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How the Ukip poll bubble keeps on growing its influence in Scottish politics

THE Ukip bubble seems indestructible.

It grows and grows and grows.

As Nigel Farage, the "bloke from the pub who went to Strasbourg", tours the country, including Scotland, in his club tie and double-breasted blazer, controversy after controversy blows up around him, yet fails to sink the indefatigable anti-EU party leader.

Polls suggest Ukip will do very well on May 22, potentially even taking a seat in Scotland.

The support comes despite a slew of negative headlines for what has been dubbed the British Tea Party.

Earlier this week Sanya-Jeet Thandi, Ukip's 21-year-old rising star, left the party complaining it had descended into "racist populism" amid a series of controversies.

Last month, William Henwood, a Ukip candidate resigned from the party after saying comedian Lenny Henry should emigrate to a "black country".

In April, David Wycherley, another Ukip candidate, was embroiled in controversy after suggesting Mo Farah, the double Olympic gold medallist, was not British because he was an "African from Somalia".

And on Thursday, the party was embroiled in yet another race row after it emerged Heino Vockrodt, one of its candidates, described Islam as a "totalitarian ideology", which was "against everything modern Britain stands for".

In September MEP Godfrey Bloom also quit the party after he was censured by Ukip for joking that female party activists were "sluts" who did not clean behind their fridges.

Mr Farage has sought to brush aside concerns about some Ukip figures, many now ex-Ukip, saying "there will always be a few people who creep over the line".

Earlier this month he was pictured with black and Asian candidates in a bid to show the party was not racist.

David Cameron, who at first ignored Ukip, claiming it was made up of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists", has lately been desperately trying to woo back Tories flirting with the party.

The PM has also been forced to underscore his commitment to an in/out EU referendum in 2017.

Despite the political turbulence, the predictions remain that the anti-Brussels party will, on a UK-wide count, come out on top next week, piling more pressure on the Prime Minister by both emboldening Tory Eurosceptics and encouraging the Yes to independence campaign to highlight the march of right-wing politics south of the Border.

Yet, if, as Ukip claims it will, the party takes a seat in Scotland, then this will throw a curve ball into the independence debate.

Mr Farage has argued that Ukip getting one, or even two, Scottish MEPs, would kill stone dead any suggestion that Scottish values are somehow different from English ones.

The party leader has insisted such an outcome would boost the No vote; some in the Better Together campaign might beg to disagree.

But it could temper the SNP's argument about the growing divergence of politics on either side of the Border.

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