For years people pointed out that UKIP is a savagely right-wing political party that was led by a former Tory party activist, bankrolled by ex-Tory millionaire donors and stuffed full of failed, disgraced and defected Tory politicians.
The classic response from working-class UKIP supporters was that the extreme-Thatcherite tendencies of the party were secondary to the main objective of getting the UK out of the European Union.
Well now that 37% of the public have managed to drag the UK out of the European Union, what is the point of UKIP continuing to exist? And what is the justification for working class people continuing to support a party that promotes the hard-right Thatcherite economic dogma that has ruined their communities, repressed their wages and trashed their local infrastructure and services?
UKIP has functioned brilliantly as a Tory Trojan Horse party. Over the years they have soaked up the votes of millions of people from communities that have been left behind as a result of the Thatcherite economic ideology of the last four decades.
It's actually quite a brilliant ploy for the right-wing media to present an even more right-wing, even more rabidly Thathcerite party than the Tories as a "protest vote".
Not only does this ploy divert people away from supporting parties that actually offer a genuine alternative to the toxic Thatcherite consensus of the Westminster establishment, it also serves to drag the whole political spectrum even further rightwards as the Tories attempt to imitate UKIP, and the Blairite faction of the Labour Party attempts to imitate the Tories.
Whether UKIP continues in this role as a Thatcherite Trojan Horse party, or eventually folds itself back into the Tory party seems to depend a lot on whether Andrea Leadsom becomes the Tory party leader. Leadsom is from the fanatical hard-right fringe of the Tory party, so under her leadership the Tories would become almost indistinguishable from UKIP. Leadsom's leadership bid happens to be supported by Arron Banks (the UKIP donor who wants to see the NHS abolished), so a merger between UKIP and the Tories could happen, with the few remaining liberally minded Tories likely splitting off in disgust.
In my view this kind of formal merger between UKIP and the Tories is quite unlikely because UKIP will surely serve a much more useful purpose to the merchants of hard-right economic ideology if they continue soaking up the anti-establishment votes in working class communities and then using this support to drag the Westminster establishment ever further to the right.
If UKIP formally merged with the Tories they'd soon lose a lot of the anti-establishment votes to other parties that do actually offer much better alternatives than UKIP's prescription of "more of the same Thatcherite dogma, but even harder"
Working class UKIP voters
If you are a UKIP suporter from a traditional working class background you need to accept that the vote for Brexit means that your main excuse for voting for a hard-right Thatcherite party is gone.
You've got what you wanted now, but just look at the kind of savagely right-wing opportunists that your support has helped into the political limelight.
- Paul Nuttall: A hard-right Thatcherite who once wrote an open letter to the Tories congratulating them for their stealth privatisation of the NHS, then deleted it off his website when people started pointing it out.
- Neil Hamilton: A man so dodgy that he even managed to get himself thrown out of the Tory party for corruption! UKIP voters handed him the route back into professional politics he's been craving for the last two decades.
- Douglas Carswell: After quitting the Tories to defect to UKIP Carswell has remained their ideological blood brothers, on several occasions being the only non-Tory politician to vote in favour of savage Tory austerity measures like the plan to impoverish the working poor by slashing Working Tax Credits.
- Arron Banks: An intensely smug NHS-hating Thatcherite who went from bankrolling the Tories, to bankrolling UKIP, to bankrolling the Leave campaign and back to supporting the Tories with his backing for Andrea Leadsom to become Tory leader and unelected Prime Minister of the UK.
- Roger Helmer: Another Tory defector. When Helmer was UKIPs business spokesman he voted in favour of the TTIP corporate power grab in the European Parliament demonstrating two things. UKIP don't actually give a damn about sovereignty as long as the over-ruling institutions are multinational corporations, and all their bluster about UKIP always voting "no" to EU legislation is bullshit. because Helmer clearly voted in favour of the TTIP corporate power grab.
- Bill Etheridge: Etheridge was thrown out of the Tory party for putting up a load of race-baiting pictures on his social media accounts. UKIP gladly gave him a new political home. After becoming an MEP Etheridge gave an interesting speech to a 'kipper youth conference in which he praised Adolf Hitler and advised the 'kipper youngsters to imitate Hitler's speaking style!
- Nathan Gill: Gill is perhaps the most appallingly hypocritical opportunist in UKIP. Before UKIP voters handed him two salaries as a professional politician (one in the European Parliament and one in the Welsh Assembly) he used to run a company based on the business model of undercutting genuine British businesses by exploiting cheap eastern European labour, keeping migrant workers in bunkhouses until his immigrant worker dependent care home went bankrupt leaving a load of British creditors out of pocket too.
If you refuse to quit the 'Kipper snake oil after Brexit, it's absolutely clear that you actually approve of the social and economic damage done to the UK by the Westminster establishment's fixation with hard-right economics. In fact you approve of it so much that you're supporting an even more virulent strain of this toxic hard-right ideology than that promoted by Thatcher, Major, Blair, Brown, Cameron and whoever succeeds him.
Only the future will tell whether UKIP continues to exist as a Tory Trojan Horse party to soak up the protest votes of the chronically under-informed, or folds back into the Tory party where so many of their financiers and politicians came from.
My view is that they would be far more useful to the hard-right if they stay as a Torjan Horse protest party, fuelling the ever rightwards shift in the UK political spectrum with voters who are dissatisfied with the consequences of Thatcherite ideology, but too chronically under-informed to realise that they're supporting an even more radical form of hard-right Thatcherite economic ideology.
The interesting thing will be to see what the new excuse working class 'Kippers come up with for defying their own economic interests by voting for an even more rabid version of the hard-right Thatcherite ideology that has wrecked working class communities up and down the country, destroyed our industries, distributed our common wealth to private interests and repressed our wages.
They can't use opposition to the EU any more because they already won that battle, so what is it to be?
Talk of patriotism?
Ludicrous appeals to "common sense"?
The only thing that does seem certain is that whatever the reason they come out with, it will involve studious evasion of the fact that UKIP represents an extreme-right version of the Thatcherite economic dogma that is the root cause of most of the things that 'Kippers are generally so pissed off about.
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