There can be no doubts that today is one to celebrate for those backing UKIP. Told time and time again that they'd be unable to gain votes outside of European elections, the purple party has given others a drubbing.
While Labour will have been hoping to pick up seats, it is UKIP that is leading the tables. At the time of writing they have gained 76 with only 28 of 34 councils declared.
This victory may not be as comprehensive as the top numbers imply however. UKIP's gains are certainly impressive, but compare less favourably with the independent numbers. On aggregate, the alternative candidates are still winning with 84 councillors to UKIP's 77. Perhaps UKIP is now the fashionable protest vote now that the Liberal Democrats are a party of government.
It is difficult to understand why UKIP may have become the vessel for a protest vote, seeing as the bulk of their campaigns involve issues that councillors can do precious little about. Our relationship with the EU, income taxes, immigration and grammar schools aren't things about which these local politicians have any power. Possibly voters are unaware of this, possibly they don't care. Yet the party does represent a feeling of rebellion, with a strong anti-establishment ethos.
It is still too soon to say what will happen in 2015, and whether the motivations for voting UKIP will carry over into a general election. Without concentrated backing in any one area, it may be difficult for UKIP to convert support into MP seats in the Commons.
Ousted UKIP chairman of UKIP's youth wing Oliver Neville spoke to City A.M. as the seat he would have challenged at this election turned purple:
Like most UKIP material at these elections the promises were more about national issues than local ones, I lost count of the number of mentions of EU on the leaflet, but I can’t fault George for his enthusiasm, determination and his genuine belief. I am sure UKIP Guildford can bring the anti EU enthusiasm and change it into dedication and hard work for the people of Shalford.