Over the last week or so, I’ve been reading lots of articles, along with the comments on UKIP Daily, trying to make sense of what’s happening with our Party and what might or should happen next. The more I learn about the goings on within UKIP, the more complicated and depressing it becomes – wheels within wheels. As a mere member and branch secretary, not close to the movers and shakers, this is difficult to make out.
Tomasz Slivnik’s NEC resignation letter and latest essay makes interesting, if disturbing, reading and I recommend all members and supporters to read it. UKIP seems to be run like a banana republic by a clique around the leader.
These are my conclusions, at least from my limited knowledge at this moment in time:
I don’t believe Nigel Farage has any intention of relinquishing control of UKIP. Brexit should mean Brexit, but resignation doesn’t necessarily mean resignation. Farage built the party, and much of the UKIP brand is wrapped up with his personality. Perhaps he regards UKIP as his party to do what he pleases with. Now that he realises how much money he can make on the US lecture circuit and being a campaign advisor to the likes of Donald Trump, he may wish to delegate the job of day-to-day leadership. That doesn’t mean he’s letting go.
And why did Diane James resign the leadership after only 18 days? Didn’t she want to be leader? James appears to have been persuaded by Farage to stand at the last minute. Perhaps she realised she wouldn’t be allowed to be her own woman. Perhaps she realised that UKIP was broke and, without Farage’s media attention, was heading for oblivion. What exactly did that letter she was asked to sign say? Did it say she would have to respect the NEC? Maybe she really was just freaked-out by the bitter leftist hatred. Then again, she has backed out twice before, making her a serial flake. Maybe it was all a ruse to bring Farage back as leader ….
Steven Woolfe was first to throw his hat in the ring following James’ resignation. He was Farage’s anointed successor in the last race until, as the story goes, the NEC “blocked” his nomination on the “technicality” that he missed the deadline. I have come to the conclusion that he was dumped by Farage, possibly due to the awkwardness of his previously undeclared conviction. James was persuaded to stand at the last minute, before Woolfe’s nomination was submitted late by an employee of Farage’s buddy Nathan Gill, who had been delegated for the task. It was then cleverly spun to discredit the NEC. If Woolfe were in the know as a member of the “in” crowd, why would he have been considering defecting to the Tories until the surprise opportunity presented by James’ resignation? And we only know that he was involved in a punch-up because someone from UKIP briefed the press – a persistent UKIP problem. Sadly most of our bad press seems to originate from inside the Party itself …
Paul Nuttall would be a fantastic leader. He’s a great public speaker, talks sense and can communicate with the northern English working class voters we want to win over … except he hasn’t put himself forward. I presume he didn’t stand in the last leadership election due to pressure brought to bear behind the scenes. Elizabeth Jones said at the hustings that he didn’t think it was the right time, suggesting there might be a right time. My sources tell me he’s backing Suzanne Evans this time. That’s crazy. We want Nuttall, not Evans. Evans is so unpopular with the pro-Farage wing of the party that she doesn’t stand a chance of being elected. Perhaps Nuttall has seen what being the leader of UKIP entails and he doesn’t fancy it. Why did he step down from the deputy leadership and leave UKIP rudderless when he didn’t have to? Perhaps he knows what’s coming – UKIP going bust, bitter warfare between the Faragista and NEC factions – and has chosen to sit out. It’s strange, isn’t it, this reluctance of key figures in the party to take on the leadership at this juncture!
I have to say I’m not a fan of Douglas Carswell, or his allies. Rumours have even come out recently that Carswell cynically joined UKIP to neutralise the “toxic” Farage. Like most conspiracy theories, this is somewhat fanciful. However, he couldn’t have done more to damage and split UKIP if he had tried. The narrative that he has somehow taken control of the NEC to thwart Farage doesn’t stack up though: that’s more spin. He’s only one of 12 NEC members who are elected by the membership. My main objection is that, to the Carswellites, the purpose of UKIP seems to be just the conscience of dry Toryism.
This is not the great opportunity which I saw revealed in the results that morning of the 24th June – the opportunity to supplant the traitorous champagne socialist Labour party and become the official HM Opposition by appealing to the traditional working class in the north of England, the Midlands and Wales, opposing globalism, open-door immigration, islamisation and self-destructive PC ideology with a pro-democratic, pro-national and cultural pride, pro-common-sense message which shifts the centre of political gravity in the UK to the right of the Conservatives!
I would love to see a UKIP going for that opportunity, with a fearless, articulate and charismatic leader, well-funded, with a professional 21st century organisation with strong internal democracy, and becoming a mass movement recruiting the disenfranchised sectors of the electorate who voted for Brexit!
Sadly that doesn’t seem to be on offer.
So what might happen next?
Maybe, as Tomasz Slivnik hinted, UKIP goes bankrupt in the next few weeks. I might then predict that Farage & Banks declare they’re setting up a new party along the lines of Beppe Grillo’s Five Star Movement in Italy, as they’ve been talking about for a while. Arron Banks might be happy to fund it and, as my mother likes to say, “He who pays the piper calls the tune.” This new party might be an energetic mass movement, the British manifestation of an alternative right wave sweeping the Western world – but with no internal democracy. It is essentially the leader’s personal fiefdom and any dissenters are swiftly expelled – just like Five Star. UKIPpers are left with the option of going along with the Nigel Farage Fan Club or sticking with the broke, ignored and increasingly irrelevant former party.
The Faragistas however seem to understand the historic opportunity which presents itself to us while the Carswellites seem to want to stifle it. I’d have to back Farage & Banks to achieve the objective of UKIP becoming HM Opposition. Once that was achieved, I’d then I’d have to re-evaluate the situation because, the way they run UKIP, God help us if Farage & his mates were to run the country this way!