After a couple of fraught weeks, the civil war that threatened to engulf UKIP has appeared to settle down.  Nigel Farage, having sacked everybody who doesn’t agree with him, has announced that he is going on holiday. This, apparently, was on the advice of Douglas Carswell, the only one of Mr Farage’s critics whom he cannot sack, on the grounds that he doesn’t hold a position from which the party leader can remove him. Mr Carswell owes his authority to being the MP for Clacton, and honour bestowed upon him by the citizens of that part of Essex and not at the pleasure of Nigel Farage. It doubtless gives Mr Farage no pleasure at all that his enemy Carswell is bullet-proofed in that way, but then again railing against authority over which he can exert no control is an important part of the UKIP leader’s stock-in-trade. He can work himself into a lather over it during the next few weeks of sunbathing or bird-watching or whatever other leisure pursuit it is that he has got planned. Then he can come back and find a few more people to sack.

One must wait, of course, to discover whether the UKIP executive committee ratifies Mr Farage’s intention to pack a bucket and spade and head for the sun – it failed to do this the first time he made the offer immediately after the election – but assuming it happens there is little left to be done than to wish him bon vacances. And to exhort him to be back in time to catch the Nuneaton hustings next month when as many candidates for the Labour leadership as make it that far will be put before the BBC cameras to set out their stall.

At the current rate, no candidates will make it that far – the drop-out rate  has been one a week – although that may not necessarily be a bad thing. Much as heavily-worked fields can benefit from being allowed to lie fallow for the odd year, so it may enhance our politics to be without a leader of the Labour Party for a bit. It is not as if the country can think of any urgent need for having a Labour Party at all at the moment – especially since the Scottish Nationalists appear to be loud enough and obnoxious enough to make up two or three oppositions by themselves. For ceremonial purposes, laying wreaths, attending garden parties and so forth, there is always Harriet Harman to make do.  Ms Harman is both adaptable and mobile, travelling everywhere in a pink van which carries important feminist messages about the vital need for women to vote Labour. The van, of course, may have gone missing; however, just as Ed Miliband’s obelisk turned up in a South London industrial estate, it will certain to be that the pink van is parked in a multi-storey car park somewhere and all we need to do is to put Harriet in a trance to get her to remember the bay number.

There are, however, at least three people who think that electing a new Labour leader is important – these three being the candidates themselves, i.e. Andy Burnham, Yvette Cooper and Liz Kendall. (Is Mary Creagh still a candidate or not? One struggles to assemble the enthusiasm to keep up.) Of this trio, the first and last seem to have some idea of why they are standing – Mr Burnham to represent organised labour and Ms Kendall organised Blairism – but the same cannot be said of Ms Cooper. It may just be that she is needing to get out of the house more now that Ed is hanging around after breakfast, but Ms Cooper’s political manifesto such as it is seems to involve a lot of stress on what the Labour Party shouldn’t be and rather less on what it should.  There should, she wrote in the Huffington Post, be no “blood on the floor” which shows a very poor grasp of the historical role of Labour leadership elections. One scanned the HuffPo piece for important information regarding Ms Cooper’s approach, but it seems to boil down to the observation that if Labour are going to form the next Government then they had better find a way of winning the next election.  True that in the last few years of our flirtation with hung parliaments, winning the election and being in power haven’t always been regarded as needing to be synonymous, but one hopes that the return of a majority administration has banished all that dangerous nonsense. If so, Ms Cooper has between now and Nuneaton to work out exactly how Labour might approach winning the next election.

At least Speaker Bercow won his – a curious process that involves a lot of braying in the chamber of the House of Commons and then being pulled into the big chair that sits at the end of it.  David Cameron witnessed this spectacle with gritted teeth, having signed off the last Parliament with an ingnominious attempt to block Bercow’s re-election. Pompous though he may be, Bercow adds to the gaiety of the Commons, and it is probably only a few hardened recidivists who resented his return to a seat so outsized to his stature that he occupies it like a leprechaun sitting on the roof of a DHL warehouse.

The baying process was overseen by Sir Gerald Kaufman – Dame to his friends – who is now the Father of the House, a title bestowed upon its oldest member who has done the longest service. The duties of the Father of the House are not onerous – in that sense they are similar to those of the Leader of the Labour Party – and once a Speaker has been elected, that is pretty much it for the next five years. Explaining all this to a journalist from the Guardian, Mr Kaufman used up the rest of the allotted interview time to pass opinion on the new Scottish Nationalists who form part of his paternity suite. They are, he said, “goons” and guilty of “infantile behaviour”. This is not because they want an independent Scotland or an end to austerity, but because they have been larking about in the chamber since they arrived there, taking pictures of themselves pretending to be the prime minister and sitting in the seat that is, by ancient and venerable tradition, reserved for Dennis Skinner. The nats could break up an historic union that has been extant for four hundred years and most of us would barely notice; but if you show disrespect to Dennis Skinner then Gerald Kaufman is only the first in a long line of people you will have to answer to.  By the end of the week, a sort of peace had been restored, with the agreement that the nats will sit all along the bench that Mr Skinner occupies, but not in his seat itself, and certainly not on his lap. The Scottish Nationlaists are not in anybody’s lap, or in anybody’s pocket, even if the release of an investigation by the end of the week seems to have confirmed that Nicola Sturgeon did say that she would have preferred to have David Cameron as prime minister. The message to Scotland therefore is don’t day that England never gives you what you ask for.

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