Stitched Up Like a Kipper: The Uncertain Fate of Ukip

Moving from the sublime to the ridiculous, the glory of the referendum victory to Stephen Woolfe’s exclusion from an increasingly fractious leadership election, the coming months without “Our Nige” will seemingly be make or break for Ukip.


Ukip: our old friends.  Sometimes referred to as a marmite party, a simile which fails to recognise the full range of condiments on offer. They may be far better described as close cousin vegemite; these purple patriots are far more detested than adored, and have already expressed strong support for an Australian-style points system.

Many people remember the Thursday evenings of old: Question Time and chill. A token Ukip representative would be on, but surely their radical rhetoric would fail to inspire any great constitutional reform. Then 23 June happened: triumph, glory, a victory speech from Farage…bloody hell he’s resigning. Panic.

Budding Wordsworth Steven Woolfe (Credit: Express)

Budding Wordsworth Steven Woolfe (Credit: Express)

Yet out of the ashes, a hero of the north emerged to rival Jon Snow. An heir presumptive to Nige, working-class Mancunian Steven Woolfe. His credentials were, by all sides of Ukip, lauded. A plucky bronze medal in Stockport during the 2015 General Election, garnering a massive 13% of the vote, demonstrating his powers of sway and persuasion over the northern voters he deeply understands. Moreover, he has demonstrated it is possible to re-enter the work-place after a criminal conviction, his drink-drive arrest iconising him as a man of the people. And what a poet too, to rival such literary titans as William Wordsworth and TS Eliot, his seminal yet untitled debut work displayed below:

“As the sun fell on Scapa Fell,

I heard the news and final death knell

Of England’s Beaten Heart.

Destroyed from within

By her own kith and kin,

Who sought to break it apart.

 

Free-born men and women should cry,

Why, oh why, oh why,

Have they imprisoned us with this sad lie?

Whole freedom, not part, is the only way,

To keep the forces of a despot away

And why so many were willing to die.

The poetic ingenuity of internally rhyming fell with fell, and the subtle yet visceral symbolism of England’s beaten heart identify him as a mouthpiece of our times, surely the best person to lead Ukip through the tough period ahead. Yet fate, or indeed Ukip’s NEC, conspired to rule him ineligible, symbolising the final death knell for Woolfe’s hopes. Luckily this has freed up time for him to work on his debut poetry collection.

So who did this leave? The names Diane James, Elizabeth Jones, Jonathan Arnott, Bill Etheridge, Lisa Duffy and Phillip Broughton are not, as it may seem, a home counties planning permission committee, but the contenders for the Ukip mantle. This contest has been fractious enough already, so I may have a suggestion to improve and speed along matters. Ukip describes itself as the “People’s Army”, so why not utilise the medium of middle England: the reality TV show?

The raconteur: Arron Banks (Credit: The Times)

The raconteur: Arron Banks (Credit: The Times)

Entitled White Britain’s got Talent, this show would be peak ITV2, with Arron Banks fulfilling the Simon Cowell role, hopefully without as many buttons undone, with Raheem Kassam presenting. Each figure would be judged week by week, before their futures are decided by rampant media coverage and the vagaries of public opinion. Possibly this election format is not as cutting edge as I thought…

Amongst the final 6 contestants, the favourite is undoubtedly Diane James, a woman whose intense distaste for Nicola Sturgeon is belied by an almost identical haircut. More in her good books is the strong, powerful nationalism of Vladimir Putin, whose attitude towards political dissidents will surely go down well with the libertarian faction of Ukip. Her advocacy of Putin’s invasion of the Crimea may well give a hint of her attitude towards Scottish independence, whilst her near miss in the 2013 Eastleigh by-election embodies the public’s love of a plucky loser.

It seems likely Bill Etheridge could come last; despite the outstanding slogan “Billieve in Bill”, the public failed to respond to his wit and charm, with his crowdsourcing campaign raising the princely sum of £8. However, this achievement should not be diminished, £8 being the average annual amount a Ukip voter believes they should pay in income tax. His principal policy suggestions have been the re-introduction of the death penalty, a position recently popularised by President Erdogan, and making 23 June a national holiday.

Jonathan Arnott or Sham 69 member? (Credit: IBTimes)

Jonathan Arnott or Sham 69 member? (Credit: IBTimes)

A possible dark horse may be Sheffielder Jonathan Arnott, who despite last appearing on our screens as a Russian football hooligan in Marseille is a former maths teacher and board-game enthusiast. His passion for the stations and utilities in Monopoly reflects his firm belief in the privatisation of public services, whilst his aggressive battles in Europe created an especially awkward game of Risk.

Elizabeth Jones seems to be the Lady Colin Campbell of the contestants, unknown and prone to angry outbursts. Her encounter with a TUSC representative led to a Britney 2007 era meltdown, which shows she is capable of shaking up the establishment. Finishing her diatribe with the curt statement “It ends now”, she may equally have been referencing the future of her political career.

A surprising contender is Lisa Duffy, who has bemoaned the death of political correctness, and wants a return to 1950s values. Presumably then her campaign will focus on the criminalisation  of homosexuality, return of national service, and rampant casual racism. However, her experience as manager of a TK Maxx demonstrates she would be extremely effective at working with a small budget.

The self-professed rising star of Ukip (Credit: The Gazette)

The self-professed rising star of Ukip (Credit: The Gazette)

But last, there is the legend, the showman, The One and Only Phillip Broughton, who resembles Alex Turner during his drunk Brits speech. Surely Broughton, the 40-1 odds undoubtedly a poor reflection of his class and affability, could be the man to lead Ukip to electoral success. As he says himself “I’m cleverer than you, I’m better looking than you, I’ve got more charisma than all of you could dream of, and of course the most important thing, I’ve got more money than any of you could possibly imagine”. These qualities propel Broughton to win White Britain’s Got Talent and perform the winners single, lyrics below in the style of Stephen Woolfe (lest we forget)-

Purple Reign:

I never meant to cause you to leave Brussels

I only hated the EU laws on mussels

I never wanted to be Bill Etheridge’s lover

I only wanted a bureaucratic cleanse.

Douglas, I would never steal you from another (but we did)

It’s such a shame we’ve left our European friends

 

Purple reign, Purple reign

Purple reign, Purple reign

Purple reign, Purple reign

I only want to see the UK in the purple reign

 

My country I know, I know, I know times are changing

It’s time we all take back control

Scotland, that means you too

You say you want a leader

And you’ve just made up your mind

I think you better close it

And let me guide you during the purple reign

 

Purple reign, Purple reign

Purple reign, Purple reign

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