UKIP have borrowed a phrase from the President-elect, Donald Trump, and applied it literally in selecting their new leader. Once party members had been given the opportunity to ‘drain the swamp’, the last man standing was the divested of intellect and bone-idle MEP, Paul Nuttall.
You may or may not already be familiar with Nuttall and his work – and I use the term loosely. He was a near permanent fixture on television news programmes and political panel shows in the twelve months leading up to the EU referendum, delivering the same oafish, pub-bore performance wherever his shiny-head popped up. Doesn’t ring any bells?
Maybe you have read his heavyweight columns in the Daily Star and the Sunday Sport? You don’t read gutter comics? OK, perhaps you recognise him as being the doppelganger of Ade Edmondson’s ‘Eddie Hitler’ character from the classic early 1990’s BBC sitcom, ‘Bottom’, or as the actor that played ‘Bungle’ in the 1980’s kids show, ‘Rainbow?’
You don’t? Right, its possible you know him as your local MEP? No, I didn’t think that you would, as Nuttall is one of the laziest people in the EU parliament, coming 736th out of 756 MEPs, in terms of attendance. Despite laughing in the face of the electorate and spending his working week doing God-knows-what, Nuttall managed to trouser a small fortune in expenses.
It could be that you remember him for being Nigel Farage’s former deputy, that once claimed that he “wouldn’t stand for the UKIP leadership.” and that he wanted to scrap the “second-rate” NHS? Sorry, my-bad, you won’t remember him for that as he deleted all mention of it from his website, and now apparently supports the NHS. Do you remember the election leaflet in which he photo-shopped a picture of his bookcase to make it look bigger and with more books? No, not a surprise, he likes to airbrush that from his history, too.
Hold on, I think I have something. He was the chap that got his Union-Jack print underpants in a twist after the Liverpool Echo published a reader’s comment that described Nuttall – who was appearing on televised referendum debate – as a “Bad Bootle UKIP Meff.” Do you remember that. No? OK, well you may not have realised that he hails from Bootle.
Residents of Bootle certainly didn’t, as only 4% of them turned out and voted for him when he stood there in a general election. To be fair Nuttall didn’t always live in Bootle. Prior to becoming a politician, he took advantage of one of the founding principles of the EU – the ‘free movement of people’ – and relocated to Spain, for work. Of course, he is now a rabid opponent of people travelling abroad to work.
Nuttall wants to ban the wearing of Burkas, claiming that he is an advocate for women’s rights, yet he wants to attack a woman’s right to choose by putting restrictions on abortion time-limits. He once claimed that the child serial murderer, Ian Brady, has more human rights than an unborn-child.
He believes that gay equality rights are “a complete joke”, and in a ‘I can’t be sexist because my mother is a woman’ moment – cites his appointment of an openly gay colleague into a key position as proof that he isn’t a homophobe.
He doesn’t believe in climate change, and is a strong opponent of renewable energy projects. He is positive about the election of Donald Trump, claiming that it will be “Good for Britain.” He wants to reintroduce the death penalty, and repeal the ban on fox-hunting.
Despite winning the leadership election, Nuttall won’t be a ‘leader’ in the traditional sense. Despite claims to the contrary, UKIP are a busted-flush. Their membership is shrinking, senior members have resigned, their donations have tanked, and hardly any of the members actually voted for Nuttall. He won 62% of the 46% of party members that took part. This means that Nuttall has the support of just 24% of UKIP members.
Nuttall is merely the useful idiot that has been selected to manage the slow and irreversible decline of a party that has lost its unique selling point, and which is incapable of moving beyond being a party of ‘single-issue’ protest.
Yes, they will continue to poll respectable numbers in local council elections and possibly even at the next general election – most erections are capable of a series of small seepings beyond the main bulk of the ejaculate, before they return to a flaccid, colourless state – but no new party leader, re-branding, or manifesto launch is going to provide anything more than palliative interventions for UKIP’s terminal afflictions.