It is difficult to know whether novelty sock puppet Nigel Farage thinks he and his squinty-eyed troop of yokels have really become a force in UK politics or if he is in fact a fully paid-up stooge of a vast conspiracy of right-wing Tories who communicate via secret messages in the weave of their tweed that only they can understand.
It's also difficult to predict whether UKIP will implode before the general election - there are only so many times they can trot out the "on strong medication" excuse or make insincere disavowals of yet another off-colour public statement (accompanied by a panto wink) - or whether the party will manage to win a couple of seats in the parts of the country most resembling Alabama.
It doesn't really matter either way. Sure, a seat or two in the Commons would give Farage a mandate to plague the media with his faux man-of-the-people, fags-and-bitter act for as long as it takes for any Ukip MPs to self-sabotage the party out of existence a la Nick Griffin and the hapless BNP councillors.
But even if the more vacuous elements of the electorate fail to make the connection between him not only looking like a Spitting Image puppet but actually living a satirical sketch - providing the comedy of a public school educated city trader turned politician blaming immigrants for the financial consequences of the economic meltdown and government cuts to public services with a lack of irony akin to being hit round the head repeatedly with an iron - Farage will have fulfilled his role as useful idiot for the right.
Human sock puppet Nigel Farage (image courtesy of Chatham House)
By helping with every utterance to create an atmosphere where xenophobia, contempt for the poor, racism and hatred of the UK's Muslim community is increasingly acceptable, Farage is performing an important service for the hefty rump of right wing Conservative MPs who would love to dispense with Tony Blair clone David Cameron and put someone more suitable in charge. And he has even taken a couple of the more gormless and embarrassingly indiscreet Tory backbenchers off their hands.
By facilitating a lurch to the right by a leadership resembling that of Blair in all but name, Farage is helping lead Cameron to the guillotine and creating an ideal scenario for the Tory right, where the only segment of British society who actually vote are guaranteed to do so on the basis of being furious about exactly what they've been spoon-fed - a perceived disintegration of the country due to the feckless poor and swarthy foreigners.
For those waiting in the wings who would like to see the NHS completely in private hands and the UK free from Europe's pesky environmental regulation and insistence on minimum workers' rights (such as, for example, Owen Paterson), a perfect storm is developing.
Cameron is - a lot like Blair - an embarrassing example of a Tory who thinks a well fed, marginally literate proletariat makes for better serfs than thoroughly whipped and demoralised scum with all their anger pointed at even more whipped and despised foreigners (and blacks, Asians, Scots (thanks Alex Salmond) and whoever else is handy).
For those who know they were born and bred to rule, he clearly needs to be removed and replaced with somebody more suitable to the new Tory ascendency. An end to PR-approved soundbites! The leaders of the country should be free to say what they want without facing opprobrium. After all, they own Great Britain and the public needs to relearn that when the rich say what's good for the rich is good for all, plebs who kick up a fuss deserve nothing more than a sound horse-whipping.
The Liberal Democrats' only achievement in the coalition government has been to demolish whatever credibility they might have had, come across as grabby, specky twats and show themselves to be so desperate for power they'll happily go along with the next Tory administration as long as they get Minister in Charge of Seal Conservation.
Ed Miliband is so gormless Labour don't stand a chance of putting in a decent performance, and Beaker-lookalike Alex Salmond's ego looks set to destroy what little sympathy the left will be able to muster in the aftermath, by proclaiming for himself the right to decide the nature of the next UK government in the wake of his failed independence bid.
You can add to that a totally bankrupt union movement. Instead of burning down the HQ of Wonga and the job centres tasked with dismantling the welfare net one claimant at a time; and signing up and calling out the staff of anywhere using zero hours contracts to deny employees a living wage and sickness and holiday benefits and relentlessly picketing their premises; union leaders are more interested in their six figure wages and huge pension pots.
Like the defunct dictatorships of the left they fetishise, the unions would likely only rouse their bloated, morally and politically bankrupt corpses to crush any nascent movement that might threaten their vested interested by attempting to stand up for workers' rights.
And finally, while they'd probably don a pair of Marigolds to do so, the Tory right set to reclaim their birthright would perhaps even deign to shake hands with Russell Brand.
Brand, a man who appears incapable of practicing the spiritual principle of shutting the fuck up, is demonstrating to the portion of the electorate that will vote in our new rulers that those who oppose the new serfdom are a bunch of bearded egotists who will shout in your face a bit like a charity mugger on meth, using a combination of big words they don't understand and big words he has made up.
But it's not reinforcing the image of the left as ranting, unwashed and unhinged caricatures that is earning Brand a special place in the hearts of those he opposes with such incoherent vehemence.
He has also loudly proclaimed there's no one worth voting for, helping ensure the tiny percentage of politically engaged young people who actually do will be busy buying and reading his big, hardback book (RRP £20, half-price at Waterstones now!) instead of potentially undermining UKIP's claim to have a meaningful voice in UK politics by electing a few Green MPs.
Russell mate, if George Moonbat is calling you "the best thing that has happened to the left in years", uber-reactionary toads like Polly Toynbee and John Lydon are rubbing each other's scent glands and guffawing at your incompetence, and even the staff of the Guardian has realised you're wide open to being mocked and have stopped publishing articles about the sexiness and cultural significance of man-buns for a minute or two to do so, you're unlikely to pose much of a threat to the establishment. Sorry.
So what are we going to get? A Conservative government, with a real Tory in charge, disengagement from Europe and dismantlement of employee rights, environmental and any other legislation aiming to put society before profits and a population cowed into accepting working poverty by the threat of benefit-free unemployment.
Farage, Salmond, Brand, Clegg and Miliband will fade from memory, but the New England they will have helped create will be with us for at least a decade to come.