DUNCAN BARKES: How do you stop a fellow like Farage?

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That is the question gnawing at the minds of politicians who are seeing their vote damaged by the seemingly unstoppable momentum of Ukip.

Thursday sees the European elections taking place, the results of which will determine who our MEPs are.

Many do not bother with this election and I would argue that the majority of people in Britain would struggle to name even one of their MEPs.

Those who do vote are likely to be either extreme party loyalists or keen to use these elections to make a protest.

I know of Tories who plan to vote Ukip today to give David Cameron a bloody nose, yet they will still vote Conservative in the General Election.

Many others are voting for Farage’s mob as they see it as the only way to get the UK out of the EU, although Farage himself has rightly indicated that Ukip could have all this country’s MEPs and still would not be in a position to drag our country out of the EU.

But a possible political earthquake could well be imminent.

If Ukip wins these European elections (as polling suggests) then it will be the first political party to do so without any Westminster representation.

That would be one hell of an achievement; one that would severely shake the political establishment. But is it enough to help them with a Westminster breakthrough in 2015?

Whatever your political persuasion, you cannot ignore the rise of Ukip.

Whatever rivals or the media chuck at the party, it seems to have a minimal negative effect.

Accusations of racism, homophobia or corruption bounce off Ukip, and its poll ratings continue to rise.

You can conclude that either the views of some of their candidates are widely supported by people, or that the electorate is so hacked off with other parties that they are prepared to forgive the misdemeanours of some Ukip party members.

Either way, there is growing support for the party, and nothing seems to be stopping it.

Writing off Ukip as nothing more than a protest vote would be foolish.

I think the real test is still to come: the 2015 General Election.

There is more to people’s lives than just wanting a referendum on the EU.

Other parties are ideally placed to capitalise on this and Ukip certainly has a lot of work to do on policies beyond the EU.

Only then will we see if the party is truly a political force to be reckoned with.