Stoke Central, the #Brexit capital of Britain, should have been a golden opportunity for #Ukip. Article 50 has not even been triggered yet and there needs to be a party that keeps reminding the Government of the message that 52% of electors who voted in the EU Referendum sent to them last year; that leaving the EU must happen.
It was also a chance for Paul Nuttall, the party's current leader, to cement his political career. But he became embroiled in scandals that dented many people's trust in his brand that ranged from lying about his links to Hillsborough and the work he carried out for a charity on his website.
A missed opportunity
Gareth Snell was a dreadful candidate. He labelled Brexit as a 'pile of s**t', insulted numerous women who appeared on shows such as Question Time and The Apprentice and was forced to apologise to his wife and daughter for his derogatory comments. With Jeremy Corbyn performing terribly and his party having suffered a humiliating defeat in Copeland, losing Stoke Central would have robbed Labour of another crown jewel. Perhaps it is time for UKIP to ask themselves: if they cannot win here during these ideal circumstances, where can they win?
The Eurosceptic party needs a significant makeover. But which way do they go? Left? Right? Either way, the future is not bright and it is not purple.
Where does UKIP go from here?
George Connolly, a UKIP member from Kidderminster, Worcestershire, says that under Paul Nuttall, the party is more unified than it has been in years. He said that the party needs to desperately calm the ship and focus on local politics, not just Brexit and immigration.
This has always been the Liberal Democrats' greatest strength in local elections. But can this strategy work for the Kippers?
By the time Article 50 has been triggered next month, the process of Brexit will be irreversible. It is clear that Britain is leaving both the EU and the European Economic Area, thereby ceding control of immigration and numerous other laws to Parliament. Therefore, the Eurosceptic party has achieved its ultimate ambition. But they could continue to put the pressure on the Government to decide upon appropriate levels of immigration.
Is the party over?
UKIP is a broad church. Many of its policies are to the left of the political spectrum, such as scrapping tuition fees, yet many of its other proposals are to the right, being tough on immigration being one of them. But the party is also an anti-establishment party. This is their unique selling point. But which direction do they go after that? Do they become a libertarian party that promotes policies to the right of the Conservative Party? Or should they evolve into a left-wing party that is pro-Brexit and anti-establishment?
It is an unenviable position for them to be in. Many members have already jumped ship to the Conservative Party. They are struggling for funds. Nigel Farage, their charismatic spokesman and former leader, is pursuing a new career with Fox News. And soon, Brexit will result in Brexit. So it is time for UKIP to have a complete makeover, which could result in many members to the left or the right of the party leaving en masse, or perhaps it is time to confess that the party is well and truly over for them.