By Prof Colin Rallings: ITV News Political Analyst
The results from the overnight local election counts are now almost all in.Ukip are rightly seizing the headlines, but the trend towards four-party politics means there are different patterns of support in different parts of the country.
London so far has been a throwback to the more straightforward era when the Conservatives and Labour went head-to-head unchallenged by other parties.
Labour has made the gains in councils and seats which are expected from an opposition a year ahead of a general election; both Labour and the Tories have eaten in to areas where the Lib Dems have built up a challenge in recent years. And of UKIP there is so far no significant sign.
Only a few miles east of the capital it is a different story though. No fewer than 4 councils in Essex have seen big UKIP gains with the party claiming official opposition status in Basildon.
The party's success outside London has been at the expense of both Labour and Conservative councillors, but it is Labour which is at most danger of not meeting pre-election expectations.
Ed Miliband's party would expect to be picking up support in seats last contested on the same day as its 2010 general election humiliation.
It is doing so in some places, but the pattern is patchy and insufficient voters seem prepared to switch back to the party. Indeed its share of the vote is less than it was at the 2012 local elections where comparisons can be made.
The Conservatives will have been prepared to take their punishment as the party of government. Their losses will be at the top of end of forecasts thanks to UKIP's success, but holding on against Labour in places like Swindon and Tamworth suggests they will not be rolled over at next year's crucial contest.
Their coalition partners, however, are suffering their fourth successive local election thumping. It is true that the Lib Dem vote has held up in some of the areas where they have MPs well-entrenched, but not in others.
In Cambridge they lost out to Labour; in Kingston upon Thames to the Conservatives; and in Portsmouth to UKIP.