Can Barage The Farage
The upcoming UK elections have taken a turn for the strange, as the Brexit Party announced it will not contest any of the 317 seats held by the Conservative party. Instead, it will focus on gaining a foothold in all Labour and Lib Dem constituencies, in favour of a mega-Brexit.
The good news is that now there won’t be a party without a manifesto replacing the Conservatives. The bad news is that any seat lost by Labour will now be filled by a party without a manifesto.
In case you’re confusing this with the Brexit party from last week, that said the Boris deal “was not Brexit” and a “betrayal of the people”, it has now morphed into a semi-skimmed Brexit party.
The Brexit Party’s official stance is that because Boris Johnson will not extend beyond 2020, and because he will push for a “Canada-Style” free trade deal without political alignment, they will not oppose the Conservatives.
So, they’ve gone from “we need to physically move the UK to the other side of the planet and commit all trade to Tuvalu. Otherwise, it’s not Brexit” to “Why not get one of those enhanced free trade deals with the largest trade block we’re right next to”.
Of course, this strategy doesn’t come without problems.
Firstly, Boris’ word is worth about as much as a vote for the Liberal Democrats, so he really could go either way after the election. Judging by his track record, the outcome should lie somewhere between the UK adopting the Euro and banning women from the House of Commons.
Second, a Canada-style deal will include lots of regulatory alignment with the EU, and that might upset those who voted for the Brexit party in the first place. In which case, what are they going to call a party to opposed the Brexit party?
Let’s also remember that countries like Denmark and Poland are in the same Union, which means the EU is about as politically aligned as Ted Cruz and Greta Thunberg. But it was never going to be about facts, was it?
The Brexit party’s pivot has caused a bit of outrage, as the 317 candidates who were supposed to be running already incurred significant costs. Some candidates spent over £10k on their campaigns already and a total of £31,700 in administrative fees to the Brexit party have already been paid.
Don’t be fooled, even before this debacle you couldn’t trust Nigel to run a bath without disappearing. But, this isn’t the last you’ll likely see of him. Word on the street is that Boris Johnson offered Nigel peerage, meaning he can soon be found in the House of Lords among other unelected elites.
Although, if his seat in the European Parliament is anything to go by, it should be the last place he’ll be.