Farage has made a huge mistake

Published by freemarketconservatives on

BY TOM HARWOOD

The Brexit Party risked throwing away their mantle as Brexit Heroes yesterday as Nigel Farage announced the party will be contesting every seat in England, Scotland, and Wales unless Boris commits to yet another renegotiation. This drastic move could risk letting anti-democratic parties slip through the middle in hundreds of constituencies, and throw Brexit away altogether.

In the last few months alone, a split majority Leave vote in both Brecon and Peterborough delivered two Remain MPs. Now a party hovering around 10% in the polls could slice away the chances of the newly rejuvenated Tories winning crucial leave backing seats.

Nigel Farage could have left this election on a high – seeing his new party targeting just a few seats as some of his own MEPs have been urging. This would give the strongly polling and newly united Conservative Party a clean run at the seats that are needed to end the paralysis and deliver a majority government – the only kind that can deliver Brexit and the domestic reform that has to go alongside it.

Instead the Brexit Party leader appears to have thrown away his chance to have walked away into the sunset, thrown away the chance of cementing his place in history as a winner. Now his likely final election will not see him emerge in first place, but as a spluttering fourth. At the most generous end of the spectrum, the Brexit Party are likely to poll about as many votes (and seats) as UKIP did in 2015. It will be a sorry sight for the man who almost single-handedly made the referendum a reality and who, just as the result was slipping away, shocked the political system and the Conservative Party into finally delivering on its promises.

Having made a remarkable comeback and won an astonishing victory from scratch this year, having turned the tide on Brexit discourse and facilitated what most thought was impossible: a new clean Brexit deal, Farage is now in danger of throwing it all away. By describing Boris’ new deal as “not Brexit”, he is undermining his own credibility. He is setting himself up against titans of the Eurosceptic movement, from Bill Cash to Steve Baker.

Of course Boris’ deal makes compromises, as has been the fundamental nature of every deal in history. Most leavers are sympathetic to criticism of some aspects of the deal, from the financial settlement to the implementation period – but only a tiny fraction would take the absurd step to say it does not facilitate leaving the EU.

The deal clearly lays a credible path to achieving the comprehensive Canada style Free Trade Agreement that all Leavers want to see.

If he continues to attempt to claim that this new deal “is not Brexit”, Farage will be side-lining himself as a fringe figure among Leave voters, the overwhelming majority of whom disagree with him and wanted to see the deal pass.

This coming election will be unpredictable. Every vote matters. The entire exercise is too important to allow for Leaver infighting. That is the job of the hapless People’s Vote campaign and Lib Dem – Labour squabbles.

The Leave side had coalesced around Boris, and must continue to do so for the best chance of a diverging, deal making, free trading, global future. Sadly, the Brexit Party have made that harder today.

Tom Harwood is an award-winning journalist and commentator. Follow him on twitter: @tomhfh


11 Comments

Janet Warrior · November 2, 2019 at 2:13 pm

Absolutely spot on summary, Tom. I am glad Guido have this item flagged on their site as some Leavers are being taken in by fake pro-Leave posts on social media claiming to back Farage’s stance. This is onslaught is clearly being orchestrated to split the Leave vote and Nigel is inadvertently helping.

    Margaret Hamilton · November 2, 2019 at 8:02 pm

    I totally agree with this if people think Farage is going to get a majority of over 350 MP’s which what he would need to walk away they are living in fantasy land. Even if he did do people really think the EU will say ok that’s fine then they are deluded.

James · November 2, 2019 at 4:19 pm

Completely agree with everything you said Tom, I was a registered supporter of the Brexit Party but cancelled my membership today, having researched the deal, what Nigel is saying is not true and he will single handedly, and ironically, cause Brexit to be softened or cancelled. I urge Brexiteers to vote Conservative on December 12th so we can end the 3 and a half years of delay and stop the Marxists from taking over the country.

Moosh · November 2, 2019 at 4:21 pm

Johnson will not alienate the moderates from both remain and leave who account for the vast majority of the voting public, for a relatively meagre number of Brextremists.
Id guess Farage is playing politics, trying to leverage some influence by keeping alive the possibility of reopening the WAB. Johnson’s strongest hand is that he’s got a deal ready to sign off, the public are weary, and even remain mods will fall into line to get Brexit “finally” over the line. Farage’s party is not as relevant as it might have been now Johnson has a deal. Had Johnson not banked the surprise many thought not possible, the dynamic might have been different. Farage, having been part of the solution is now in danger of becoming part of the problem. The voters will not like it.

Moosh · November 2, 2019 at 4:34 pm

Just a quick comment in reference to Janet, I couldn’t agree more, there is clearly an attempt to split the vote by fake Brexiteers claiming Johnson’s deal is not Brexit, stating they will vote for the BP. My guess is most have already decided how they are going to vote. The BP may well fall into line once they realise Johnson is not going to compromise and accept an “unofficial” tactical alliance, or if he does, his deal remains…“do or die”. Johnson calls the shots, not Farage.

    Janet Warrior · November 9, 2019 at 2:19 pm

    Thanks. I sincerely hope Farage will compromise. TBP deserve to win a few seats, though.

Feruza begum · November 2, 2019 at 8:07 pm

This is awesome 👏 thank you I hope Brexit party will read and understand risking Brexit if the split the vote

Mike · November 2, 2019 at 10:23 pm

Tom you talk a lot of sense. I fear that Nigel has gone too far looking for utopia. He must have realised he was backing Boris into a corner there was no way Boris could be seen to do what Nigel said he would have lost all credibility with the majority of Tory voters. Don’t do it Nigel pull go after the north take on labour.

Peter ward · November 3, 2019 at 5:51 am

I am a big supporter of Mr.Farage. I think he talks a lot of common sense most of the time, but on this occasion he has in my opinion blown it big time.p, and allowed his own ego to take charge. Not too late to do the right thing, Nigel.

Tim Hammond · November 3, 2019 at 9:53 pm

Exactly right. Farage should be a hero on 31st January 2020 to all Leavers but he runs the risk of being g seen as the ultimate villain, who defeated Brexit. And for what? Its difficult to believe he is serious about Boris’ deal and he is refusing to even stand for his new party. I had huge respect for him until recently, now he seems to be just ranting.

Wrigley · November 3, 2019 at 11:00 pm

It’d be peak 2019 for Farage to be the cause of Brexit not happening. Thanks for summing up my thoughts Tom.

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