It’s June 23rd 2016 and the country has voted to remain in the United Kingdom. In this strange, alternate world, the purple army thrives.
Since the 2016 referendum (the real one where the UK voted to leave the EU), UKIP has gone from bad to worse to utterly terrible. In the year following the vote to leave, the party’s poll numbers plummeted culminating in an embarrassing electoral defeat for Paul Nuttall’s team as the party had completed its mission. Since then, the party has seen MEPs and councillors exit the party, and the NEC lose confidence in new leader Henry Bolton.
So far, Bolton has survived, but wait there’s more. According to Sky News, in what seems like a flashback to the days of Paul Nuttall, Bolton had to clarify his educational background following a question on Channel 4 News. He had initially listed a BA from Sandhurst on his LinkedIn page, but has now changed it to “military studies” following the channel revealing that he not gotten a BA. On whether he had been wrong, Sky News reports that he said, "Yes. Just to be clear on it, that's all."
Bolton might just hang on as leader, but at what cost? UKIP is falling apart.
However, in a parallel universe, one in which the UK voted to remain in the UK at a rate of 52% - 48%, UKIP are surging in the polls, taking support from Labour and the Conservatives. David Cameron remained prime minister, but soon stepped aside in favour of Boris Johnson who promised to unite brexiteers and remainers as the close result divided the country.
There was no snap election as UKIP have been matching Labour and snapping at the heals of the Conservatives in the polls. Furthermore, UKIP are calling for a second referendum within the next parliament and several Conservatives have defected to the party.
Of course, this is all speculation, but there is precedent for this.
Following the 2014 Scottish independence referendum, in which Scotland voted to remain inside the United Kingdom, the SNP surged in the polls and went on to win 56/59 Scottish seats in the 2015 election.
While UKIP would be unlikely to command the levels of support the SNP did as they are seen as more radical than the broadly centre-left SNP, a vote to remain would have at least sustained UKIP support in the mid-teens and possibly increased it further.
With Brexit guaranteed, UKIP in its current form is dead. There is a sweet irony to the fact that yes, they have achieved their mission, but by doing so they have hit the self-destruction button in the process.
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