Win or lose, the new leader is trapped in 'Bongo Bongo Land'
But when that party is UKIP, it makes perfect sense, and points to UKIP’s dirty little secret.
Former leader Nigel Farage’s bluster and relative hygiene protected the party against the stream of revelations about councillors, candidates and activists.
But with Paul ‘Nutty’ Nuttall at the helm, the smell of the rotting hull is more more difficult to conceal.
Because the truth about UKIP is that it is, in fact, a complete shower. A ramshackle outfit of disgruntled Tories of the old style. A party of fights and racist ‘outbursts’ and Victorian policies. A home for every reactionary view on sexuality, gender, race, Europe, crime and punishment.
In short (as someone once said) a party of ‘fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists’.
Farage knew where the line was on what he could say about immigration, for example, or the role of women in society, and could build in enough deniability to make bigotry sound like common sense.
His successor (but one – we musn’t forget Diane ’18 days’ James) is not so lucky.
Nuttall’s record of falsehoods about his CV, his past statements about abortion, the death penalty, and privatising the NHS, and his contested claims about Hillsborough, leave him exposed and vulnerable, like a boiled egg in the sun.
He’s not helped himself by putting together a shadow cabinet of kooks, from a welfare spokesman who was once caught watching pornography on a council laptop, to a home affairs spokeswoman being sued for suggesting MPs covered up child sex abuse in Rotherham.
To paraphrase what was once said about Britain, UKIP has won a referendum but not found a role.
What other juicy information could have been tucked away on Nuttall’s website we might never find out. But the nature of his party and his politics are catching up with him.
Win or lose in Stoke Central next week, Paul Nuttall will find himself trapped in ‘Bongo Bongo Land’.
Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.