti-European Union UKIP—it quadrupled its vote and became the third-largest party, but gained only one seat in the British parliament. But now it has emerged that in the local government elections, held the same day, UKIP won control of its first-ever council ( in U.S. terms, broadly equivalent to winning control of a state). Ironically, it’s in Thanet, where UKIP leader Nigel Farage was defeated in his attempt to win the parliamentary seat: Ukip takes control of its first council in Thanet where Nigel Farage failed in MP bid – as Tories follow up general election win with sweeping gains in local polls, by Gemma Mullin and Keiligh Baker, Daily Mail, May 9 2015.
It’s being widely said that the first-past-the-post system is unjust to smaller parties whose support is spread across the country. And it is certainly striking that UKIP with 12.6% of the vote gets only one seat, whereas David Cameron’s Conservative Party with just 37% gets 331 seats and forms the government.
But it’s also true that first-past-the-post systems produce dramatic flips when the tipping point is reached. Indeed, this just happened in Scotland, where the Scottish Nationalist Party won 56 of 59 seats, up from 11 in 2010, but only got 50% of the vote.
With a second-place finish in more than 120 seats, UKIP could be poised to reach that tipping point in the next election, due in 2020. Hence these two MSM reports that take the UKIP threat seriously: After Nigel| The United Kingdom Independence Party may have lost a leader but has found its public, The Economist, May 8 2015; A bad election for Ukip–but Nigel Farage’s party won’t go away, by Mathew Goodwin, Daily Telegraph, May 9 2015