Copied from Local Government Chronicle online
LGC View – Ukip in the council chamber
8 May, 2013 | By Ruth Keeling
Ukip have understandably dominated the news coverage of this year’s local elections after winning a quarter of votes and an impressive 139 seats.
But it is highly unlikely they will have any major impact on local government in the long term. As Nick Golding’s leader makes clear, these votes were about national rather than local politics, and the paucity of Ukip’s local policies just proves this point.
With so little of Ukip’s agenda being decided in council chambers, there are few local issues the party can coalesce around. Even if there were, Ukip leader Nigel Farage has said there will be no whip for his councillors.
The party lacks a profile within local government circles. It has a local government leader, but few would be able to name him (it’s Peter Reeve, a county councillor in Cambridgeshire).
Even at council level the party as a unit is shaky at best. Three of Lincolnshire’s new Ukip councillors may be from the same family, but local Conservative leader Martin Hill, who is now searching for partners to shore up the party’s minority administration, says he is struggling to deal with a “disorganised” group which still lacks a leader.
“It’s rumoured they will come along and vote individually, [making cooperation] difficult,” he told LGC.
Ukip’s success may be significant nationally, but at a local level it is probably better to view the 139 seats won simply as a significant addition to the number of independent councillors.
Ruth Keeling, senior reporter http://www.twitter.com/ruthkeeling