I rather surprised myself last night by staying up late to watch the results of the European election being announced. Not all of them - I couldn't face staying up that late, and besides, the political pundits employed to analyse and comment on the results started to get on my nerves. But I kept at it until a quarter past midnight. By then it was apparent that across Europe there had been a swing towards the Euro-sceptic parties of both the left and the right. In France, the far right Front National is expected to have the most MEPs with over 20 likely to be elected. In Greece, the far left held sway, while in Germany it was still the centrist pro-Europe parties that proved the more popular.
Here in Britain we elected 73 representatives across nine regions under a proportional representation scheme. In total, there were candidates from no fewer than 30 political parties and groups, including such oddities as the Pirate Party, the National Health Action Party and Yorkshire First. The party with the fewest votes was Liberty GB with just under 2,500 votes - 0.02% of the total poll, but the party with the greatest share of the vote - 27.5% - was UKIP, the UK Independence Party. Their stance is for the UK to withdraw completely from the European Union, no ifs or buts, just out. The Liberal Democrats, who are almost fanatically pro-Europe, lost all but one of their MEPs.
I suspect that this result will not be repeated in the general election next year but it will be interesting to see how the main parties react to this shot across the bows.