UKIP chaos as new leader quits

Diane James (right) has quit after just 18 days as UKIP leader

Diane James (right) has quit after just 18 days as UKIP leader

Just 18 days after being elected to succeed Nigel Farage as leader of UKIP, Diane James has quit – forcing a new leadership election which will further demonstrate her party’s chaotic factionalism and ideological incoherence.

As suggested in the current edition of Heritage and Destiny, one of the party’s main problems is the insistence of the Farage faction (including Ms James) on increasing the power of the leader and subverting UKIP’s constitution. Behind the scenes major donors are already plotting a new breakaway party.

Farage infamously denounced his own party’s officials within days of stepping down as leader, telling an interviewer: “the barrier to radical change and the modernisation of UKIP was implanted in the mid-1990s.  It is called the National Executive Committee.  Many of its current crop are among the lowest grade of people I have ever met.”

Similarly Diane James, in her resignation statement emailed to The Times this eveningwrote: “It has become clear I do not have sufficient authority, nor the full support of MEP colleagues and party officers to implement the changes I believe are necessary and upon which I based my campaign.”

Steven Woolfe - again favourite to win the new UKIP leadership contest

Steven Woolfe – again favourite to win the new UKIP leadership contest

Amazingly, Ms James seems to have thought that political leadership was like applying for a job in the middle-class world (which is all she understands) – where if accepted or headhunted, one then negotiates mutually acceptable terms. Or else she imagined that being elected leader entitled her to impose a Führerprinzip, by which her personal fiat could overrule the party’s internal democracy.

For the benefit of future UKIP leadership candidates – including the mixed-race (and therefore inevitably bookies’ favourite for the job) Steven Woolfe, who failed to hand in his nomination papers on time during the last contest, then expected the rules to be bent for his convenience – we had better restate what should be obvious.

If you stand for the leadership of a political party, you are accepting that party’s rulebook. If you later wish to change that rulebook, then you do it in a constitutional manner. And if you aim to inspire the confidence of the British people, it’s not a good start to mistrust your own party membership.

Suzanne Evans, leading enemy of Farage and likely leadership candidate for UKIP's most liberal faction

Suzanne Evans, leading enemy of Farage and likely leadership candidate for UKIP’s most liberal faction

For too long UKIP has tried to avoid all the issues that matter. When in the North, pretending to support the welfare state, while promising tax cuts and privatisation to middle-class ex-Tories in the South. Giving the populist impression of being anti-immigration, while acknowledging in the European Parliament that they favour immigration (in the interests of big business).

UKIP won its main battle at the Brexit referendum earlier this year. The leadership farce shows that it is not a fit vehicle for any form of nationalist politics. UKIP’s collapse is well under way: it cannot come soon enough.

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