Full speed ahead to the referendum, but on all other fronts UKIP is treading water
Given the unedifying way in which Day One of UKIP’s 2015 party conference ended, the leadership is probably relieved to have been bumped down to third place in last night’s television news running order by the assorted villains and criminals at Volkswagen and FIFA.
After a day in which the coming EU referendum was placed front and centre, UKIP somehow managed to finish the day with much of the media talking about a potential split in the party over which “Out” campaign group to support. Rather than talk about how best to fight and win the referendum, the party was seen to be bickering over which group it most wanted to fight the EU referendum with. The inter-group rivalry is not all UKIP’s fault, it must be acknowledged, but it does not bode well for the eurosceptic cause if we are already witnessing bickering and glory-seeking on this scale.
Just when UKIP’s laser focus on winning the coming EU referendum should be paying real early dividends, the party is mired in a contentious debate over which eurosceptic campaign group’s bid to be given lead campaigner designation by the Electoral Commission should be supported. That – and the almighty row which blew up between Douglas Carswell and donor Arron Banks – does leave the party vulnerable to criticism and mockery like this: