UKIP holding hustings but is there a need for the Party after Brexit?
The legacy of the General Election saw the Kingdom divided, greater support for the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) than ever before, and the Scottish National Party sweeping seats. Thus, it could be said that Brexit was inevitable in the climate of separatism, search for a national identity, and UKIP and SNP handing these on a platter for the people. Now, UKIP are holding hustings in search of a new leader, but how relevant is the party? Is Britain still searching for an identity and can UKIP create one after leaving the platter in pieces after Brexit? Is there a need for UKIP now that Britain has voted to leave the European Union?
The key pledge of UKIP was offering the people of Britain a referendum and vote on whether to leave or remain in the European Union. After mass campaigning and former party leader Nigel Farage making front pages, alongside other key politicians like Boris Johnson, ‘vote leave’ won a majority. They won the independence they came into existence for.
UKIP also used immigration heavily as a tool to win support during the EU Referendum campaign, and just yesterday Prime Minister Theresa May called for a clampdown on foreign students in a bid to cut numbers coming to the UK.
Thus, UKIP are no longer the only party committed to Brexit or a reduction in immigration.
However, Article 50 which sets Brexit in motion has not yet been triggered. According to Ian Duncan Smith it may be invoked in early 2017 despite the original pledge that it will be invoked immediately, and then the ball-mark moving to autumn by the Conservative Party.
Farage has stated that if Article 50 is not triggered soon, he will once again step up as leader. A delay could be the least of his worries if Owen Smith becomes leader of the Labour Party as he has promised a second referendum on Brexit; and many people have said they would now vote differently if they had a chance to vote again.
But what legacy has Farage left for himself and the party after the referendum campaign?
On the morning after more than 17million voted ‘leave’, Nigel Farage told Good Morning Britain it was a ‘mistake’ for the Leave campaign to claim there would be £350m a week extra for the NHS after Brexit. Other promises fell through from pro-Brexit campaigners such as stopping immigration and immediately invoking Article 50.
Most recently, Farage took to the stage with Donald Trump in the United States where he criticised multinational banks at the billionaire’s rally, and admonished President Obama, who he described as a ‘foreign visitor’, for advising Britain to vote ‘Remain’, while telling the people of the US ‘I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me’.
A key aspect of Brexit is negotiations, and Farage has already broken relations with MEPs after claiming they have never worked in a proper job ‘virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives’ with Vytenis Andriukaitis a heart surgeon and politician cringing behind him. He jumped ship after getting what he wanted and stepped down before Article 50 was triggered, knowing that very morning that it could be delayed.
So would his return change anything, and will a new leader appeal to the nation after the legacy UKIP has left after referendum campaign?
In opinion polls, the Party’s support has fallen by one-third since June, to about 11 per cent. However, the nation is still in search of an identity. After leaving the EU, London has encouraged the slogan ‘we are open’ while PM May is closing the doors on foreign students.
What the nation needs now is a homogeneous identity rather than separation amongst its people. Having left the nation divided and its party in divisions with current leaders tearing one another apart in hustings, UKIP may no longer be the party platter that people want to eat from.
WHO IS IN THE RUNNING FOR LEADER OF UKIP?
Has experience as a councillor, MEP and party deputy chairwoman
She is not offering new policies but instead pledges to refresh existing ones
She refuses to attend hustings because the format is not thinking ‘outside the box’
Has been central to some of UKIP’s local election victories
She is calling for a ban on Muslim faith schools and the full veil in public places
She pledges to quicken the trigger of Article 50
Pitches himself as a unity candidate
Supports capital punishment
Wants to ban burkas in public spaces
Wants to privatise the BBC
Won 28 per cent of the vote in Hartlepool in the 2015 general election
He is a former amateur wrestler
Was elected to UKIP’s national executive committee last year with 2,650 votes
She was on a live radio show in 2014 and screamed “will you shut up?” at a left-wing guest, before adding: “I’ve just had really enough since 2010.”