Farage makes a speech

Nigel Farage made a speech to UKIP’s conference yesterday but that wasn’t all. There was also a significant announcement regarding the launch/relaunch of “Leave.EU” by Arron Banks, allegedly involving an array of anti-EU groups.[1] Indeed Banks received great praise from Farage during the UKIP leader’s oration.

Farage’s speech was relatively short but if one re-watches and re-examines it by cutting through the oratory and the crowd pleasers (Farage has always been very good at this), it sounds very much like a call to effectively dissolve UKIP as a party into the Banks campaign and for individual members to move across to that campaign and discard UKIP colours. Farage was sending a powerful message that the party has served its purpose and it has now become secondary. Farage’s dissing of the idea of a further referendum post-2020 suggests he is betting everything, including UKIP’s very existence, on the 2017 vote.

And yet UKIP won’t dissolve —or to put it more accurately, many key members within it don’t want it to dissolve. Paul Nuttall separately argued, when pushed on this point by the BBC’s Justin Webb, that UKIP will still be fighting elections over the coming years on a full policy platform.

Which then begs the question of what Farage was doing yesterday.

My suspicion is that he probably thinks this really *is* it, along with him realising the end of his colourful UKIP career is approaching. I suspect he’s read the runes and realised that UKIP has served its purpose for him personally, never mind for getting a referendum. The two just happen to coincide. He’s making (or has made) the mental commitment to junk UKIP as part of this referendum campaign or its outcome.

In short, he’s preparing to go out with a big referendum “bang” and take UKIP with him.

And if that’s true, the potential likelihood and effectiveness of a possible two-referendum strategy from Cameron/Osborne (mooted here) just rose several notches because it now looks more likely that such a strategy could shatter and scatter UKIP as a threat to the Tories.

And it’ll see off Nigel Farage, its most powerful if flawed figure.

Interesting times.

[1] “Allegedly” seems to be the word as Lord Lamont (Bruges Group) has already denied involvement or support. ‘Better Off Out’ and ‘Global Britain’, however, seem to be fully on board after their key spokesmen made speeches at the conference. I’m unclear about the real positions of ‘Democracy Movement’ and the ‘Campaign for an Independent Britain’ at the moment. ***UPDATE 11.33 on 26/09***: I understand the CIB is not signed up to Leave.EU either. This is turning into a bit of a mess and is exposing Better Off Out in particular after Rupert Mathews speech at the conference which played to the Farageist gallery — “We will win because we have Nigel Farage on our side”.