Farage's band of neo-con charlatans have not had a good year, although the fruitcake harvest is clearly early. When it was homosexuals causing floods, or the lies and half-witted spin around immigration and a fear of the other, this was par for the course. UKIP has spent its life trying to deny its connection to the neo-fascist fringe, but every time it does so something else emerges, be it a former blackshirt or an MEP whose sense of public decorum should disqualify him from public office.
The nutter sideshow has not detracted from Boris "I'll never do two jobs" Johnson's declaration that he is seeking a Tory seat in order to contest the next General Election and then enter the lists to compete to lead the hulking corpse from the ditch into the cesspool. Baroness Warsi, who managed to bring an undistinguished career to an end with something approximating to principle, has identified that everything Cameron promised about the Tory reform agenda is skin-deep, and that the drooling dotard fraternity still rules the roost.
This makes the Bouffant Buffoon's entry into the right-wing mire fascinating. From Cameron's point of view his brand of hypocritical, ruthless populism may provide a short-term electoral boost, as the dribblers who are flirting with Farage may not be particularly keen to be associated with a party whose acolytes are flying too close to the right's dark secrets for comfort. However, in terms of centrist, and non-London appeal, this is akin to suggesting that the party has given up on its modernising project altogether. This may appeal to the core vote, but from Labour's perspective it is akin to making a free gift of anyone whose capability of rational thought and holding ethically-consistent positions does not extend to the doublethink necessary to underpin a Tory vote.
Johnson's popularity is a London-centric phenomenon, witnessed by his resentment that the potential price of a "No" in the Scottish referendum will be genuine devolution. At the same time he wants more for London, whether or not it is in the national interest or whether or not there is the basic infrastructure in the form of water, power, transport and health in place to support his crass narrative. Less a noble giant and more Baron Munchausen, I suspect.
If the electoral situation were not so volatile and unclear, then this would all be a sideshow. Instead, we have a need for the rest of the political community to keep drawing attention to the current right-wing spats - ensuring that the narrative that has led to at least a grudging respect for the Coalition is spelt out; namely that there is not an extreme right-wing majority and there never will be. A test of Miliband's leadership will be whether he can recognise that the most fertile territory for Labour is to ensure that the language of inclusivity applies irrespective of the party alignment - building a winning margin for a centre-left government is essential beyond tribalism.
Boris, Etheridge and the rest are dancing round handbags at the moment, circling around the right to win the accolades of their own narrow constituency. The right has nothing to offer beyond windy rhetoric attacking the European Union, and the kind of forked-tongue paternalism that continues to destroy social cohesion and the wider economy. Time to enjoy, but time to expose.