Following a week in which Paul Nuttall lost his by-election in Stoke-on-trent, UKIP’s main donor millionaire Aaron Banks voices feud with Douglas Carswell and the leadership was once again brought into question, is UKIP falling apart?
Following the climax of the referendum result and having an elected MP, UKIP seem to be desperately searching for the political morning after pill, struggling to stay relevant. Could it be that the recent examples of disunity display the fact that UKIP have served their purpose as a political pressure group and will no longer have influence within British politics.
It is certainly true that it has been hard for UKIP since the referendum result. Following the two leadership elections, one punch up and a few routine racist scandals, the United Kingdom Independence Party seem to have struggled to stay out of the media as well as finding an identity to appeal to the electorate. The two most recent threat to the wave of support that UKIP were on, have been the controversy surrounding Paul Nuttall and his constant efforts to appeal to the working class throughout his campaign for the Stoke-on-Trent by-election as well as the doubts surrounding his leadership.
Paul Nuttall seemed so desperate to seem normal that he came across positively monstrous through his lies and deception, particularly surrounding the Hillsborough disaster. Lying about being close to people killed in the Hillsborough disaster is manipulative enough, but the whole UKIP machine seems to be crafted around a structure of deceit and backstabbing. UKIP’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, has been royally stitched up by the party’s establishment as Nigel Farage acts as the media spokesman and Aaron Banks, the main donor of the party, has his own ambitions. Mr Banks recently said “Even though it’s not legally binding, we might approach the voters of Clacton and say, ‘Look, for these reasons we think Douglas Carswell should be recalled’. And that would be a neat idea, because it would be using his own idea against him.”
He also said “When it comes to Mr Carswell, bear in mind how much effort we put into the Stoke campaign, and how much effort he put into stopping us. Even when Nigel stood down in Thanet, we know that he provided election data to the Tories. He has been a very disreputable person and I intend to take him on.”
UKIP is so divided is can no longer claim to put forward a united front representing conservative opinion in Britain. In my opinion this does not however mean that UKIP are in threat of become completely irrelevant as there will always be a need for far right opinion within Britain. Up until reasonably recently UKIP have been the minor populist party, almost acting as a definition of a single-issue party. Although I believe that the divisions I have detailed do pose a threat to electability, I still think that the role UKIP played as a force of pressure and lobby can be maintained within modern British politics.
After a reasonably serious blog here is a link to Al Murray (the pub landlord) setting out his manifesto, standing in South Thanet at the last election, for the FUKP (Free the UK Party).