With most of the votes counted, four parties emerge with gains of more than 1% – Greens ( plus 2.5%), BNP (plus 1.4%), Conservatives (plus 1.2%) and English Democrats (plus 1.1%). Two parties have losses of more than 1% – Labour losing 7% and Lib Dems losing 1.1%.
UKIP added little to last time. 21 parties failed to score more than 0.5%. Yes2Europe polled 0% or 3,000 votes.
So what can we make of all this?
It proves that PR drives more people to extremes.It shows that it leads to a huge fragmentation of parties, as more and people set up parties to express their view but fail to get their message acrosss, or fail to adopt a popular message. It leads to laziness by traditional party campaigners – local homes in my area were only contacted by the Conservatives and UKIP, with nothing from Labour or the Lib Dems.
The Lib Dems came out of their preferred voting system particularly badly, despite help from the BBC to boost their chances. Although we were told they were less affected by the expenses saga, that is not how it came across in the Telegraph. They always suffer in Euro elections from their enthusiasm for all laws European and their wish to transfer ever more power to Europe and to bogus regions.
Those who want to pull out of the EU immediately had another bad night. Parties espousing that cause could only marshall about one fifth of the popular vote. They did manage to keep the Eurosceptic vote split. Those who want more Europe had an even worse night, as the majority opinion was Eurosceptic.
The commentators are concentrating on what it means for Mr Brown. It looks as if it means he staggers on, because his critics can wound but cannot kill him politically. As one said this morning, the results are so bad few Labour MPs will want an election any time soon.
The headline for the EU as a whole is a big win by the centre right. I take no joy from that. The so called centre right, the continental winners, are all parties that want more European laws, regulations and centralised power. They all want to do things that will make Europe less prosperous and less free. I am just glad my party today is fully detached from them. At last we have a full complement of Conservative MEPs all elected on a ticket which expressly rejects their federalism. What we need is a European Parliament that slashes the power and spending of the great bureaucracy, repeals laws and gives powers back to member states. Instead What we have outside the UK is more of the same, business as usual for the political class of Europe.