#UKIP: Paul Nuttall elected new leader

| November 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

paul-nuttall-ukipPaul Nuttall (pictured) takes the reins at a difficult time for UKIP. Nuttall will have a challenging time ahead, with the European Parliament likely to impose a large fine on the party’s group for the ineligible use of funds. One of UKIPs main supporters, Aaron Banks, is also threatening to withdraw his generous funding, and there has been the abrupt resignation of Diane James MEP, who has the unenviable record as one of the world’s shortest-serving party leaders, at a mere 18 days. There is also widespread party infighting, writes Catherine Feore.

UKIP is also a party that has lost its raison d’être. The party’s only member of the British parliament, Douglas Carswell, has intimated that he may revert his allegiance to the UK Conservative party. With the British government accepting that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, UKIP now has little to offer.

The British Tea Party

The only course of action that would separate UKIP from its peers would be to follow an ultra-liberal ‘tea party’ agenda. Nuttall could become the UK’s very own Sarah Palin – Nuttall has already called for greater privatization of the NHS, is opposed to abortion, would allow businesses to discriminate against homosexuals and is a high-profile member of the Campaign Against Political Correctness, or what British people used to call ‘being polite’.

UKIP has undoubtedly won ground in some unlikely quarters, with local election success in the north of England, but it is hard to see how their policies benefit those on low incomes. To name but one area, UKIP has repeatedly voted against the EU’s efforts to prevent tax evasion.

During a recent debate in the European Parliament on the Panama Papers, two UKIP MEPs defended island jurisdictions such as Panama and the British Virgin Islands that were voicing concern about the peoples of these islands, rather than the concerns of the British and European taxpayers who are effectively being robbed of legitimate revenue.

The ‘Farage Factor’

Farage has managed to resign and come back twice. Love him or hate him, he is a magnet for journalists and is a charismatic, garrulous figure who is difficult to actively dislike. Farage won huge support with no-nonsense, simple arguments that rang true with a large portion of the public – arguments that, by the way, were utterly wrong. The main problem with this bluster is that it bore only a passing acquaintance with the truth. Farage was met by an ill-informed British media, who either colluded with, or were too inept to challenge, his assertions.

Nuttall does not have the ‘Farage Factor’. It would also be self-defeating to offer a poor imitation. Given the existential crisis that lies at the heart of UKIP post-referendum, it is difficult to see a clear direction for the party.

Farage was willing to support Frexit and Nexit (similar EU referendums for France and the Netherlands) but it is hard to imagine all but the most diehard right-wingers throwing their support behind the far-right’s Marine Le Pen or Geert Wilders.

Why did Nuttall not stand in first round of elections for leadership?

In the run-up to the last UKIP leadership battle, we asked one UKIP MEP why Nuttall was not a candidate. After Farage, he was one of the more high-profile members of UKIP. We were told that it was because of “complicated family arrangements”. The question is, will Nuttall outlast James, or will he also opt to “spend more time with his family”?

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Category: A Frontpage, Brexit, Eastern Partnership, EU, Nigel Farage, Opinion, UK, UKIP

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