While Henry Bolton, the current comedy leader of the motley convocation of saloon bar propper-uppers otherwise known as UKIP, considers his future as well as the strong possibility that his CV should be reclassified as fiction, there seems to be, despite the party staring imminent bankruptcy in the face, no shortage of hopefuls ready to take on the leadership. And one of those hopefuls is Bill Etheridge.
Bill Etheridge. He isn't a racist. Much
Etheridge first made a name for himself pretending that it was OK for him and his then wife to pose for the camera holding golliwog dolls. That minor transgression got them both thrown out of the Tory Party, which is quite an achievement. But this was a mere hors d’oeuvre for the much more substantial entrée which was served up when that same wife caught Bill deviating from the marital straight and narrow.
Much was made by our free and fearless press of the fact that his wife was disabled, while single mum Lorraine Chew was not. The latter’s social media postings were trawled and splashed all over the papers, she was doorstepped, that was splashed all over the papers, he confirmed he and his wife had separated, he stated that he and Ms Chew were engaged, and then she made a most unwelcome discovery.
Yes, it can get worse than having him in charge
“A Ukip leadership candidate is embroiled in a sordid row with his former fiancée, who claims he had a Viagra-fuelled affair … Bill Etheridge was branded a ‘dirty, disgusting cheat’ by Lorraine Chew in an extraordinary Twitter outburst … She published a picture of a half-empty packet of Viagra which she said she found in the West Midlands MEP’s car … Claiming it proved infidelity, the 40-year-old wrote: ‘Somebody is going to be very sorry.’” told the Mail, trying not to get too righteous at the news.
This bizarre event also had the Mail telling its readers “Mr Etheridge, 46, denies being unfaithful to Miss Chew. He released a statement last night saying he had reported her to the police for breach of privacy … His spokesman insisted the engagement was broken off three months ago, although relations had been ‘rekindled’ at some points since”.
So that’s the family audience alienated in one, just because Bill Etheridge wanted to avail himself of a Fuller Erection (geddit?!?). And despite this less than stellar back story, he has decided that leading UKIP would be A Very Good Thing, with BBC Midlands Today telling “The West Midlands MEP Bill Etheridge says he will stand as UKIP Leader if Henry Bolton is sacked”. How he will stand is not explained (geddit?!?).
Sadly for those diehard Kippers who are still clinging on to the notion that UKIP is anything more than a one-man band for Nigel “Thirsty” Farage which is now no more than an out-of-control clown car, the small matter of a £650,000 legal bill could render Etheridge’s challenge moot - and money would in any case continue to be a problem, as all those MEPs who were caught fiddling their expenses have had their salaries stopped.
Swapping one clown for another is not going to improve UKIP’s credibility, or its future prospects. After all, that’s what it did when Bolton succeeded Paul Nuttall. It will be no different if Bill Etheridge becomes leader. Except there will be more Viagra jokes.