Back to those election results. It is worth remembering that UKIP is the only party that has actually achieved its stated election aim - a hung parliament. Without UKIP's intervention the number of Conservative MPs might have been higher (though David Cameron's decision not to honour his "cast-iron guarantee" to hold a referendum on the Lisbon Treaty might well have kept the voters in question away from the polling booths anyhow) and the party would have had a majority.
Lord Pearson of Rannoch has a letter [second one down] in today's Daily Telegraph in which he explains why this is a good achievement and how it came about:
SIR – Your report "How Ukip cost Tories a clear majority" (May 8) lets David Cameron off lightly.Next time round is unlikely to be too far away in the future.
Last June, and twice since, he refused Ukip's offer to stand aside and help the Conservatives win the general election, in return for a binding referendum on our EU membership. This guarantee would have been in the open for months, would have been in the Conservative manifesto, and on its own would have given the Conservatives a comfortable majority.
In the event, we did not stand against a few Eurosceptic Conservative candidates in very marginal seats, whom we wanted also to help. Mr Cameron ordered four of them not to be seen in public with me but we helped them anyway in varying degrees, with leaflets and support in their local press. They averaged an increase of 10,000 votes each, with 50 per cent of the turnout and an eight per cent swing in their favour.
Mr Cameron threw the election away because he would not honour his promise to hold a referendum on Lisbon "whatever the outcome of the negotiations". Dare we hope that Mr Cameron has learned his lesson for next time round?