I think UKIP is entertaining for the sheer amount of frustration they cause from well meaning but slightly naive people.
UKIP is just a reflection of an overall attitude from the general populace. People are fed up with gradually worsening conditions which the current main parties don’t care about fixing, so it is only natural that UKIP will accumulate votes. Their existence is a good thing. They are not in danger of gaining any real power because for better or worse our first-past-the-post voting system punishes small parties, but they have value in that their growing support will put pressure on the main parties to smarten up their act. If the choice for a disgruntled voter is between not voting and voting for UKIP, it is better that they vote for UKIP because this directly pressures the main parties by strengthening their rivals.
It’s perhaps slightly unexpected that Labour appears to be bleeding votes to UKIP, but it’s not a bad thing. Ed Miliband is unelectable and the fact that Labour hasn’t got rid of him well before now is indicative of just how complacent they are. I think the problem is much deeper than Ed: there is nobody in the cabinet who makes a convincing leadership candidate; all of the top spots in labour belong to people who are lacklustre (with the possible exception of Alan Johnson, but he still isn’t a leader). The more that Nigel Farage eats away at Labour’s support, the more likely they are to get the message that they need to kick out most of their top spots.
I don’t think that UKIP really holds a serious chance of gaining any power. Most of their candidates are mentally challenged and Farage is a right wing libertarian type who certainly does not have anyone’s interests but his own at heart. He is not the friend of most of his voters. Should UKIP begin gaining real power this will become very obvious and start working against them. I think they will be a self limiting problem.
British politcs at the moment suffers from a lack of competition which has lead to to complacency and stagnation. Nigel Farage is the most convincing option for changing things around; don’t drive him away just yet.