Farage and Carswell rivalry escalates
In the dark rooms of parliament where so often there is scheming and plotting afoot, the respected writer and journalist Tim Shipman suggests that some years ago those of the Eurosceptic wing of the Tory party had finally achieved what they’d desired for decades - an in/out referendum. The likes of Daniel Hannan, Douglas Carswell, Mark Reckless and others had sat and discussed the best strategy to adopt in order to grasp the opportunity of a lifetime.
Conservatives had been tearing strips off each other over Europe for decades, and infighting as well as a near all out civil war had occurred as a result of the divisive European Union. There were seasoned veterans who had fought the Major government over the Maastricht Treaty in the early nineties, as well as ambitious young MP’s like Carswell.
It was decided at the time, according to Shipman, that UKIP and Nigel Farage posed a serious issue; they had an image problem with racism. Any European campaign for leaving the EU would inevitably involve Farage, UKIP and their controversial donor, the widely loathed Arron Banks. In order to counter this, it was agreed that the Tories needed to send somebody undercover to negate the more extreme attitudes held in UKIP during the campaign.
Step forward Douglas Carswell, who managed to contest and win the by-election in his Clacton constituency on behalf of UKIP, becoming their one and only MP. Since then there have been many who have reported on a frosty relationship between Carswell and former leader Farage, with the main reason cited as his damaged ego having lost his own attempt to become an MP in Thanet South in the 2015 general election.
Since then, hostilities have apparently erupted between the two and hit the mainstream media with their internal war. Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme amid reports that Carswell is in talks with the Tories about switching back, Farage said: “The time has now come to have a clean break. To make sure we don’t have influences like Carswell taking us away from the key arguments like immigration.
“There have been some in UKIP who want to turn us into a mainstream political party with very bland messages and I would say UKIP is a radical party or it is nothing.
“This question of immigration is still the number one issue in the minds of voters in this country. UKIP must not be squeamish about it. People like Douglas Carswell wrote in the Times last year we should not make immigration synonymous with EU membership. I thought, ‘Crikey, I have spent 10 years trying to do that very thing’.”
The diatribe that Farage wrote for The Telegraph says more or less the same thing and has allegedly been sparked by Carswell helping to block a peerage for the former UKIP leader.
The remarks were met with slight bafflement from most reputable sources, having seen his party recently humiliated by a Labour party on life support in the Stoke by-election. Farage himself insisting that they perhaps didn’t hammer immigration enough is laughable, too, with the crux of Nuttall’s campaign in Stoke being that of immigration before he was outed as a serial liar and pantomime jester.
Farage insisted that his party should be that of the anti-establishment and ‘radical’, not even a week after he was pictured in the multi-million pound hotel owned by Donald Trump having dinner with the president. Arron Banks has since announced that he will stand against Carswell in Clacton, perhaps fancying himself as a British Trump, but lacking a shred of likeability considering he’s just accused Hillsborough victims of whining about one of the worst tragedies in football history, covered up by the establishment.
Banks and Farage have also recently set up an anti-establishment news outlet Westmonster, pitching itself as anti-establishment despite being run by a billionaire and a politician. Carswell himself seems to have taken the spat in good grace, making a number of sly remarks on Twitter but keeping largely quiet as he is, was, and is set to be the only UKIP politician to actually win an election.