Following the departure - yet again - of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage from its leadership, the motley assortment of wannabes, ranters and self-promotion specialists otherwise known as UKIP is once again casting around for someone to take charge. But following the referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, there is the problem that they got the result they wanted, and so the point of the organisation vanishes.
Worse, Steven Woolfe has now decided not only that he does not fancy another crack at the leadership, but he has left altogether, with his parting shot being a complaint to the Police that fellow MEP Mike Hookem assaulted him in the now-infamous incident at the European Parliament which left Woolfe in hospital (a visit for which our membership of the EU paid). Those left scrabbling for the leadership should stop and think.
But that isn’t going to happen: on they all plough, oblivious to the real elephant in the room, which is that UKIP has been courting financial disaster for some months now, and unless matters improve, they will make a success of the courtship. The Kippers are, let us not drive this one round the houses for too long, skint. Much more in-fighting and members drifting away, and they will be on the rocks - Game Over.
The prospect of monetary Armageddon is though to have contributed to Diane James throwing in the towel on being leader after just 19 days in the job. Now she and Woolfe have departed, the remaining contenders just reinforce the view that this is no more than a political freak show, kept on the road like a malignant zombie, dead except for its past momentum and existing only as a slice of spectator sport.
Consider some of the candidates: Paul Nuttall, supposedly a man of the people, but in reality another bigot masquerading as honest broker, all the time peddling his Pub-Landlord-Meets-Alexei-Sayle shtick and getting terribly worked up over not very much. Were he to stand for elective office on his native Merseyside, he would end up being humiliated. But he would provide plenty of laughs.
Then there is Raheem “call me Ray” Kassam, who has been promoting himself assiduously, claiming that he is going to end the infighting, much of which he may well have caused in the first place. Were Kassam to win, this would be the very best outcome for those who consider it the right time for UKIP to be put out of its misery. He would almost certainly preside over the extinction of the Kippers.
All of which means that Woolfe’s claim - that UKIP is in a “death spiral” - is right on the money (whether Sterling or Euro). Nuttall would make the party a laughing stock, a parody of politics. Kassam would cause it to implode in a welter of ineptitude. Both would be aided immensely by a withdrawal of funding. So bring it on, and the sooner the better.
The age of UKIP was for a time, but certainly not for all time. As Mrs T once said, just rejoice at that news.