Wednesday, 2 November 2016

The expendables

If you believe what Arron Banks says, the insurance tycoon and Tory-turned-Ukip donor has almost run out of patience with the 'kippers. He says he's unhappy with the poor quality of their current leadership contenders, who apparently don't live up to the high standards of freaking lunacy demonstrated by his preferred candidate, Raheem Kassam, alumnus of Brietbart's School of Bullshit and Wingnuttery.

If you still believe the word of a Brexiteer, you may also be interested in corresponding with an entirely trustworthy Nigerian gentleman, currently in possession of a large fortune, which he's only too happy to entrust to your safe keeping, just as soon as you've given him your bank account details.

Personally, I don't believe a word of it. I think it's got less to do with the calibre of the leadership candidates than with the fact that Ukip has outlived its usefulness. The referendum's over. The next election will probably be in 2020.* If (God help us) Brexit happens, it's the Conservatives who will deliver it, not a squabbling bunch of punch-drunk fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists with one MP to their name.

Ukip were useful so long as there were voters to be hoodwinked and and an "anti-establishment" bandwagon to be ridden. But now it's not about voters any more. It's about legal red tape and the urgent need to bypass Parliamentary scrutiny and how much public money will be needed to bribe the bankers and the motor manufacturers and any other group of firms we can't afford to lose, to stay where they would have stayed anyway, if we'd taken the simple precaution of not expressing our frustrations through an irreversible act of eye-wateringly painful self-harm.

If Brexit was the pet project you bought, then I'm pretty sure you'd want to give your support to the people in government who can make it happen, which is why I think Banks is probably just going to be the first of the ex-Tory backers who created Ukip to give up on them, now that the Conservatives have become suffiently Ukip-like to do Brexit.

I suspected that something like this was about to happen, but I still might be proved wrong - in fact, I hope I am wrong. As somebody who never voted for Brexit, I'd far rather see Banks, Sykes, Wheeler and the other moneybags behind Brexit waste their money by throwing it at a flaky, divided fringe party, rather than propping up the finances of a government with the power to make the looming catastrophe actually happen.

*I don't believe that Theresa May is in any hurry to go to the country, despite the opposition's current problems - even Mrs "Brexit means Brexit" knows that some seriously unpopular unintended consequence of Brexit might pop up at any moment, which is why she's so keen to trigger Article 50 before too many people turn against the thing she's declared it her sacred duty to deliver.