Yesterday, Nigel Farage finally seems to have sacked his colleague Suzanne Evans. It is not absolutely clear because he denies being behind an email that tells fellow UKIP rankers to bypass "SE" or Suzanne Evans. Apparently, he was "very angry" at what she said, but when pressed told reporters "I've no idea. I've been at the battle of Waterloo."
Evans had been one of Farage's key allies in the run up to the election, writing a thorough election manifesto, acting as an effective spokesperson, and named as interim leader by Farage during the bizarre resignation that followed his defeat in South Thanet. But it does not pay to get too close!
Evans is one of many former UKIP stars to have tumbled. Some, however, like Farage himself have seen their resignation overturned - Matthew Richardson is a case in point. His fellow advisor, Raheem Kassam, however, who seems altogether more committed to the UKIP cause and who had fingered Evans, Patrick O Flynn and UKIP's only Westminster MP Douglas Carswell as disloyal to both the party and leader remains in the political wilderness, and has returned to journalism.
Kassam's observations, however, have always been worth consideration. He is a former Conservative, and still swings to the right, despite efforts in UKIP to lurch towards socialism on the assumption that there are votes among disaffected Labour supporters in Northern England. My respect for Kassam lies in the story of Janice Atkinson, finally sacked for a financial indiscretion, but Kassam thought she should have gone the moment she made racist comments about "ting tong." I absolutely agree. More than that, I salute a man like Kassam who is prepared to fall on his sword and yet retain loyalty for his old leader who he still regards as a "hero." That is noble!
Kassam's downfall on May 14th lay in his getting too close to the leader. By the end of the election, the personal ambitions of senior UKIP rankers eying the leadership crown, seems to have prompted calls for the heads of both Chris Bruni-Lowe and Kassam, gatekeepers throughout the election to Nigel.
Suzanne Evans has been shot down, I suppose, because she was too ambitious. Like Patrick O'Flynn, and Carswell, she is now on record publicly criticising Farage. Evans described him as "divisive" and questioned his suitability to lead the anti-EU referendum campaign. In fact, she muted her concerns by adding "he's not divisive as a person but the way he is perceived is as having very strong views."
But was Suzanne Evans really a credible rival to Nigel Farage? Her public performances, after all, were gauche and amateur. The problem with UKIP is not that there is any threat to Farage - it is that there is no one else in the party capable of mounting a podium let alone a challenge! Farage might be divisive but he is memorable. Farage might even be wrong, but he entertains. More than that, he is one of the best speakers in British Public life. #Government #Parliament