Author Archive

Stijn van Kessel

Stijn van Kessel is Lecturer in Politics at Loughborough University and Alexander von Humboldt Foundation Postdoctoral Fellow at the Heinrich-Heine-Universität Düsseldorf, Germany. He is the author of the recently published monograph ‘Populist Parties in Europe: Agents of Discontent?’ (Palgrave Macmillan).

Coverage and analyses of the recent British general election of 7 May have focused predominantly on the surprise victory of the Conservatives, the poor showing of Labour, and the close to clean sweep of the Scottish National Party (SNP). The performance of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), meanwhile, was generally perceived to be disappointing for the party of Nigel Farage. Indeed, it has been argued that, despite the high expectations of the past years, UKIP fell well short of causing a ‘Purple Revolution’. At the end of 2014 the party were trending at around 20 per cent in several opinion polls with some excitable elements in the media claiming the party could win as many as 40 seats in the general election. Given this narrative was just six months before the election, their final result of just one seat compounded the apparent failure of Farage’s ‘People’s Army’ to mobilise.