Why the Ultra-Brexiters are now fighting against Brexiter PM Boris Johnson, and why they are ready to risk the whole Brexit project so close to the finishing line.
First published in August 2019.
If Boris Johnson thought he was immune to the type of criticisms that led to the fall of Prime Minister Theresa May (remember the “How can we trust a PM who voted Remain?” narrative), he is in for a rude awakening.
Nothing else will ever satisfy Ultra-Brexiters than the purest form of Brexit: an absolute No-Deal Brexit. But why are they thus fighting against a Brexiter PM when there is finally a chance to step over the Brexit line on 31 October? Why risk the whole Brexit project so close to the finishing line?
Because opposing is their raison de vivre, their only purpose. If Brexit takes place on 31 October, what is the use of the Brexit Party? What is the purpose of Nigel Farage and friends?
The ‘Brexiters War’ won’t be the one many expect to be. Contrary to Boris Johnson – who always dreamt of reaching power and becoming prime minister, or as his own sister remembers, “King of the world”, Nigel Farage doesn’t like to dirty his hands, and rather prefers watching the house of cards tremble from the sidelines.
Farage enjoys being the guy who influences UK politics with his nationalist and anti-EU ideas, and making a lot of money out of it (and his friends too).
Farage’s business is not to govern; it is to oppose and influence. As an MEP, he gets to appear once in a while in the European Parliament to attack the EU before the cameras, and spreads his anti-EU rhetoric on social media thanks to his wealthy friend Arron Banks’ marketing machine.
Nigel Farage’s business it to oppose.
- He opposed the UK joining the euro by joining and campaigning with Ukip.
- He opposed the EU by becoming an MEP in 1999.
- He opposed David Cameron’s Tories and forced him to commit to the 2016 Referendum.
- He opposed the UK remaining in the EU during the Referendum with Banks’ Leave.EU campaign.
- He opposed Theresa May’s Government from day one because she was a Remainer Primer Minister.
- He opposed the Withdrawal Agreement.
- He opposed his former party, created the Brexit Party and absorbed all Ukip’s votes in the 2019 European Elections.
- And now... he opposes Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister who once voted for the Withdrawal Agreement.
As long as Farage opposes, his fanbase is happy to follow him everywhere, happy to pay to become members of his political company, happy to pay to attend his events, happy to pay to become prospective parliamentary candidates...
As long as Farage opposes, he gets invited on the telly and the radio, he gets to write opinion pieces in the Telegraph, as the media think they have to invite him because he is controversial (good for the audience) and because he is influential in UK politics. In 2016, Politico ranked Farage the fifth-most influential MEP, even describing him as “one of the two most effective speakers in the (EU Parliament) chamber.” That is also why LBC offered him his own radio call-in programme a few years ago, and why in the US, Fox News clearly sees him as some kind of an ‘expert’ on Brexit, UK politics and pretty much anything else really...
(Note: apart from Trump’s Fox News America, the rest of the world does not know who the hell Nigel Farage is.)
So, besides being a divisive figure who pits groups and communities against each other, his fear-mongering and his obvious belonging to the Establishment he pretends to fight against, Farage’s opposing is his strength, his bread and butter.
But the moment he would be in control of something like government, everything would change for him and his followers. As the French revolutionaries wrote in 1793, “Great responsibility follows inseparably from great power.” In charge of the British government, Farage would indeed be responsible for every bad decision taken, every mistake, every wrongdoing. No question for him to oppose any longer. His peaceful life on the sidelines, criticising everyone and everything, would be over. It would be a life of hard work governing instead.
Sure, one could argue that a Farage PM could govern like a Trump President, i.e. literally opposing his opposition, pitting people even more against each other... but again, the UK is not the United States. Or are we?
That is why, in the likely situation where a General Election takes place before 31 October, the Brexit Party does intend to oppose the Conservatives in as many constituencies as possible, make them lose, and remain a thorn in the side of the Tories for a long time for having failed to deliver Brexit – thus keeping Nigel Farage, the Brexit Party and Ultra-Brexiters in the business of opposing Remainers, the EU and the Tories for a very long time.🔷
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