Isn't the Farage/Carswell spat a hoot? Ukip's only MP attacked and threatened with excommunication by the former leader; a major donor and former member of the party aims for Carswell's deselection so that said donor can run for the seat in 2020. Great news for the Tories, as the movement which once threatened to undermine their base implodes and reveals its internal contradictions.
The Old Ukip was founded on the basis of a libertarian constitutionalist idea. The state was too big, too interfering and could not be tamed because so many decisions were delegated to Brussels. There was a democratic deficit and the new decision-makers were too statist in their outlook. This was the Ukip of retired colonels and rural blue-rinsers; former Tories who thought the Tories had abandoned traditional views.
New Ukip thought it could popularise its constitutional cause by rallying support from people who usually wouldn't care in the slightest about constitutional matters. The genius of Newkip was to find an issue which was a result of the constitutional malaise but which could be explained in terms that "ordinary" people could get to grips with. Newkip found that in the immigration issue.
The trouble was that Old Ukip never cared about immigration. The Douglas Carswells and Devils Kitchens of this land were not against people coming from anywhere in the world to share in Britain's strength and success. They simply wanted a strong rule-of-law system with a small state and low taxes. So long as rhe system was robust and laisser-faire then the rest was gravy.
These contradictions became abundently clear during the referendum. Ukip and Leave forged a coalition of constitutional libertarians and out-and-out racists. That could never be sustained. Libertarian intellectuals could hold their noses while the referendum campaign played out, but were never going to be able to tolerate the nativist wing once the dust had settled. Carswell, notably, refused to endorse the comments made by Farage about Aids victims coming to Britain as health tourists, for example. While Gove and Johnson spoke up for free trade and Global Britain, Newkip talked about moratoriums on immigration and publicised photoshopped images of darl-skinned people.
Stoke crystallised all this: for the first time Ukip put up a BNP-style candidate in a constituency it thought it could win - based on the huge Leave majority in the area. It failed. The rightwing vote split between the Tories and Ukip; with presumably plenty of tacticsl voting by moderates. Nuttall proved he is nothing but a Farage Wannabe, even dressing up in a tweed beret on the campaign trail.
Ukip's main goal seems to have been realised; the UK is leaving the European Union. However Ukip is now in its death throes and will go the way of the BNP and other nasty parties of the past. There simply aren't enough racists in Britain to sustain these numpties.
This is great news for the moderates and "classical liberals". Carswell and his herd will head back towards the Tory fold, hopefully bolstering that party's libertarian credentials. Ukip's demise will show the government and the world that the Leave vote was not a call to nativist and protectionist arms. The free-market free-enterprise free-trade open global Britain dream becomes more possible than it has been for decades.
And of course the irony is that to make it possible, all Nigel had to do was to betray the liberal worldview of his younger days.