Tim Aker is the latest victim of the internal UKIP power play: sacked as the party’s policy chief this morning. Or so the spin goes. Guido understands this is less to do with the time he spent on the manifesto and more to do with the continuing debate raging for the ideological life and soul of the party. Between being an MEP and duffing up Labour in Thurrock, it was only a matter of time before Aker stepped back from his party role, but only a fool would suggest he’s not still a serious player within the party.
Rumours also continue to swirl around the tetchy relationship between Nigel Farage and Douglas Carswell. Guido is told there has been something of a breakdown, with particular anger among UKIP top brass over Carswell’s recent off-message Mail on Sunday intervention describing his new party as “internationalist” and “inclusive”. Guido hears Farage believes that to be “Cameroon nonsense”. This piece written by Nick Wood, the former IDS spinner turned Farage-confidant, has been circulated within party circles as the UKIP leader’s real opinion:
“Various BBC-type Aunt Sallies were erected only to be assailed by the heroic St Douglas. “We must stop insulting immigrants,” asserted the hair-shirted one. “Dislike of foreigners is not merely offensive, but absurd.” Various other Harmanesque pieties followed, including the laughable observation that there has never been anything splendid about isolation. How about May 1940 after the fall of Paris? Our “isolation” then proved the salvation of Western civilisation.”
Long-serving, more traditional, golf clubbing UKIP veterans are said to be “upset” by Carswell’s maverick modernising moves, and things are so bad that they sneeringly call him “that Tory” behind his back. Rumours of a split at the top are denied by Farage’s spokesman: “we all absolutely adore Douglas”. But when were they last seen together?