The Guardian notes this morning that:
Nigel Farage has been described by his own general election campaign director as a “snarling, thin-skinned, aggressive” man who is turning UKIP into a personality cult.
It looks as if the electoral fall out in UKIP might well outdo that in Labour and the LibDems. I would, in fact, go a little further. I think there is very good chance that UKIP will not survive the failure of Farage.
I am not saying that the reasons why people have voted for UKIP are going away. Or that the far right of the UK will depart the scene. But just as the BNP were a potential force on the right at one time, to be replaced by the sanitised UKIP, so too, I think, will UKIP now begin to fall by the wayside as internal fighting shatters the image of the leader, and the party as a whole is exposed as little more than a personality cult. By 2020 it is possible that the idea of UKIP as an electoral force might have become an odd quirk of history.
Unless, that is the Conservatives break in two, which is entirely possible. But the question then is who will keep the name: will UKIP gain its right wing or will the right wing Conservatives take the party name with them and replace UKIP after the fracturing that is likely to follow an EU referendum?
Why does this matter here? Because the right has a distinct tax agenda not seen elsewhere with its dedication to a small state, flat (or flatter) taxes, indifference to inequality and disdain for the welfare state. UKIP has dragged politics to the right, and given focus to some of these issues. What happens to it influences where that debate goes.