This Daily Mail story seems to have worried a few people:
Farage reveals he is suffering chronic back pain… and it’s so bad he even thought about quitting smoking to see if it would help
Nigel Farage is considering quitting smoking because of ‘terrible’ back pain
UKIP leader wasn’t ‘firing on all cylinders’ at the start of election campaign
Suffering from flare-up of spinal injury and been prescribed sleeping pills
Well, we’ll just have to wait and see. But it goes to show how the hopes of many UK smokers rest upon a single man, to the point that the thought that he might stop smoking induces something like panic.
Simon Clark throws in another spin ball with his own assessment of UKIP:
Ukip is the exception when it comes to tobacco but that’s largely due to the influence of Nigel Farage. If Farage fails to win a seat in parliament and steps down as party leader it’s entirely feasible his successor will quietly drop Ukip’s opposition to the smoking ban and other tobacco control policies. It’s happened before and it could happen again.
So even if Nigel Farage hasn’t stopped smoking (yet), he may not be elected in Thanet South, and will be forced to step down as UKIP leader, and his successor will promptly reverse UKIP’s policy on smoking.
I’m not sure whether this is actually anywhere near the truth. The trouble with Farage is that he outshines everyone else in his party, and most people have no idea how other key figures think. But I suspect that they’re broadly of the same opinion as him on most matters, and that probably includes the smoking ban.
Nevertheless, one might imagine a variety of nightmare scenarios. Like: Nigel Farage is not elected in Thanet South in 10 days time, and steps down as UKIP party leader. The new leader, David Kiljoy, announces that UKIP’s policy on smoking is being brought in line with the other parties. “Let’s face it,” he says, “Nobody wants to see smoking in pubs ever again. Our policy probably cost us millions of votes.” Nigel Farage agrees, announcing he is quitting both smoking and drinking. “If you can’t beat ’em, join ’em,” he declares, adding that he will shortly be joining the board of ASH to help stamp out the last vestiges of smoking in the UK….
We can all let our imaginations run wild. But I intend to vote UKIP regardless of these various pieces of speculation. And we only have to wait another 10 days anyway.