Monday, 6 March 2017

Ukip crisis - follow the money

On balance, I still suspect that the wealthy donors who've been bankrolling Ukip for the past few years are plotting to abandon their plaything, now that it has served its purpose. The Ukip elite's war of words may be noisy, but the money seems to be talking even louder:
British anti-EU party UKIP saw its donations slump in the last part of last year, highlighting the turmoil it experienced in the aftermath of the EU referendum.

The party raised only £33,228 ($40,801) between 1 October and 31 December 2016, according to the latest figures from Britain’s electoral commission.

This represents a collapse for UKIP compared to the same period in 2015, when the Euroskeptic party brought in £196,282 ($241,022) in donations.

Obviously, these figures come with a health warning. You'd expect donations to drop off, after reaching higher-than-usual levels over a couple of years that have seen, first, a general election, then the run-up to the very referendum Ukip was created to trigger (a rummage about in the Electoral Commission site confirms that they did all right for dosh over this period). But even taking all that into account, the recent funding levels seem historically low.

Newsweek's figures for the last three months of 2016 average out at £11,000 a month, plus a bit of change, or about £133,000 per year.  To put that in context, Ukip's worst ever year for donations in the years 2009-2016 seems to have been 2012. Even then, donations totalled  £314,410, an average of over £26,000 per month, or more than double the average monthly amount Ukip's backers coughed up in the last three months of 2016.

This is just a snapshot of three months and maybe it's just a temporary downturn, but it'll take a lot of giving over the next nine months just to match the previous low point, 2012. And this funding drought comes just as the party is potentially facing a potential half-million pound bill for the alleged misuse of public funds.

If you actively wanted to destroy an organisation that had outlived its usefulness, abruptly turning off the money tap at a moment like this would be a good way to do it.

Just saying.