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Douglas Carswell Should Call for Ukip Leadership Election

18/05/2015 09:55 BST | Updated 17/05/2016 10:59 BST

Nigel Farage knows Ukip probably has a limited shelf-life in British politics and being the egotist he is he can't give up the reigns of command. This is all he has after devoting so many years to the party.

But, he did say he would quit when not elected an MP for Thanet South, which he did for three days and then rescinded his resignation in one of the comically bizarre events of recent British politics.

This has been followed by accusations and resignations over what many party stalwarts see as unseemly un-British behaviour, i.e., not playing the game properly on a bit of sticky wicket.

When it comes down to it, Farage may have just outlived his usefulness. Even though he's still a member of the European Parliament, his party's only real UK MP is Douglas Carswell. And in real terms, Carswell now has the power of the party. For possibly the next five years he, not Farage, will represent Ukip at Westminster. What makes this even more bizarre is his party may dissolve before his term is done.

The four million Brits who voted Ukip were largely making a protest over the EU and immigration. If and when David Cameron and the Tories hold the long awaited EU referendum, time may be called on Ukip. This would be especially true if the nation voted to stay in the EU. Such an outcome would make Ukip and irrelevance.

On the other hand if the country votes to leave Europe, Ukip, while basking in the glory of knowing it was the party that pursued having a poll, would still need to find a roll... something that may not happen. For it to become an institution rather than just a short-term phenomenon, the party must develop radical policies that would set it apart from the long established parties.

Then there is the slight chance that the Prime Minister won't hold a referendum, which would be a blessing for Ukip as a party, keeping its prime reason for being alive.

Yet, in the short term, Mr Carswell should be interim party leader and call for a vote on who the permanent head should be. If Farage wants to be considered, fine. But as things stand now, the party is being lead by a lame duck... a man who lost but refuses to leave, staying on not by popular demand but buy request of some of his lieutenants.

For Ukip to retain credibility to its voters, it must hold a party election with Carswell as the duly elected ring master.