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Friday, October 07, 2016

UKIP rivalries descend into violence

Just when you thought that UKIP could not surprise us anymore, their latest leadership crisis descended into violence.

The Independent says that leadership contender, Steven Woolfe MEP collapsed on the floor in the middle of the European Parliament building in Strasbourg shortly after a brawl with one of his MEP colleagues.

The paper says that UKIP MEPs, including Mr Farage, Mr Woolfe and defence spokesman Mike Hookem had attended a party meeting to discuss the leadership crisis, following Diane James’s unexpected departure:

But the exchange at the meeting went beyond the usual political to and fro. A statement Mr Woolfe had recently released in which he admitted considering defecting to the Tories had annoyed some other party figures.

As the discussion became more heated sources said Mr Woolfe took his jacket off and suggested he and ex-commando Mr Hookem go outside.

In the ensuing tussle Mr Woolfe was reported to have hit his head, but when the fight ended colleagues believed him to be alright before they went for a vote.

Later on Mr Woolfe was seen collapsed on one of the building's internal bridges. He reportedly told the person who rushed over to assist him that he had “lost the feeling down one side of his body”. 

Mr. Woolfe is apparently recovering but that did not stop the leader of the Welsh UKIP Assembly group putting his foot in it again. The Western Mail says that Hamilton provoked anger with a television interview in which he said that hospitalised Ukip MEP Steven Woolfe 'picked a fight, and came off worse'.

The reaction on social media was scathing with many commenters suggesting that he was tacky and charmless. The Mirror reports that businessman and Ukip donor, Arron Banks branded Hamilton a "creature from the gutter" and demanded he leave the party. He said:

"I am however utterly disgusted to see Neil Hamilton touring the newsrooms this afternoon, spewing his bile before anyone knew if Steven was going to be OK.

"He truly is a creature from the gutter who will do anything to get his mug on our screens.

"Tonight I am calling for the immediate suspension of the NEC. Elections need to be held for both a new leader of the party as well as the NEC.

"People say that Ukip is split down the middle between two camps.

"This is incorrect. The Tory troublemakers and fifth columnists represent a small minority in our party yet they use and opportunity they can to undermine those working tirelessly to hold the government's feet to the flames.

"This ends today.

If Neil Hamilton and Douglas Carswell remain in the party and the NEC decide that Steven Woolfe cannot run for leader, I will be leaving Ukip.

"People have worked too long and too hard to get Ukip to where it is today but it is clear that we ourselves are at breaking point."

Is Wales now in the front line of UKIP's civil war?

I have posted many times on this matter of Ukip's elected members not being able to co-operate and work effectively and constructively with their own colleaagues, let alone with others. Time and time again we have seen this party implode - at Council level, in the Welsh Assembly, and now at the EU parliament.

So why does this happen ?

It is not ideological. It has very little to do with policies. It seems to revolve around personalities. Many Ukip representatives seem to be highly focused and individualist people (many of them come from a business background) who all have strong outgoing personalities.

Several of their MEPs, AMs and councillors have come into politics as complete outsiders. Many have no background whatsoever in terms of party politics and local government, and several Kippers I have seen, seem utterly and completely bored with the way a democratic body such as a local authority, consults, holds debates, conducts meetings, and eventually inevitably comes to a compromise or a consensus view on an issue. Kippers often have a very simplistic take on things, and believe that there is always a simple straightforward answer to our problems.

Life and politics, I'm afraid, are often complicated and complex. There are often no simple or straightforward answers to difficult issues.

Ukip representatives must learn this lesson quickly, or else, this in-fighting will eventually destroy the party.

Co-operate or else!
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