On the day UKIP finally chose its new leader to replace Nigel Farage, an unprecedented thunderstorm hit Britain. Not the thunderstorm that dumped almost half a month's rain in the east, south and south-east of England within hours.
The thunderstorm that smashed the headlines on Friday morning was the news that former UKIP Head of Media had defected to the Conservatives. Why was that big news, anyway? Because this could be seen as a first step towards the former UKIP leader also joining the Tories.
Nearly promising that a mass exodus was on the way (figures show that 50,000 new members joined the Tories during Summer), Alexandra Phillips spoke to BBC Radio 4's Today programme and explained: "There's a lot of suspicion, there's a lot of jealousy, there's a lot of bitterness and anger (within UKIP)".
She had nothing but praises for the Conservatives and the Prime Minister: "I am extremely impressed by Mrs May's conviction when it comes to selective education. I am currently reassured by what she's saying about Brexit, and I'm also optimistic about Britain's future energy security. I think those three key issues are in the UKIP 2015 manifesto. They're now actually being conducted in Parliament, which is excellent."
Is that enough to get the Big Player interested in a 'transfer' to the Conservatives? The Mercato is certainly open and the right-wing of the Conservatives might just be as interested too, especially after having recently shown their disapproval of the government's Brexit-near-halt. Although UKIP now has a new face in the person of Diane James, it would certainly be extremely reluctant, to say the least, at seeing its best player move to the rival team.
Nigel Farage has been a key player of the team for over 24 years and its captain for the last ten years, before leading the team one last time to victory last June when UKIP won the 'Brexit Championship Final'. Farage is currently available on a free transfer this autumn and it would be very surprising if the Tories weren't keen to tempt the player with a new challenge back in the team that saw him start his career over 30 years ago.
A skilful populist and smart politician, the impatient Nigel Farage knows that the best way to get what he wants is actually... to be patient. Very patient. First, he must be thankful to his supporters and pretend that it's the end (It clearly is the end, just not the end of his political career yet): "I am still four-square behind this party and its aims", "I've done my bit", "I want my life back". Then he must adopt a low-profile. A very low profile. He must keep away from the media for a while to come back as a saviour, a hero. Britain loves its heroes.
In the meantime, behind the scene, Eurosceptic fanatics such as Jacob Rees-Mogg in the Conservatives will tempt him with a parliamentary seat he could easily win in a by-election in a constituency somewhere in the middle of nowhere. Farage will certainly try to raise the bid further and want more than an easy seat. A guaranty. The guaranty he will get the required support when time comes: 15% of the Parliamentary Party ready to support him and write to the Chairman of the 1922 Committee so that the Parliamentary Party passes a vote of no confidence in the PM.
Nigel Farage knows such a move to join the Conservatives would give him a greater platform and a definite chance to be elected MP, which he so far failed to achieve with UKIP. He knows that because of the current British electoral system, UKIP is condemned to remain a protest movement that can tickle the two main parties, but never will have a chance to reach power.
Once all the conditions are met between the two sides, Nigel Farage will effectively defect from the embattled UKIP to the Tories and receive a very warm welcome by the Rees-Mogg team. This transfer of the year will totally eclipse the Labour Party internal wars in the media and absolutely guaranty a mass swing from UKIP supporters to the Conservatives before and during the next General Election.
Farage's "defection" or "transfer" (Whatever wording they will use in the press conference) will come with a promise and will be seen as the only viable alternative to Theresa May. Would she fail to deliver Brexit, he will not.
The likes of Boris Johnson, Liam Fox and David Davis would stand no chance against a full-throttle Tory-equipped Farage in a leadership election. Neither would the Labour leader in a General Election, whether it be Corbyn or Smith.
(Originally published at www.byline.com on September 19, 2016.)