I DIDN’T recognise Rob Merrick’s superficial portrait of Nigel Farage in his column (Echo, Apr 25).

Nigel may like the odd pint, he may not bother to hide his dislike of many in the House of Commons, but to present him as someone who isn’t capable of delivering a sound economic policy is something which his worst enemies have never accused him of before.

Nigel tends to have an aversion to hypocrisy and so, unfortunately, tends not to worry how his flippant remarks can sometimes be selected by journalists to paint an unfair portrait of him.

He is a brilliant communicator who knows his stuff and is a good leader. It’s the party and its manifesto which should matter – not gossip about its leader.

Ukip is made up of a small army of excellent policy makers. It is not a one-man band.

I once pointed out to Nigel that I would vote Ukip even if Mickey Mouse was the leader, simply because only Ukip can see something wrong with handing over British democratic powers to the ghastly EU.

Charlotte Bull, Darlington.

UKIP is not only providing an alternative choice for the electorate in tomorrow’s council elections, but is providing an alternative target for the sniping of the Conservatives, Liberal and Labour parties.

It certainly appears that the Conservatives, in particular, are spending more time vetting the Ukip candidate list than their own.

In fact, less than a half of one per cent of Ukip’s 1,700 plus candidates have been under the spotlight for the wrong reason.

Are the mainstream parties losing their nerve? Ken Clarke (a man who, by his own admission, has never read the Maastricht Treaty) condemns a party committed to withdrawing from Europe and ultimately tearing up that treaty and derides anyone who would vote Ukip as clowns.

This typifies the contempt that politicians hold for the public.

Ukip is the new boy in the quirky world of politics. It is a compliment that it has got so many politicians worried so soon.

Colin Mortimer, Pity Me.