UKIP is going into the 2017 elections with its very future on the line.
Having accomplished its primary objective in getting the UK out of the European Union, UKIP is searching for a purpose. If that was not bad enough, the party is beset by internet feuding, being deliberately undermined by former donor Arron Banks and ex-party leader Nigel Farage and struggling financially.
There are, in total, 1,277 candidates from populist and far right parties standing in the county council, local, and mayoral elections taking place on 4th May. This is a drop of 658 candidates from 1935 overall standing in the same regions’ last election cycles.
This reflects a significant decline in the willingness and ability of the far right to engage in democratic politics. Perhaps most striking is the continuing decline of the British National Party which has managed to stand a mere 10 candidates in the county council elections, down from a record 744 in 2007.
In addition, the significant decline in UKIP’s number of candidates is emblematic of its current crisis, having haemorrhaged leading figures, donors and members since its success in the EU Referendum.
This is the first electoral cycle where UKIP councillors are up for re-election in large numbers, with 120 seats at stake. However, their prospects are not with, with some estimates suggesting that the party could lose 80-90 seats.
Indeed, such is the feeling of gloom that there are many wards in which sitting UKIP councillors have decided not to put themselves forward for re-election.
If UKIP achieves dire results in May, as is expected, it could be another nail in the coffin for the struggling party.
HOPE not hate will be working hard to make that happen.