After his loose-tongued rant to the joke paper that is the Express demonstrated to anyone interested that UKIP has descended into bitter infighting in the aftermath of yet another unsuccessful attempt to win a Parliamentary by-election, inexplicably rich slob Arron Banks might have been expected to hold his tongue and avoid damaging the party even further. But that expectation was clearly misplaced, and Banks has been at it again.
This time, he has given an interview to the Independent, a publication which, unlike the Express, is not given to fawning support for the Kippers. For this reason alone, Banks would have been best advised to either bodyswerve the exercise, or at least make some preparation and adopt a more measured tone. But he was having none of it: for the Indy, he was signalling nothing less than a declaration of war.
There was only one problem in this approach: Banks was declaring war on his own party. Think about that for a minute. UKIP is already riven with factionalism. The print, broadcast and online media is becoming more forensic, more sceptical, less prepared to take the glib talk and constant stream of lies. Leader Paul Nuttall has swiftly been reduced to a figure of ridicule. UKIP is nothing more than a repository for disgruntled Tory bigots.
And what has emerged from Banks’ interview as the key finding, the killer headline? Look no further than the Mail: “Ukip leader Paul Nuttall is `weak´, says party backer Arron Banks”. Nuttall is scheduled to appear before the inquisition of the host on The Andy Marr Show (tm) tomorrow morning, and UKIP’s main paymaster has just given Marr the ideal attack line. On top of that is Banks’ delusional view of the possible.
When he said of UKIP “It needs to be fit for purpose now. It’s run like a squash club committee and that needs to stop. What I’ve said to Ukip is that if you professionalise yourself, get organised, imagine what you could achieve. It was a plea to get in there, modernise, radicalise”, Banks failed totally to understand that UKIP is a shambolic mess because it’s populated by shambolic rejects who are uniformly beyond redemption.
His belief that Nigel “Thirsty” Farage can be any use unless he’s allowed to head the party and run it as his personal plaything is equally delusional: “Nigel especially wants wants to see Ukip go forward. He’s become very frustrated with the way it’s run, the structures … We have to re-engage Nigel positively, in the same way Salmond has been re-engaged with the SNP”. But Farage is already too busy promoting Himself elsewhere.
The reality is that Banks’ plans will see UKIP lose its only MP - with no prospect of getting another - and possibly damaging its presence in Wales (he is, rightly, unhappy about having Neil “A liar and a cheat” Hamilton on board). He has no chance of Paul Nuttall becoming a credible leader. His party’s talking heads excel only in one area - lying through their teeth. And now he’s declared war - on that same party.
All it needs now is for the idea of leaving the EU to go horribly wrong - something which looks increasingly likely, and UKIP has no control over that whatsoever. Arron Banks wants to hear the stirring refrain of good patriotic songs, but instead is likely to hear an early 1960s instrumental played over the party’s wreckage - Wipeout!