‘UKIP is not a party but a state of mind’ wrote the usually excellent Matthew d’Ancona in a remarkably sniffy column a couple of days back.
Now, given that UKIP became the second party in the Middlesborough and Rotherham by-elections, perhaps some people will have to consider that the UKIP state of mind is rather closer to that of many British people than that of certain mainstream political parties?
After all, yesterday the Liberal Democrats managed to record what is now being anointed the worst ever by-election result by a major political party. The Liberal Democrats managed to poll behind the Respect party, the British National Party and the English Democrats. Given this fact, might we not finally accept that voting Liberal Democrat is also a state of mind – and one so increasingly rare that it should be treated with far greater curiosity and sniffy-ness than it has been of late?
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