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Ukip: Desperate Superheroes or Deluded Wannabes

25/03/2013 18:41 GMT | Updated 25/05/2013 10:12 BST

At times of crisis heroes will step forth and fight the forces of darkness for us. We know from films and comic books that these will be modest individuals with unique talents and they will come together as one to lead us to a brighter future.

This sort of simplistic narrative seems to be driving Ukip. But there are problems with such a mythology. As Alan Moore showed us with his Watchmen, heroes must be viewed with great suspicion. Rather than pure of heart, just and selfless, Moore's heroes had severe, debilitating and dangerous character flaws. They were delusional, power-hungry, narcissistic, out-of-touch, self-important and impotent. Not good qualities for those seeking to shape society.

As Ukip boasts of new candidates, sidles up to Rupert Murdoch and grandiosely announces possible deals within a fantastical coalition, the party looks rather more Watchmen than Fantastic Four.

It is important to acknowledge Ukip's joy at coming second in the Eastleigh by-election, to the beleaguered Lib Dems. However, it is a trifle too early for Nigel Farage to start planning a coalition. Nevertheless, Farage, has said his party would consider a deal with the Tories if Boris Johnson was leader. Last year he told the Ukip annual conference: "He's the only leading Conservative who stands up and says things many Ukip members agree with." Two problems with this fantasy - Boris is not an MP and Ukip doesn't have any.

Farage has more recently suggested his party would consider a deal with the Tories if Michael Gove replaced Cameron - who he described as "the major obstacle". He told the BBC: "If someone pragmatic, grown-up and sensible like Michael Gove was leader then you might think we could sit round the table and have a proper discussion".

According to Farage, he has not met Gove to discuss possible deals. However, he recently had dinner with Gove's old boss Rupert Murdoch and reportedly told him that he would form a pact with the Tories if Cameron was pushed out. Mr Farage hasn't forgiven Cameron for telling a radio show in 2006 that Ukip is a party of "fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists". To dwell on those insults is one thing but for Farage to cite them as the reason for not doing a deal with the Tories is ingenuous. The primary reason Ukip can't do a deal with the Tories is because it hasn't won a single parliamentary seat since being formed in 1993.

Like a wannabe superhero, with its faded red, white and blue cape hanging by the door, Ukip lives in hope. It recently gained the expertise of one of Murdoch's brightest and best to lead its press campaign. Paul McMullan will be a familiar face to anyone who followed the News of the World phone hacking scandal and the resultant Leveson Inquiry. He's the self-confessed phone hacker who asserted to Lord Leveson that "privacy is for paedos". McMullan used to work under Rebekah Brooks and Cameron's sacked spin doctor Andy Coulson, so he is from quite a stable of journalistic and PR expertise.

Not content to pass on his PR wisdom to Ukip, McMullan is also standing for the party in forthcoming council elections. Outrage at his dear old mum being banned by Europe from reusing jam jars seems to be the thing that has pushed the skulking hack into the political limelight. He told the East Kent Mercury: "There has to come a time when enough is enough."

Ukip is bursting, like the chest of an asthmatic Hulk, under press expertise. Sky commentator John Gaunt also recently joined. Gaunt was paraded before the party at the spring conference in Exeter. The recent appointments follow that of disgraced Tory minister Neil Hamilton, who campaigned in Eastleigh like a cheery geology teacher on a day trip.

Superheroes? Maybe not. Superficially alluring to a small subsection of disenchanted Tory voters? Certainly. Able to push a jittery Tory party to the right, despite having few policies and no MPs? Quite possibly.