A piece I authored for the European Movement NI web site, in a purely personal capacity.
UKIP provided a welcome reminder last week that it really is a bunch of “fruitcakes”, with its contention that recent flooding in the UK was God’s punishment for same-sex marriage. “Ah, no, it wasn’t UKIP who said that, it was one member now suspended”, Mr Farage may insist, but the fact is this now happens all the time in UKIP.
A more interesting aspect to UKIP came last year when its entire leadership in Scotland was stood down. Meanwhile, in Northern Ireland, its prospective European candidate in Northern Ireland also turned out to be a fruitcake with some, well, interesting tweets…
However, the real issue is that UKIP’s core policy would actually leave the UK anything but “independent”; in fact, it would leave it in pieces.
For varying reasons, there is no real support in Scotland or Wales to leave the EU. If it became evident that a overwhelming anti-EU vote in England could force the UK out of the EU, Scotland (particularly) and Wales may well opt out of the UK – not just because they want to remain in the EU, but also because it would be further evidence of how different their political interests are from England’s. It is possible that an EU exit would also see the constitutional question put back on the table in Northern Ireland in a way which is not currently conceivable (not least if there are ructions in Scotland).
In short, it is hard to see how the UK stays together outside the EU. That’s one for Conservatives and Unionists to ponder, surely.