Should UKIP do some sort of electoral deal with the Conservative Party? This is being talked about at the moment: Cameron pledges himself to a referendum on Britain’s membership of the EU, Nigel Farage agrees not to field candidates against a bunch of Tory MPs somehow characterised as Eurosceptic. I can see how this would appeal to the Prime Minister, languishing fifteen points behind Labour in the opinion polls. But what good will it do Farage? UKIP has spent a considerable amount of time and energy attempting to convince people that it is not a single issue party, but rather a sort of revamped Monday Club led by nicer people. Strike such a deal and that work will be undone immediately.
And Farage should ask the Lib Dems if commitments to referenda work out quite the way they envisaged. Both UKIP and Labour are in positions of comparative strength right now and there seems to be no reason why this strength should fade (markedly) over the next two years. In both cases they should remain aloof from deals with parties which are beginning to fear calamity.