I’ve written in Saturday’s FT that Ukip is becoming increasingly confident of its ability to beat Labour in Thursday’s European elections. The implications for Gordon Brown’s credibility hardly need spelling out.
A couple of recent have already put the two parties close. Tomorrow will see a Populus survey in The Times which puts Ukip ahead of Labour by several points (19 per cent to 16 per cent).
The strange thing is that the anti-Europe party is picking up thousands of votes in a backlash against Westminster sleaze. Yet Ukip itself has not been immune from expenses scandal; this will give you a flavour. Or this.
The Tories recently launched a scathing attack on Ukip, claiming a third of the 12 MEPs elected in 2004 had “disappeared, some to prison [for expenses abuses], some to the furthest reaches of rightwing lunacy”. The broadside doesn’t seem to have worked.
What made me think the party might be enjoying a resurgence? I spent much of yesterday talking to dozens of voters in Staffordshire, one of the county councils set to be lost by Labour next week. The Tories seem to be riding out the scandal. Ukip are benefiting. Labour, perhaps unfairly, are getting it in the neck. Here is my report from the west Midlands.