UKIP ought to dissolve itself immediately.
By failing to release hardline eurosceptics of all colours to the mainstream political parties right now, they may well be scuppering their single cause in exchange for a continued foundation for their own existence.
Like the French Resistance, UKIP’s collective point of ideological origin has necessarily remained moot in order to gather the largest possible crowd of discontents to deal with the one task they had in hand. A futile struggle to hold that clamour together now will only serve to hold the very people who are serious about seeing that task through in quarantine from the mainstream.
The UK has a civil service which has evidently forgotten how to drive a tough deal with ex-ENA officials in Brussels and we also face the looming prospect of a Prime Minister who backed Remain (something which might not have happened if UKIP members had rejoined their parties of origin on June 24th). UKIP’s secretariat in Brussels would be of great value to MPs in Westminster – most of whom have little idea about how the EU functions and less idea of how the UK might disentangle itself from it.
We have all seen what happens when a party with no coherent ideology tries to dignify itself in government. UKIP would fare significantly worse than the Lib Dems. I once challenged Nigel Farage on his policy of standing UKIP candidates against Eurosceptics from other parties. He responded that there were now people in the UK who actually vote on the strength of UKIP manifesto policy. I suppose he had to give that answer really but, outside of Farage’s own offices, I only once met someone facetious enough to actually have read the UKIP manifesto – and she was a Labour supporter determined to find all the problems with it.
I don’t know if UKIP’s own voters are aware of the divisions on political issues within a party which had a natural appeal to Communists, Free Marketeers, retired Cotswold Sergeant Majors, and probably benefitted more than we would have liked to admit from the collapse of the British National Party. Nor do I know much about the forces behind the party during its meteoric rise of 2012 – 2013, when the only news network that gave us coverage was Russia Today.
I’m not suggesting that UKIP would be unable to return if we don’t get a good enough deal on Brexit – but it ought now to distribute its power to causes which it has enfranchised. This is the bit where, having pulled together for years, we finally get to play the real game.