They say a week is a long time in politics. For the UK Independence Party, the last week must have felt as long as the 23 years in which they have existed. The new leader resigns on a Tuesday; two men throw their hat in the ring on Wednesday; one ends-up in hospital and suffers seizures after an altercation on the Thursday; and the remainder of the week has seen the men trade versions of events amid investigations by both the party and the European Parliament, in which the incident occurred. It’s fair to the say whichever way you look at it, there’s never a dull moment in UKIP.
As you would expect, the mainstream media are attempting to use this as a first draft for UKIP’s obituary and are willingly helping to contribute to its death knell. Fear not, Kippers, there’s no reason to suspect the party is a dead duck yet. Oh no, it’s only just starting to find its quack.
First of all, the internal investigation into the incident between Steven Woolfe and Mike Hookem needs to have a germane, logical and sensible conclusion. There are no witnesses to the incident, and it is a case of one man’s word against another, so the conclusion is: tell both men they have messed-up, give them a suspended suspension from the party, fine them EuroParl wages and ensure they apologise to each-other and the members of the party that they have let-down. Simple.
The next step is up to the members. They have to make sure they vote for the right candidate. In this instance, Woolfe or former party senior advisor Raheem Kassam is that person. Both are intelligent, both have the ability to speak well and crucially, they are firmly in the faction of the party that stands alongside – not against – Nigel Farage. There will never, ever, ever be a cat in hell’s chance that the pro and anti Farage factions will ever get along, so how does the party achieve unity?
Simple: remove that troublesome anti-Farage faction. And quick.
Those who stand against Farage are little more than petty, troublemaking Tory-Lites who threaten the party’s very existence whose own misdemeanours and foibles seem to slip underneath the radar of most recognised media outlets. I would be happy to bet that if Farage was currently Retweeting a mass of Tweets against the party’s only MP, Douglas Carswell, like Carswell has been about Farage, the BBC, ITV and Sky News outlets would pounce on it like a ravenous lion on a helpless gazelle. What the companies and people don’t like to admit is that Nigel Farage forced the Prime Minister to call a referendum he didn’t want to call, then campaigned tirelessly to win it, causing the resignation of the Prime Minister and the Chancellor who attempted vigorously to scare the electorate into going their way, and failed. If these people are left to control UKIP, then it might as well call it quits straightaway.
Whoever is leader, and goodness knows it needs to be Woolfe or Kassam, should then make a rallying call to the members, especially those who feel tempted to join or rejoin the Conservatives. Woolfe knows better than anyone that in the current political climate, it is tempting to join the Tories, as he was considering it before standing for leader and this infamous altercation. Tell the members that of course it makes sense to join the Tories with UKIP’s work seemingly done, but it isn’t. UKIP’s work is to ensure the Tories do not backslide on their promises and they deliver a Brexit that they and many of that 51.48% voted for. Call me cynical, but don’t you think they would like to tell many of us what we want to hear amid opinion poll Tory popularity, and amid the possibility of a snap General Election being called too? The Conservative Party simply want to take UKIP members along for the ride, and neutralise the party that forced its then-Prime Minister to call a referendum on the European Union that he didn’t want to call.
Don’t be stitched-up like a kipper – be a Kipper. And as one, ensure Britain frees itself from the shackles of European bureaucracy and stands on its own two feet, into the world like it ought to.