Despite persistent attacks from all sides and despite being exposed as bigots, UKIP have done very well in the elections, taking votes from all the main parties. UKIP are shambolic, bigots, and only have one recognisable candidate. So we need a better explanation from commentators on why people would vote for them. I think we need to look at the political system as a whole.
Most people think politicians are very untrustworthy. If we don't address this then we get UKIP. Which is not a solution to the problem, but a way to kick mainstream politicians. If all we can do is vote against them, then we'll do it. Watch the Scottish independence vote closely. Scots don't trust Westminster to represent their interests - and they'd be entirely justified in thinking so. Given an opportunity to kick them out they might well do so and bugger the consequences.
Many feel don't feel politicians listen to them, care about them, or even know they exist. Politicians are part of an elite concerned with grabbing money and wielding power. They fiddle expenses, fiddle their taxes, bankrupt the economy by massively over-borrowing and make ordinary people pay it back. Bankers still reign supreme while the NHS is gradually being sold off to businesses in which MPs have financial stakes. And so on.
How ugly do the mainstream have to be to make Nigel Farage look attractive? Well we know the answer to this question. And it means that when, say, David Cameron attacks Farage that his (Farage's) charisma only increases. Farage can only do better while being attacked by the man who epitomises the status quo.
Farage preaches self-determination and sovereignty - imagine you're on a zero hours contract and how you might feel about those issues.
Because Farage hasn't had media training and thus doesn't talk like a broken record, because he looks natural with a pint glass in his hand, because he just says what he thinks (even when he's not thinking clearly) it makes him seem more like one of us - forget the fact that he's a commodities trader (read "rapacious bastard").
I don't think UKIP and Farage are the answer to our political problems, as I don't think an independent Scotland will suddenly be free of the taint of political corruption (though I'd be voting for Independence if I was Scottish because it's a start). And the media circus surrounding them just distracts from the real issues.
What we need is some real engagement and real change, but I don't see it coming. The government/media complex is a soap opera. It merely distracts. Meanwhile, for example, the Arctic is melting.
Something better change.