Nigel Farage could end up losing everything: his political credibility, any sense of leadership of the Brexit movement and maybe losing Brexit altogether.
First published in November 2019.
Amid continuous and pressing calls for Nigel Farage to withdraw his party’s entire list of candidates remaining in the General Election race (300 of them) in order to help Boris Johnson and the Conservatives secure a majority in the House of Commons on 12 December – including from the former UKIP donor and Leave.EU founder Arron Banks who gave his old mate Farage a ultimatum “48 hours to save Brexit” – the Milton Keynes branch of the Brexit Party has branded its party leader a “traitor”.
They see the withdrawal of Brexit Party candidates from Conservative-held seats as so wrong that they feel betrayed by the very man who made Brexit possible in the first place, Nigel Farage.
Some Brexit Party supporters disagreed with the branch and still praised Farage on the Facebook page with comments such as “I think this man is a hero of politics and should be treated the respect he has earned and deserves!” , “I’d rather let Nigel do his thing. He got us Brexit.” or “Farage changed his view as Boris has stated if he gets a majority, then he will go for a Canada + type FTA during the transition period... Makes perfect sense to me.”
Others even questioned the branch’s motivation and loyalty with “What would you all have prefered? Corbyn in Number 10?” and “Calling a man who has devoted his life to Brexit a traitor for being a realist in the current elections! You should feel ashamed.”
Most comments on the Milton Keynes branch’s Facebook post, however, were from Facebook users mocking either the page or the anti-EU party.
Someone wrote, “How you people ever expect to be taken seriously is beyond me.” Another one wondered whether the page was actually a fake Brexit Party page, “Hang on, this page is parody isn’t it? It can’t be serious.”
Then, there were a few told-you-sos as well, “Bringing out the gammons big style. Farage is a con man. We’ve told you that all along. If only you had listened to us.”
But the mockeries only hide a forest of discontent that can only understood by looking closely at what is currently happening withing the Brexit Party itself.
There has been a growing feeling among the party activits, supporters and parliamentary candidates that both Nigel Farage’s decision and undecision were wrong and disrupting the party. As soon as Farage announced his party would not be competing Conservative-held seats this week, the Brexit Party social media team pulled all their Facebook ads attacking Boris Johnson’s deal. Their new focus: the Labour Party.
But many now feel cheated and betrayed by Farage after having spent their time, energy and money to help him and the party to prepare for the General Election campaign.
(update: Nigel Farage has since explained that parliamentary candidates who have paid £100 together with their application and have been asked to stand down for a Tory candidate will get a refund.)
For the first time of his political career as an anti-EU leader, Farage finds himself incapable of leading the Brexit movement he created after being surrounded by Brexiters of all sorts – his party’s supporters, parliamentary candidates, MEPs and team, his wealthy allies, his ERG allies – totally split in the kind of outcome they expect for the General Election and tearing themselves and the Brexit Party apart.
In his own party, some want a formal Leave Alliance, some prefer a looser non-agression pact with the Conservatives, while others simply despise the idea of a pact with a prime minister who has negotiated what they consider not to be the real Brexit. Their real – ultra-hard no-deal – Brexit.
In this situation, whatever his ultimate decision, by either standing down some of his party’s candidates, all of them or none, Nigel Farage could only end up losing everything: his political credibility, any sense of leadership of the Brexit movement and maybe losing Brexit altogether.🔷
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