The excuses for UKIP’s failure to win the Stoke on Trent Central by-election have been coming thick and fast, and there was no thicker or faster presence than the party’s deputy leader Peter Whittle (who?) fetching up on The Andy Marr Show (tm) and claiming that there was no problem, Paul Nuttall was going to remain leader, and that his being absent elsewhere was nothing to do with his taking his bat home after losing, no sirree.
Farage and Banks - taking their bats home
Whittle was in that corridor of delusion that so many in UKIP seem to inhabit so enthusiastically, claiming that Nuttall’s going off on “a trip” was usual in the aftermath of a by-election, that the electorate did not know him well enough (baloney), whined about the personal attacks on Nuttall (which he richly deserved for his dishonesty), and seemed to actually believe that the party is “more united than ever”.
Just how delusional this is can be seen from the antics of former Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his pal, Kipper paymaster Arron Banks. Farage took his bat home from the Stoke campaign when he discovered Lisa Duffy, who passed severely adverse comment on him, was running the show - so much for unity. Mr Thirsty has been giving more attention to his media career - over in the USA.
Nuttall - a useless joke figure
Banks, after helping to derail Nuttall’s election effort by insulting the families of the Hillsborough victims, has now returned refreshed from his reassuringly expensive skiing holiday in non-EU Switzerland and decided to enact the modern-day equivalent of the Munich Beer-Hall Putsch. This will result either in UKIP becoming the party of Himself Personally Now, or not getting any more of his dosh.
This is what Banks told the joke paper that is the Sunday Express: “I am giving Paul Nuttall an ultimatum that either I become chairman and sort out Ukip by bringing in business people and professionals to make the party electable, or I am out of there … The party cannot continue to be run like a jumble sale … If Nuttall doesn't professionalise it and toss out the likes of Douglas Carswell, Suzanne Evans and the rest of the Tory cabal then the party is finished anyway”. Yes, that’s UKIP unity for you. And there was more.
Carswell - only UKIP MP now out of favour
“These dullards aren't bringing in Tory votes, Stoke proved that, so what are they for? The party now needs to bring in serious people to fix its ramshackle administration, stay relevant, and stay radical or it will die … From what I hear far from winning elections, Carswell's main concern is sabotaging Nigel's knighthood, which is why he must leave the party”. UKIP isn’t “radical”. It’s a rag-bag of opportunist bigots.
Back in that corridor of delusion, Peter Whittle responded to the prospect of Banks flouncing off by claiming that other backers would come forward. But who? Ms Duffy’s presence in Stoke - she’s supposed to be employed as an EU civil servant, which prohibits her working on non-EU related stuff - has been reported to the EU’s OLAF fraud unit. Nuttall could yet face criminal charges over his nomination papers. And it gets worse.
UKIP is rumoured to be in debt, with creditors becoming restless. Who would volunteer to take on all of that, just to have to put up with all the infighting? Farage is only concerned with self-promotion, Banks is a damaging loose cannon, Nuttall is a figure of fun, and the only thing they can all agree on is lying to the electorate. The UKIP party is almost over.