UKIP: why these election results matter - and why the political class will tell you they don't
A quip which has been doing the rounds on Twitter the last few days concerns the official projection of how many seats UKIP stands to win in Westminster next year, based on its stellar performance in the local and European elections.
The answer is a big fat zero.
No doubt it's a figure which will afford enormous comfort to the mainstream political class and their many friends in the mainstream media this morning as they strive to explain in various different clever ways why it is that last night's seismic election results across Europe mean nothing whatsoever.
In one way they are quite right: the European parliament is a fake parliament, none of whose elected members have any say on any issue that matters. (All the important decisions are taken by the unelected European Commission).
But in another way they couldn't be more wrong. The elections of the last few days mark the beginning of a revolution which will completely transform the face of politics across Europe and which will inevitably lead to the destruction of the European Union.
And this is mostly very good news, by the way, despite what you'll read on Twitter, hear on the BBC or read in the newspapers or get told by politicians. Sure they'll pay tribute - through gritted teeth - to the remarkable success of UKIP and Nigel Farage. But they'll also seek to distract from it by drawing attention to the victory of "far right" parties like Marine Le Pen's Front National in France and the growth of the fascistic Golden Dawn in Greece, a) in an attempt to sully UKIP with the racist tag by association and b) to create the impression that far from being something we should celebrate, these election results represent a flight from commonsense, decency and stability. "If you're going to indulge yourself with protest votes," the message will run, "Prepare to reap the tempest."
But in truth this tempest is entirely of the political class's making. If the mainstream politicians had done an even half way decent job of actually representing the interests of the people they supposedly serve, there'd be no call for all these protest votes, would there?
What these election results symbolise is the depth of disgust felt across Britain and through continental Europe at the remoteness, incompetence, complacency and dispiriting saminess of the political class (and its amen corner in the mainstream media, in the corporations, in the bureaucracy and the judiciary).
In Britain - until the arrival of UKIP forced them to sharpen up their act - there has been so little discernible difference between the three main parties they might just as well have renamed themselves LibLabCon. As for the European Union, it was never even designed to be democratically accountable, so it was always inevitable that one day its bluff would be called.
What are these election results are, above all, is a massive two fingers flicked by the people of Europe against the political masters who - if there were any justice - should be their political servants.