The creation of a new political party by Arron Banks – long anticipated by some including myself (as I have mentioned before) – seems to have taken a step forward today, with the suspension of Mr Banks from UKIP. This was (he says) because of something he recently said about UKIP.
Now, this is a promising move, if it is handled in the right way. I have been saying (and showing) for some time that UKIP was always a dead end – and it has been proven true. I'd venture to suggest that a considerable majority of the electorate also now realise this.
Despite the boost given to them by certain pundits, movers & shakers, and being gifted votes as a protest party, their core vote was usually in single figures (I estimate 6% to 8% tops) as has been shown consistently in opinion polls and in particular in more recent actual elections, whether council or parliamentary. Note that each party has a core vote that will probably never change, plus other more fluid 'floating' votes, so the core forms just part of the polling/voting figure.
Most notably, the UKIP vote has in the majority of cases dropped hugely since the previous election in that seat, typically down to just a third to a half of the percentage vote they had the last time. I watch this every week, and tweet all the results, so they can be found on my Twitter feed.
So: what about this new party, then? I'd welcome it, because it is about time that the deadwood were to be cleared out from our nation's political scene – and that means Labour and the Greens, along with TUSC, as well as UKIP. None of them offers any real value in twenty-first century politics.
So far there are two problems with what has emerged today: Arron Banks seems to be thinking of it as a Mark Two version of UKIP, which would be the wrong approach. It has to be something new and fresh, not modelled on what has gone before, otherwise it will almost certainly mutate over a few years into being in the same situation as UKIP is today, and will never generate sufficient public confidence to become viable. They'll prefer the devil they already know.
The second issue is the likelihood of Nigel Farage being pushed to be its leader. Again, this will lead to the same kinds of difficulties that UKIP had for years in that it will become the Nigel Show all over again – a 'cult of personality'. That is not what is needed. Hopefully Farage's Trump association will lead to a full-time occupation on that side of the Atlantic, which will thus help save the new venture here if it should go ahead.
I wish such a new party well, especially if it does result in the dross vanishing from the scene. It could (and should) be much healthier for British politics, both nationally and (over a longer period) locally too. It just needs to be done right, from the launch onward, and all should be set fair to raise the bar hugely over the next few years.