The pundits are already discussing the possible future for UKIP and looking ahead at the European elections due next year in which they are already in second place. Judging by the reactions of the Conservative Party Grandees they are no longer looking at the "clowns" as described by Kenneth Clarke but a real threat to their base since if UKIP continue their current trajectory they will seriously undermine the Tories chances of being re-elected at the next General Election.
One fair point that has been raised is about their "policies" which other than being anti-Europe and anti-immigration nobody really knows about. Nigel Farage will now come under much more scrutiny by the media and no amount of personal affability will be able to cover up a gaping credibility gap.
Time will tell.
On the other hand it was good to see that the British National Party (BNP) was finally wiped off the political map (as far as County Councils go) as they lost their only seat in Burnley. The rival British Democrats also lost their only Councillor in the form of Graeme Partner who came fourth with just 215 votes.
In total the far right stood 172 candidates and you can see how badly they fared on the Hope Not Hate website here: http://www.hopenothate.org.uk/2013/elections/.
While we are the subject of unpleasant Councillors I was horrified to see the re-election of Colin Brewer in Cornwall, abeit by just four votes. The BBC reported that following comments on disabled children:
The people of Wadebridge put me back. They know me."
Mr Brewer said the comments, made to a Disability Cornwall member at a stall at County Hall in Truro in 2011, were only to "provoke debate".
He said disabled children should be put down because they cost the authority too much money.
The comments came to light following a report by the council's standards committee after the charity made a formal complaint.
Then of course there is the far left. The only group of candidates standing were from the Trade Union & Socialist Coalition, an organisation set up by the Socialist Party (Militant to older readers) and have the backing of the Socialist Workers Party and Bob Crows RMT union. For some reason they did not put up a candidate in South Shields and left this to a local fellow Phil Brown of the unknown Indpendent Socialist Party who polled 750 votes, more than double that of the unfortunate Lib Dem who gained a mere 352 votes.
The TUSC has made much of its' result in the Doncaster Mayoral election where their candidate polled 1,916 votes (3.1%) and came sixth in the list of "first preferences". According to their report the TUSC campaign "rattled" the Labour Party. I doubt that very much as the real contest was between the incumbent independent mayor and the Labour Party. Besides the Miliband leadership can rest easy when they look at the abysmal results obtained elsewhere by the TUSC.
The TUSC website carries the results of the first 44 (out of 120) seats they contested which I have reproduced below. They have promised a "comprehensive report later over the weekend". In the meantime their results speak for themselves:
Members of the RMT union may well want to question the use of their resources on the TUSC in light of the above results and remember that they only got an ridiculous 67 votes in the Eastleigh by-election. Those of us in PCS a union dominated by the Socialist Party who want to adopt the same strategy may well start questioning the direction of the current National Executive Committee.
The only winners on the political "fringe" last night were UKIP.
For trade unionists like myself the question of voting Labour and ignoring the sectarians of the far-left has never been a more urgent task.