Shropshire Star comment: UKIP could become a mere footnote in political history
The party that enjoyed a spectacular, once-in-a-generation success by leading the fight for Brexit has all but imploded.
Derided as irrelevant, mired in internal infighting, facing financial meltdown, it appears to have committed political suicide.
The party has had a succession of leaders since the departure of Nigel Farage, all of whom have fallen from grace more quickly than they could – in their worst nightmares – have imagined.
And as the party stands on the brink of another leadership election, a pretty obvious question springs to mind: Why would anybody want the job?
The party clearly did not plan for what to do in the event of Brexit success. And now it finds itself marginalised and on the fringes of politics. It has no representatives in the House of Commons, its ratings have fallen through the floor and it is rudderless with the bleakest of outlooks.
After the unceremonious sacking of former leader Henry Bolton, UKIP gives the impression of a party in freefall.
Suzanne Evans lays the blame – at least in part – at Nigel Farage’s door and his interference, as she sees it, in the party’s affairs. So, today, she is suggesting he either puts up or shuts up.
The prospect of Mr Farage running for office once more, however, seems remote. He enjoyed a remarkable success and there is no prospect of him repeating that feat were he to return.
Asking Mr Farage back would be a little like asking Sir Alex Ferguson if he fancied making a comeback to run a fourth division football team. Why would he bother? The UKIP talent pool does not seem to be particularly deep.
And, lest we forget, the party has already been through a series of leadership contests in recent years where, one imagines, the party’s half-decent candidates have given it a go. Mr Bolton is an unfortunate footnote in the UKIP saga.
He was caught between a rock and a hard place when he found his partner had extreme, racist views – ones that he had not discerned while in a relationship with her.
David Cameron once derided UKIP as being ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, mostly’. And while he was arguably proved wrong by the outcome of the referendum, UKIP may soon find themselves but a footnote to Britain’s political history.