There have been several party leadership contests in the UK since June 23rd, all vying for the title of greatest shit show ever, but I think the prize has to go to UKIP. Following the vote to leave the European Union and Nigel Farage’s resignation as leader of the party (third time and counting), UKIP were presented with his ideal replacement in Paul Nuttall and two decent standbys in Steven Woolfe and Suzanne Evans. UKIP managed to conspire to have none of those three as final candidates for the leadership, leaving a field of mostly hopeless seeming unknowns, even to political geeks and pundits, trying to take over from Farage.
This leaves one to wonder whether Farage resigned and then had some sort of hand, distant or otherwise, in keeping Nutall and co off the leadership short list. Perhaps he had nothing to do with it all and fate is simply calling. Either way, the stage now seems set for Nigel Farage to become UKIP leader – yet again.
The advantage for UKIP if this goes down is that Farage is both very well known and is a very good public speaker and media performer. The disadvantage is that everyone who likes Farage has already voted for UKIP – his return would give them no room for voter recruitment. Also, Nutall was so ideal because he was a working class northerner who would have pushed a Red UKIP line that could have opened up numerous seats to the party. Farage on the other hand is a southern ex-banker who is a libertarian at heart. He has no appeal to the voters in real potential UKIP seats. When he tries to talk about how dearly he cares about the NHS, it is the one time the normally straight talking Farage seems like he’s full of crap.
Perhaps I’m way off here on Farage’s return, and all Nige wants to do is swan around on Putinist propaganda outlets showing off his new porn ‘tache. But I think we should all brace ourselves for the return of Farage to the front line of British politics just in case it has any chance of happening.