Gerard Batten Interview
It is possibly the first time UKIP in twenty years that UKIP has a purpose. And that is no small thing. There is a historically important role - and it may be UKIP's. I cannot concede that UKIP got us a referendum nor that they won it - nor even that a referendum was such a good thing. UKIP was founded on the idea that independence could not be won by referendum.
But now we are in a very strange political situation in Britain and we may need UKIP. A month ago we might have thought that UKIP was finished but it could well be that Gerard Batten, a founder member, a rare survivor of purges and yet a man thought to be of integrity, could pull it back together and renew its potency.
The people won a referendum but what is that? It is only a command shouted at a reluctant elite. The people who demand Brexit are not organised but depend for the implemetation of their will on a government not so strongly inclined to obey, a PM who did not even support our cause, barely understands it and seems not competent to deliver even if she was so inclined.
Now we need UKIP.
Batten faces challenges that most of us would have thought overwhelming. He has inherited a party with its morale ripped to shreds by one leader who deserted them and another who betrayed their trust - and others who went almost un-noticed.
His party has fallen victim of that most dreadful modern weapon of dirty oppression, the abuse of the libel laws to bankrupt dissident political groups.
The party has been looted by opportunists.
And yet Batten has created hope.
Not least, many who would return fear that UKIP will forget its liberal origins and become a party of the radical Right. There are problems that the British are too cowardly to address and they hate nothing more than men who do have the courage to talk of those problems.
Batten has probably saved UKIP from the worst onslaught of the libel courts. People have given money because they have confidence in his leadership and understanding of the task before UKIP.
UKIP is and remains a member of the international anti-EU family. Most of us will cannot join UKIP, being otherwise committed or not British, but UKIP has a role and a leader and commands respect.