A bad week for UKIP

hemicycleIt’s not been a good week for UKIP.

First of all, they lost one of their MEPs.    Mike Nattrass from the West Midlands announced he had left UKIP, saying that Nigel Farage’s leadership of the party was “totalitarian”:

He’s the third of their Euro MPs to go since the last European elections, following the departures of Nikki Sinclaire and Marta Andreasen.

In case you’re counting, that’s a quarter of their representation. To slightly misquote Oscar Wilde: “To lose one MEP may be regarded as a misfortune; to lose 25% looks like carelessness!”

So far, so bad, and UKIP could have done without Yorkshire MEP Godfrey Bloom adding to his long list of political gaffes, showing he couldn’t tell one Channel 4 journalist from another, mistaking Economics Editor Faisal Islam for Krishnan Guru-Murphy, whose probing questions had caused Bloom to walk out of a live interview.

Meanwhile, the original founder of UKIP, Dr Alan Sked, announced his new anti-European party, “New Deal”.

In his words, UKIP had “gone native inside Brussels” with its MEPs taking money and expenses from the EU, but he claimed: “they don’t do anything.”

Many of us have been making the same point for some time!

But it’s not just the MEPs who are having a difficult time.

In Lincolnshire, they were on a high, following huge electoral gains in the County Council elections in May.  But an involved, and pretty tawdry saga of alleged racism, non-existent party discipline and naked political ambition has led to a split in the 16 strong UKIP group on the County Council.

There is now an official UKIP group, and a separate “UKIP Lincolnshire” Group, and they have lost their “official opposition” status on the council to Labour.

As the saying goes: “It’s hard to make predictions – especially about the future,” and UKIP may well have further electoral successes in local councils and maybe in next year’s European elections.  There is no doubt they have struck a chord with many Tory voters.

But success at the polls has a price.  UKIP can expect to be examined far more closely by their opponents, by the media, and ultimately by the electorate.

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