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Don't see the need for independence? How about UK Deputy Prime Minister Nigel Farage?

This week, 500 million people across 28 member states went (or at least had the chance to go) to the polls to elect their Members of the European Parliament.

As a fun fact, Scotland is one of the last European countries to declare our results, given no-one starts counting until all polls EU-wide have closed and the Western Isles do not count on the Sabbath.

So, unlike our friends in England and Wales, we will need to wait until tomorrow morning to see who Scotland has chosen to represent us in Brussels. It is early days, and I hope that I will get back myself but also with all my heart hope that I'll be joined in Brussels by the SNP's Tasmina Ahmed Sheikh, a bright, articulate Scots Asian woman who fought a great campaign and is the living embodiment of everything Ukip stands against.

I've been a close watcher of Ukip during the 10 years I've spent in the European Parliament, and I've watched them growing and learning. England had local elections on Thursday and we do know the results there. Ukip's breakthrough south of the Border underlines the dangers for Scotland of remaining under the Westminster system.

It is clear Ukip took votes from all points of the political compass across England. From the Tories especially, but also from Labour, spectacularly in Rotherham, a town I know reasonably well, where anyone with a red rosette could previously have been pretty confident of getting in.

This matters, because timing is everything in politics. Westminster MPs do not give two hoots about Scotland's referendum in September; their eyes are on their own seats and the Westminster election next year. And the people giving lots of MPs bother are Ukip.

In the last few weeks a little-noticed poll commissioned by LBC, a London radio station, found that 75% of Tory voters favour a pact with Ukip for the next election. Tory MPs such as Douglas Carswell and Jacob Rees-Mogg have openly called for a pact. For the wretched LibDems to be replaced by Ukip in government is an appalling prospect.

Whatever else may be said about Ukip, I do know they want to privatise the NHS, cut back on employment rights, confine women to the kitchen, outlaw equal marriage and (until recently) shut down Holyrood.

We don't need to make them cartoon bogeymen, their policies are scary enough. Whether or not they are ever a party of government, they now hold the balance of power in umpteen English councils. Think of the impact the Tea Party has had on the US government, not by being the government, but by terrifying an out-of-touch, discredited and uninspiring elite on all sides of the floor.

The UK's own out-of-touch, uninspiring and discredited elite - our Westminster front benches - are going to react. They think they can out-Ukip Ukip, much as I would gently point out they can't. Immigration, attitudes to the EU and human rights have all played their part in Ukip's success, and where we have already seen an influence on government and opposition policy on these issues, we'll shortly see a stampede to the right.

We do things differently in Scotland. Immigration here is a different issue. We celebrate and promote human and workers' rights. I don't kid myself we love the EU any more than anyone else, but poll after poll shows we lack the visceral hatred of it and it is less of a priority. Besides, how can anyone be against independence in Europe - we've never tried it.

We will find out Scotland's results tomorrow. But we know Ukip have won a wheen of seats south of the Border. And we are, at least for now, represented in the EU and wider world by the UK ministers. David Cameron and Nick Clegg presume to speak for us. Ed Miliband wants to. I don't think this weekend they're thinking about us, I think they're working out how to pander to Ukip's agenda, and I don't think that's happening in Scotland. You don't think September's vote is urgent? You do now.

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