Published: 12:01, 27 May 2019
| Updated: 12:03, 27 May 2019
The return of Nigel Farage to the political frontline galvanised the EU election.
Like him or not, it is hard to dispute that Nigel Farage is a formidable politician who has the uncanny ability to connect with voters in a way rival politicians must privately envy.
In steering his new political vehicle to a decisive victory in the European elections barely six weeks after he launched it, he has demonstrated his guile and capacity to put the wind up other parties.
He has also reminded us of his capacity for headline making announcements: who would have thought just six weeks ago that the veteran Conservative Ann Widdecombe, the former MP for Maidstone, would declare her backing for his party?
Whether it was deliberate or coincidence, the decision to end his campaign in Rochester was a symbolic reminder that in its pomp Ukip under his leadership made-its long-awaited parliamentary breakthrough in a by-election triggered by the defection of Conservative Mark Reckless.
It is true that Theresa May’s announcement she is to resign in a matter of weeks may have diminished the impact the results of the EU poll might have had.
But it is a sign of his capacity to spook what he likes to call the establishment that leadership contenders in the race to become the next Prime Minister recognise that the Conservatives failure to deliver Brexit has played directly into his hands.
The Farage Factor is already playing into the debate between candidates.
It is worth pointing out, however, that, other than sitting in the European Parliament, he wields little power.
But he does have influence and it is influence that puts the mainstream parties on edge.
The Brexit Party sweeps to victory in the EU elections
There is the question of where the Brexit Party goes next and what impact it will have on domestic politics.
Today, he said the party is ready to take on the Tories and Labour in a General Election - and his assessment seems a greater possibility after these results.
Yet the party will need to come up with tangible policies outside its simple message on Britain leaving the EU.
Until today, Mr Farage had delivered a familiar soundbite short on specifics when asked about what else the Brexit Party stands for, insisting his mission is to reform the traditional model of politics and take on the establishment elite.
It is a refrain he used four years ago when he won as Ukip leader this same election.
What's the difference? He claims that the popular support for the Brexit Party is more than just a protest vote, saying that ordinary people are angry in a way they weren't before.
He is right about that but the anger is on both sides of the Brexit debate and while others talk about the need for compromise and consensus, he talks about the failure of other politicians to deliver what the people voted for and sees no problem with the cliff-edge Brexit scenario.
Putting himself back in the limelight has however lifted a few stones about the finances of the party and the alleged six-figure donation he received from the donor Aaron Banks.
He says he has done nothing wrong but EU officials say they want to investigate the matter.
The allegations have taken something of the gloss of his campaign but his supporters see it as just another attempt to undermine the man who speaks their language .
More by this authorPaul Francis