Last week, the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) won Britain’s elections for the European Parliament and surged in the vote for its local councils. Since then, British politics has become a lurid frenzy.
Prime Minister David Cameron is wondering how on earth his Conservative Party is going to court its disenchanted base after years of attempted modernization, and perhaps considering a second coat of makeup. Labour leader Ed Miliband is trying to synthesize the disparate factions in his own party, several of which are annoyed with him after Labour lost seats to UKIP. The Liberal Democrats, annihilated at the polls now that there’s another protest party in town, are engaging in the sort of cloak-and-dagger maneuvers against party leader Nick Clegg usually found in John Le Carré novels. And Scottish Nationalist Party head Alex Salmond, fresh off a campaign to paint his country as a neo-socialist Norway West, is irritated that the right-wing UKIP picked up a seat right under his nose.