Nigel Farage, head of the United Kingdom Independence Party, says he is “over the moon” about his party’s placing first in the European Parliament elections.
What must be especially satisfying is how much he has embarrassed his critics. Prime Minister David Cameron, who once famously dismissed UKIP supporters as “loonies,” now leads a Conservative party that placed third in a national election — the first time in history that that has ever happened.
Ed Miliband, the Labor party leader, saw his party’s gains in the election blunted by a surge of support from traditional Labor party voters towards UKIP’s message of no-nonsense immigration policies and disdain for European entities. Miliband’s own parliamentary constituency in Doncaster actually saw UKIP come in first, beating Labor by 35 percent to 34 percent.
Then there is Marta Andreasen, who shares Farage’s criticism of the European Union and joined his party and won a seat in the European Parliament under his banner. Andreasen had impeccable credentials to skewer the EU, having been fired as its chief accountant in 2002 on trumped-up charges of wrongdoing when in reality she had challenged the EU’s almost non-existent fraud controls. She says it “it is almost impossible to reform” the institution and backs Britain’s departure from it.
But Andreasen and Farage ultimately proved that their two strong personalities couldn’t fit inside one party. She defected to the Conservative party’s bench in the European Parliament in 2013, accusing Farage of being “Stalinist” and practicing “kamikaze politics.” Running for reelection to Parliament last night in the same region that Farage was running in, she dismissed UKIP’s chances as late as 10 p.m., saying her former party was “far from being an important element in the political game.” She claimed her new party’s campaign had “gone pretty well.” Two hours later she lost her own seat and had to watch Farage deliver his victory speech.
Let’s just say Marta Andreasen may be an eagle-eyed accountant, but as a political player she lacked a certain vision into what the future would bring.