If 4 weeks ago some one had asked me could I envisage a scenario for 4th June in which UKIP was expecting to increase its number of MEPs then I would have admitted defeat. However given all three major parties have managed to shoot themselves in both feet at the same time anything is possible. There is a continuous scale of UKIP MEP possible numbers from 3 to 20 say compared with 12 last time or 11 to allow for the reduction in the number of UK MEP seats.
I think Farage will step down post 4th June whatever the result. Ten or more seats will be a glorious triumph for the great leader to exit on. Less than 10 will be blamed on the usual BNP moles sabotaging the great leader. But the bottom line is NF wants to enjoy the high life in Brussels, large office, large salary, large pension, chauffeur driven limo that will come his way as leader of the IndDem group in Europe without the need to be involved in tedious British domestic politics. It will of course be spun as a necessary fight for UK independence from the EU, allies in Europe etc, but the truth is Farage went native years ago.
Where will that leave UKIP? Bannnerman & Nuttall both have leadership aspirations. Bannerman was and is a Europhile whom the Tories rejected years ago. Nuttall wants to be in Brussels rather than Bootle. The only decent choice for UKIP is Trevor Colman who would undoubtedly work in the UK to free us from the EU yoke but may not want the leader's job.
Coming back to the result the d'Hondt method does pretty well reflect the percentage vote with an obvious cut off on smaller parties that get less than 8% in the South East and 12% in regions with less seats. It is possible to construct scenarios that could deliver a seat to a small party with slightly less than these percentages but it is not likely. So on this basis I give my estimates of the percentage vote necessary to deliver 1 and 2 UKIP MEPs in some areas.
East Mids (5) UKIP gets 1 with 20% and 2 with 36%
Eastern (7) UKIP gets 1 with 14% and 2 with 23%
London (8) UKIP gets 1 with 12% and 2 with20%
North West (8) UKIP gets 1 with 12% and 2 with 20%.
South East (10) UKIP gets 1 with 10% and 2 with 17%
South West (6) UKIP gets 1 with 16% and 2 with 30%
West Mids (6) as for South West
York & Hum (6) as for South West
Wales (4) UKIP gets 1 with 25%
If we look at the recent IPSOS/Mori poll:
LIB DEM 18%
with the smaller parties splitting nationally:
Scottish/Welsh national: 4%
It looks like only a strong regional/personal vote for UKIP will deliver seats with South East NF looking reasonably secure, South West will exceed the national average by a factor of 2 to 3 and Eastern is likely to do well despite Bannerman but could be upset by the Greens and UKF.
There is a considerable North/South split however so although Nuttall looks like having a good chance in Lancashire the BNP may poll strongly there and in Yorkshire and the East Midlands.
It all depends on which poll you believe but it looks like a tough ask for UKIP to get more than 5 seats. What could upset everything is what the Sun comes out with tomorrow and on polling day.