As if the motley convocation of saloon bar propper-uppers otherwise known as UKIP had not enjoyed enough controversy - much of it self-inflicted, and almost all of it damaging - in the last few weeks, they have now embarked on a course of action not dissimilar to the behaviour of the old Liberal Party in the years following the end of the Great War - the factionalism and in-fighting that almost destroyed the party for good.
It was hard to reconcile the wreckage of the Liberals in 1924, reduced to just 42 MPs, with the image of the party that had been in Government for so many years earlier in the century. But when the self-destructive urge takes hold, it can be difficult to shake off, and the Kippers gave us another demonstration today as news emerged that they had decided to act on the rantings of long-term backer Arron Banks - by kicking him out.
Banks, who has been on a flight to Atlanta - no doubt at the upmarket end of the plane - has told “Apparently my comments about the party being run like a squash club committee and Mr Carswell have not gone down well. I realise I was being unfair to squash clubs all over the UK, and I apologise to them. We will concentrate on our new movement. Over and out” in response to the news he’d been binned.
New movement? Is he having bowel problems? Not according to the HuffPo: “A source close to Banks told Huff Post UK the Bristol-based multimillionaire was now ‘100%’ certain to start his own party … Banks’s right-hand man Andy Wigmore told Huff Post UK: ‘They chucked him out for bringing the party into disrepute’ … He added that the ‘Carswell wing of the party’ supported Banks being suspended”.
So that would be the part of the party that has actually been elected to Parliament, unlike Banks’ pal Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, who has tried several times and failed. What, then, is Banks’ new party going to be like? What, for instance, will it be called? According to the Guardian, “[Banks] also described his new movement on Tuesday as ‘Ukip 2.0, the Force Awakens’, although it is unlikely to use the Ukip name. He has previously suggested it could be called the ‘Patriotic Alliance’”. Ah, the last refuge of the scoundrel.
What does Banks believe he and Mr Thirsty will gain by splitting a party that was already riven with in-fighting and populated with has-beens, rejects and oddballs? The Guardian again: “Discussions of membership now appear academic. Both Banks and Farage have been buoyed in their ambition to establish a new populist movement in part by the confidence they have gained from high level access to Donald Trump’s administration in Washington”. That might not be such a good place to start.
The Combover Crybaby and his coterie are not having an easy time of it Stateside, with the revelations about Trump’s Russia connections continuing to dog the 45th President of the United States. The possibility of impeachment hovers over his administration like an armed drone which could wipe the lot of them out at any time.
But all the credible alternative homes for those voters wanting to desert the sinking UKIP ship will be all too pleased to welcome them, while enjoying another slice of excellent spectator sport. The age of UKIP was for a time, but not for all time.