The Dark Pint Rises. Farage returns but will UKIP be as threatening?
UKIP are in a dangerous position for it's very own survival. You perhaps wouldn't think it given their rather impressive increase in the vote share last Thursday but the General Election enabled a Tory party majority that could spell the end of UKIP over the next five years.
UKIP's entire existence rests on the fact that the UK is a member of the European Union and to a far lesser extent its subscription to the European Court of Human Rights. The relevancy of the party will be called into question after the EU referendum, regardless of the outcome. Either the UK votes to remain in the EU, lending the major parties to decry the political legitimacy of UKIP or the UK votes to leave the EU rendering UKIP in the position of irrelevancy having achieved the aims of it's very own being.
Douglas Carswell, the only UKIP MP, has suggested that UKIP would need to broaden its appeal to the wider population over the next few years to become a right of centre party for the working class. Such a swing to the centre may alienate the core vote of UKIP that's built up over the past five years and ultimately threaten their message as an alternative party in contrast to the mainstream Westminster "elite". To be relevant, UKIP may need to be mainstream, moving beyond issues like immigration. Whereas the Greens are going through this process now of broadening their appeal and will more than likely pick up the protest vote the Lib Dems once enjoyed in the next election, the same process will probably not bode well for UKIP. It is likely that moderate right of centre voters will return to the Tories in order to keep a resurgent New Labour out of office leaving behind the so called "swivel eyed-loons", a reminder perhaps to the electorate of its fearful populist nature.
UKIP may be around for some time but it's unlikely they could threaten the main parties as dangerously as they have done recently. Should Labour have formed a government there would be no EU referendum and would give UKIP five more years to galvanise support on a political ticket of relevancy they now cannot enjoy.
Post EU referendum it will be interesting to see if Farage can raise UKIP from the dead as quickly as his own leadership.