Daily BulletinDaily Bulletin

The Conversation

  • Written by The Conversation
imageA weekend off and he's ready for another round.Nigel Roodis/EPA

The election was a massive disappointment for the UK Independence Party. Despite winning close to four million votes, it came away with just one MP.

Nigel Farage was a man of his word: after losing the battle for South Thanet, he announced he would step down as party leader. There was a significant caveat, though, in that he did not rule out standing again after a “well deserved holiday”.

And now, as if to thwart his plans of a nice break in Spain, UKIP’s National Executive Committee has rejected his resignation. Farage will stay on as leader to fight in UKIP’s next big (and possibly decisive) battle – the EU referendum.

Out of options

UKIP could have spent the summer with an acting leader in the form of deputy chairman Suzanne Evans but the risk of losing three months of media coverage was far too high.

And Farage’s influence cannot be underestimated. A poll taken just after the election showed his leadership may be crucial to UKIP’s survival. Only 25.7% of respondents believed that without Farage, UKIP would still be an effective political force. More importantly, 36.3% of UKIP voters were not optimistic about the party’s future without him at the helm.

imageWhat do voters think of the future of UKIP without Nigel Farage?Survation 9 May, Author provided

Evans, on the other hand, is far less popular among recent UKIP voters, with only 12.8% believing she should be the next permanent party leader. This demonstrates the fragility and lack of options within the party leadership.

imageOther contenders.Survation, Author provided

This suggests switching up would be a risky move. The EU referendum will be the ultimate test of UKIP’s ability to become a substantial and permanent political force and a strong leader is needed.

Farage has already made clear that he would like a “right” referendum, with barely any involvement from the European Commission and no right to vote for non-UK citizens or 16 and 17-year olds.

Of course, Nigel Farage is still a member of the European Parliament and co-chairman of the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group. Even outside Westminster, he can try to influence the debate from Brussels, just as other European parliamentary groups can be expected to be involved in the referendum campaign.

While it is unlikely that UKIP and Farage will play a role in the “official” no-campaign (which is likely to be managed by Tory backbenchers), the party may launch an alternative and possibly transnational anti-EU movement, with support from its allies in the European Parliament.

So UKIP’s decision to reject Farage’s resignation four days after his announcement may have come as a surprise but it is strategically understandable. His roles in Europe mean that he is likely to play a role in influencing the domestic debate over the EU referendum and the lack of a viable alternative candidate at this crucial time leaves the party with little other choice.

The only remaining question is what happens to UKIP if the UK votes to stay in the EU. The referendum could be an opportunity for UKIP to get back to its roots as a single-issue, pro-sovereignty party but what it does thereafter will take some serious strategic thinking.

Benjamin Leruth does not work for, consult to, own shares in or receive funding from any company or organisation that would benefit from this article, and has no relevant affiliations.

Authors: The Conversation

Read more http://theconversation.com/the-resignation-that-never-was-why-ukip-needs-farage-for-its-next-big-fight-41641

HIV testing people who spit at police or health workers won't actually protect them

arrow_forward

In the wake of the Dyson Heydon allegations, here's how the legal profession can reform sexual harassment

arrow_forward

How To Find The Best Wedding Venues

arrow_forward

The Conversation
INTERWEBS DIGITAL AGENCY

Politics

Prime Minister Scott Morrison Interview with Ray Hadley, 2GB

RAY HADLEY: Prime Minister, Scott Morrison, supposed to be on holidays. He's not. He's online. Prime Minister, good morning.    PRIME MINISTER: G’day Ray. Certainly staying very close to every...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Scott Morrison Covid 19 update

PRIME MINISTER: Good afternoon, everyone. Today I’m joined by Professor Paul Murphy - sorry, Professor Paul Kelly. I’ve got Brendan Murphy still on the brain. You are not far from us, Brendan. B...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Prime Minister Interview with Ben Fordham, 2GB

FORDHAM: Thank you very much for talking to us. I know it's a difficult day for all of those Qantas workers. Look, they want to know in the short term, are you going to extend JobKeeper?   PRI...

Scott Morrison - avatar Scott Morrison

Business News

What Are Your Basic Rights as an Employee and a Job Candidate?

There is no denying that we are living in very difficult times where finding stable employment is not that easy. However, no matter how harsh the circumstances are, people should not withstand m...

Diana Smith - avatar Diana Smith

Double the interest in eCommerce spaces from businesses after COVID-19 lockdown

Recent lockdown restrictions have emphasised the necessity of an eCommerce function in future-proofing retail businesses. Sydney-based co-working space, Workit Spaces, has seen double the amoun...

Steve Fletcher, National WHSQ Manager at Drake International - avatar Steve Fletcher, National WHSQ Manager at Drake International

Tips for Setting Up an E-Commerce Website

If you are fed up with the 9-5 daily grind and would like to make a living selling products online, setting up an e-commerce website might just be the answer. Many Australians have already freed t...

News Company - avatar News Company



News Company Media Core

Content & Technology Connecting Global Audiences

More Information - Less Opinion