Now that the EU Parliamentary elections are out of the way, UK psephologists will begin crawling all over the General Election, due next May. There seems to be little chance that UKIP will retain the 29% share of the vote they garnered in the EU elections; I suspect my Sussex village is very typical-it's Conservative in every way, with both little and big 'C's, and with many people who were happy to vote UKIP in the EU elections, but wouldn't dream of voting anything else but 'Blue' next May. This is why I believe the polls currently understate both Tory support and their chances of victory, as it seems obvious to me that many more previously die-hard Labour supporters will have permanently switched allegiance to UKIP, as long as Labour don't change tack and say that they will after all hold a referendum over Britain's continued EU membership.
Also key will be Nigel Farage's tactic with regard to the number of constituencies in which he decides to put up candidates- does he really want to inflict damage on the Tories by standing in all constituencies, thus probably paving the way for a relatively pro-EU Labour or Lab/LibDem coalition and hence no referendum, or will he choose to refrain from standing in the key Conservative marginals that are so important in our gloriously decisive 'first-past-the-post' system, thus ensuring victory for the most anti-EU of the major parties and the only one that will give voters a referendum-especially after the mood of the nation was so vividly demonstrated by the EU elections.
Meanwhile the papers abound with stories about Cameron's mission to stop Jean Paul Juncker being elected as the next President of the European Commission. The British Prime Minister will feel his campaign is entirely justified by the EU Parliamentary elections, which represented a massive 'no-vote' for the sort of federalism and centralism of power in Brussels which Mr Juncker has come to personify.
Commentators are warning Cameron that he is fighting the wrong battle, in that although he may manoeuvre Angela Merkel into supporting him in this endeavor, in so doing would be using up a valuable favour that might have been used more effectively subsequently, on a more important matter.
Personally, I feel he is quite right to spurn such Machiavellianism; in attempting to prevent a quintessential Eurocrat from occupying this position, he is palpably reflecting the mood of the people and doing what he said he would do, in a broad sense, prior to his promised referendum, i.e. attempt to curb Brussels' power.
There must be a good probability that Nigel Farage will see the sense in coming to some form of rapprochement with the Tories over tactics with regard to the constituencies in which UKIP may choose to field candidates. If the Tories do get re-elected, there is at least the prospect of a referendum and UKIP will indeed have achieved something-game theory would certainly suggest this as his best course of action.