I have written twice in the last three weeks that I thought Nuttall would lose in Stoke. He did but it was the manner of his defeat that did the real damage to UKIP. Stoke, as Farage said, was a very winnable seat but Nuttall's campaign simply collapsed in a morass of fake news and untruths. He never played for Tranmere. He never got a PhD in anything and worst of all he never lost any close friends in the Hillsborough disaster. He was exposed as a Walter Mitty fantasist that no sensible person could vote for.
Nuttall owed his MEP seat to Farage. In 2009 UKIP North West voted for Beaman as their number one MEP candidate but after that result Beaman having worked for many years to get that position on the UKIP slate mysteriously stood down under pressure from Farage. I well remember the late Piers Merchant UKIP's then returning officer telling me this. Thus Nuttall became an MEP and Farage yes man. As important it kept other MEPs not so beholden to Farage off the main media.
Nuttall was then appointed party chairman by Farage in which position I met him and found him a man of little intellect or ability.
Farage surrounded himself with Yes persons to keep those of real talent out of the power group, Towler, Duffy, Crowther etc but Nuttall was the most important. When Nuttall beame leader he kept on Towler and Duffy who were clearly visible in the Stoke debacle with I think Duffy saying the immortal words, "where the f**** the car", so Nuttall could make good his escape from his disaster like Napoleon after Waterloo.
He had followed the tactics that Farage had failed with seven times before.. Parachute into a by-election in a constituency you have never been too, Spend a lot of money, Get the UKIP army to support you and get defeated. People know a phoney candidate who does not want to represent them but only wants to get his bum on the green leather.
The same night the Tories pulled off a stunning victory with a local candidate whose only previous political experience had been as a Parish councillor. She was clearly committed to Copeland. Stoke was a mere convenience for Nuttall.
I watched QT from Stoke last night. Several of the locals who spoke from the floor would have made far better candidates than Nuttall. Diane James came closest for UKIP in a a tough contest in Eastleigh where she was a local, picked by the local party.
The lesson for UKIP is clear, Let the local party pick a local candidate and forget about Nuttall and his ilk. Learn from the Lib Dems who won with a very inexperienced but local candidate in Richmond but I am afraid UKIP never forgets its petty grudges and like the Bourbons learns nothing..
The pity is the loyal UKIP foot soldiers have been so betrayed by such a corrupt regime and I fear the war is lost.
There will be another by-election coming up in Andy Burnham's seat on Merseyside. That is where Nuttall should have stood but it may already be too late