The Ukip meltdown has begun

Long simmering tensions within Ukip are now bubbling into public view. Earlier today, Uncut bumped into an old 1990’s Westminster stalwart who had been involved with the long and difficult development of Ukip’s manifesto. He painted a picture of a house divided, riven by personal and political enmities.

At the root of all of the problems lie Nigel Farage’s personality: a man given to fads and enthusiasms with a notoriously thin skin and a congenital inability to hold his tongue or stick by the rules he sets for others.

Farage’s elision of immigration and race is blamed for toxifying Ukip’s brand by Douglas Carswell who is now operating virtually as an independent.

Mark Reckless is said to feel that Farage doesn’t understand the scale of risk he took in defecting while Raheem Kassam, Farage’s spinner, is regarded by many MEPs and staffers as a poisonous disaster.

Douglas Carswell’s absence from today’s manifesto launch almost did not register. He was absent from Ukip’s general election campaign launch at the end of March and can barely bring himself even to mention Nigel Farage’s name.

A prolific tweeter, Carswell has managed just two tweets in more than 250 over the past fortnight that mention his leader. Probably a record for a candidate in this campaign.

Mark Reckless has always lacked a certain bonhomie, as his former Conservative parliamentary colleagues attest, and has been cut out of the leader’s inner circle. Party resources aren’t flowing into Rochester and Strood to defend the seat as volunteers are being directed to Thanet to fight for Farage and so Reckless too is coming to terms with life as a virtual independent.

His absence from today’s manifesto launch was also notable. That Ukip’s two sitting MPs had better things to do than present a united front with their leader, speaks volumes about their estrangement from Nigel Farage.

Raheem Kassam was hired last November by Farage and is very much the leader’s shiny new toy. Kassam is blamed for Farage’s decision to focus on migrants with HIV in the leader’s debate, infuriating Carswell, whose father was one of the first to identify HIV/Aids in Uganda in the 1980s.

Kassam has also made enemies among the party’s MEPs, particularly the popular former director of communications, Patrick O’Flynn. Kassam used to edit the right-wing Breitbart site which coincidentally ran a story outlining how “senior members” of Ukip were moving to remove O’Flynn for being anti-business.

Yet Kassam retains the leader’s ear so he remains in post.

As Ukip’s poll rating slides, so the pretenders to the throne manoeuvre. Farage is already said to be exhausted, irritable and prone to tearing up his schedule. With three weeks to go, insiders fear that if the poll rating sinks below 10%, any last vestiges of discipline will breakdown and the party will very publicly implode, just as voters make their decision.

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10 Responses to “The Ukip meltdown has begun”

  1. John P reid says:

    It’s amazing that the slightest silly comment, like a Christian, feeling a gay person can be cured,is latched onto as an example of ukip, extremism,yet Andy Newman and co, for labour,come out with comments admiring Stalin and chairman Mao, and there’s no out cry, I recall the 87 election, the Tories were going all out to portray labour as a extremist as ever,

    Regarding Ukip meltdown, they’ll get more votes than 2010′ but their fall in recent weeks is due to Eurosceptic tories panicking about the thought of a labour Gov’t,
    Ukip won’t win seats in Rotherham, Rochdale, due to Labours unpopulairity ,over the Muslim Peado, cover up, because Labour have such big majorities, but it means that labour will still get disproportionate votes ,despite the SNP, taking 50 off the advantage

    As pointed out Ukips vote will be up on 2010 with a low turnout, how higher will Labours vote be?

  2. Dave Roberts. says:

    What’s happening? I find myself agreeing with John P reid. He has several good points the first one being that people like Andy Newman get an easy ride from Labour when by rights he shouldn’t be in the party never mind the PPC for Chippenham or wherever. He is an unreconstructed Tanky/Trot and an admirer of any number of mass murderers.

    As regards UKIP when faced with the possibility of a Labour victory a lot of their potential voters will return to the Tory fold or join it.

  3. Aaron (UK) says:

    “A prolific tweeter, Carswell has managed just two tweets in more than 250 over the past fortnight that mention his leader. Probably a record for a candidate in this campaign.”

    Well, apart from the Labour MPs who can’t bring themselves to mention Ed 🙂

  4. David Walsh says:

    “A tanky / trot” ? A bit of an odd combination, surely ?

  5. Michael Worcester says:

    The most interesting comment is the change of UKIPS main objective for this election. It is not to win a significant number of seats 8-15 were mentioned (current estimate 4), the main objective is to come second mostly in Labour seats to prepare for 2020.

    Labours long term support of immigration, condescension by metropolitan types of the struggling working class (mirrored in the distain for UKIPpers), newly found enthusiasm for austerity and the EU (plus tepid enthusiasm for defence) has left a huge open flank for UKIP especially with the Greens vying for the loony left vote on the other side.

    Even if Ed stumbles over the line with Salmond it doesn’t look promising for Labour in the long term.

  6. Steven says:

    What a load of old rubbish. For a start I looked over Carswell’s timeline, the tweets are mainly about Clacton as you would expect and way more than two have mentioned Farage (and that’s only counting the last 3 days).

    I mean, there’s obviously going to be differences between people in political parties but I think this is a load of exaggeration (I notice you’re very thin on hard evidence, not naming sources etc. For all we know your ‘Westminster stalwart’ could be Alistair Campbell…). It’s hardly Blair/Brown, is it?

  7. Carol says:

    I agree with Michael Worcester 1000%. It is good strategy to come second in most Labour seats. The present Labour philosophy does not suit the needs of working people.

  8. John P Reid says:

    I agree with Michael too. But it might not be 2020 even with fixed term parliaments, a second election is possible

  9. BenM says:

    @Michael Worcester

    “the main objective [of UKIP] is to come second mostly in Labour seats to prepare for 2020.”

    If Farage doesn’t make it in South Thanet, and all signs are that he won’t, UKIP will shrivel away by 2020. Just like the BNP have.

  10. John P Reid says:

    If so BenM, where will all. Those ex Ukip votes go, clue it won’t be to the Labour Party
    And where did those Ex BNP votes go, after 2008′ Clue, it was mainly back to the Labour Party, from where they had come in the first place

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