By Ray Fleming

DAVID Cameron seemed rattled on the BBC’s Today programme yesterday.

That would be understandable had the outcome of the UK’s local and EU elections been unexpected but in fact that they had been quite accurately predicted. The prime minister’s most striking comment was his description of Nigel Farage as a "consummate politician with big expenses claims and a wife on the public pay role pretending to ne a normal bloke down the pub." It was all, he said, "supremely tactical", but did not say what was wrong with that.

Boris Johnson was much more interesting yesterday in his reaction to the anti-EU polling throughout Europe. Typically picturing it all as "a kind of peasants’ revolt with pitchfork wielding populists converging on Brussels" he also said he believed that the negative polling would help Mr Cameron in his negotiations for the reform of the EU to which he is committed before holding a referendum (if he is still in office) in 2017. But the general reading of the EU polling in major EU members like Germany, Italy and Spain has not seen it as negative as in, say, France, where it probably reflects national as well as EU concerns. About the next election Mr Cameron said yesterday it would be "a really tough struggle to win but still a possibility". Wisely, Labour’s Ed Miliband is keeping his counsel for a while.