Nigel Farage is a charming man. Well, to some. The Brexit Party leader is infamous for his hard-right politics and with the current trajectory of British politics, he may just be too hard to resist. Forget the bouncy head or the rigid mannerisms, Farage won five million votes in an EU election that wasn’t supposed to be in the diary. Now, Farage could just be flirting. Boris may well bluff. But, with an increasingly unlikely chance of any deal this October, Boris could likely swipe right.
The use of Tinder as a metaphor is showcasing what has been known for some time- the Conservative party are being dragged to the right. Let’s hop in the DeLorean and head back to 2014. Farage and his UKIP party had won the European elections, beating the Conservative vote. As we are all probably aware, this spooked out David Cameron badly. Cameron was already struggling with his backbenchers- they thought he was weak. They may have been right. But it’d be unfair to call Cameron a bad leader, without realising that the circumstances surrounding his tenure were unfortunate. When first becoming Prime Minister, Cameron reportedly established a strong relationship with French President Nicolas Sarkozy who was the glue to Cameron’s EU relations. Sarkozy lost his election in 2012, prompting a key figure in Cameron’s diplomatic rapport to be lost. Merkel was also a fellow right-wing thinker, but she had always been careful with Cameron, in mind of his party’s disunity over European relations. The growing Eurozone crisis was also unfortunate: he was forced into making a public announcement that any future treaties involving changes to the composition of the EU could only be implemented as statute only through a referendum. Dave’s hands were tied with the economy which meant that his own ambitions of compassionate Conservatism were dead.
Without doubt, Farage is an opportunist. Today’s speech was an example of that.
His biggest error was not winning the 2010 general election outright, something which inevitably meant that he caved in- to an extent. Sure, he couldn’t reverse his first election result, but he sure had to win his second. The composition of the projected electorate indicated a tight election, with UKIP appearing as though they could split the Conservative vote, following those indicative EU elections in ’14. So, he made the decision that he would hold and election if he won outright in 2015- something which was obviously a play to Euro-sceptics but also to his doubters. He was going to do anything to win. He did, but at a great personal cost. Cameron would now have to ride the possibility of splitting the country and his government, just so he could silence his doubters. This is where Farage comes in. His populist charge in 2014 had forced a nervous government into giving him his greatest political opportunity. Without doubt, Farage is an opportunist. Today’s speech was an example of that.
Fresh from this weekend’s G7 summit in France, the signs were that Britain getting a deal were thin. The shrewd business guy in the White House alluded to the EU’s “toughness”. Although a few days before, Macron suggested that the Withdrawal Agreement could be ‘amended’. Farage didn’t support Theresa May’s deal, and he won’t stand for the same deal being plastered with Boris’ face on it. For Farage, if Boris does get the job done- he’s done. He must try to be the antagonist for any exit. This is him trying to be the Brexit macho man by flexing his most recent European election success. Should Boris get into bed with Farage, the man with no British Parliamentary mandate would shape the future of Britain with a Prime Minister with a remarkably thin mandate. If Boris is to win in any potential election, he must look as though this is his thing. Otherwise, Farage’s hero status may just inflate his chances of splitting the Brexit vote even more. At that point it would be the end for Boris.
At a Brexit Party event, Farage warned Boris of the consequences if Brexit wasn’t completed properly.
Boris’ credibility as a Prime Minister is on the ropes. Parliament has just today seen Labour, the Lib Dems, Greens; SNP and the Independent Group congregate in unison to stop a no-deal (dubbed the Church House Declaration) . In fact, numbers suggest that the government is the minority in the House. Not for the first time this year. They would block absolutely anything that had a hint of Farage to it, highlighting that these next weeks and month are really do or die for Boris at Number 10. If he does cooperate with Farage, it could mean that he wins popular support and calls an early election, which Farage would love. He could effectively claim that the government listened to him. It’s so obviously a trap, Boris.
Don’t get into bed with Mr Charming over there. Put him to bed and you have an election at your fingertips.
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