Political pundits were yesterday radically revising downward their estimates of UKIP support following the dramatic discovery that one quarter of all online activity was the work of lone fantasist, Reginald Petulant.
Posting from his squalid islington bedsit, and sustained only by a diet of irn bru and Pringles, Petulant created a complex network of UKIP branches and support organisations, designed to give the impression that people actually give a fuck about what UKIP says.
Petulant explained: “It seemed like a good idea at the time. The only person talking UKIP policy was Nigel Farage – and he just made it up as he went along. I thought: I could do that.
“So I set up a couple of London branches, and started tweeting. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to convince people they were real.
“But two branches weren’t enough. Once you start getting followers, you just want more. Soon I was setting up branches everywhere, and campaigning for a return to traditional values.
“An end to all this homosexual nonsense. And immigrants. And uppity women. And the congestion charge.
“Then it got confusing. I was using anonymous proxies to cover my tracks, discussing policy with other branches. Only, some days, I spent hours in heated debate, only to discover I had just been talking to myself.”
Commentators now believe that up to half of certain regions, including Dorset, Cornwall, and London, were invented by Petulant.
Some, however, are even more sceptical. Arguing that UKIP is a blatant hoax, dreamt up by a man in a pub in Bromley, psephologist professor Johann Curtains, 63, explained: “it’s like the Emperor’s new clothes. I mean, the idea that any rational person would vote for a party with no real policies, led by an Alan B’stard lookalike is beyond preposterous.
“I think if we look into this further, we will find 99% of all UKIP online activity is the work of second year political science students with too much time on their hands.”
In support of his claim, Professor Curtains pointed out that he is very clever and wears glasses.