In 2016 on the eve of the Brexit Referendum result, Nigel Farage stood before the Press declaring that he felt Leave had lost the vote. He concluded that he, and many other campaigners, had done everything they could to take Britain out of the EU. Even hardened Brexiteers, Boris Johnson and Co. felt the same, as unlike the Remain campaigners, no party had been organised in case of victory.
Dejected, voters on the Leave side went to bed expecting to remain within the EU construct. But, when they woke on that June morning, dejection turned to elation. A political earthquake of seismic proportions had rocked, not only the UK, but the wider world. Instead of rejecting the opportunity of an independent nation, British voters had grasped it with both hands. And in the ensuing years where politicians from all parties have thwarted, blocked and openly waged war on the democratic vote of the Brexit mandate, it has become clear they’ve had enough.
As we near three years since the historic decision was made, no main-stream political party has a clear vision for Brexit Britain. Their consistent ideologies when it comes to leaving the EU have become so murky, that as the EU Elections surge closer, many political pundits are wondering whether we are seeing a new landscape of British politics altogether.
This couldn’t come at a more opportune moment. Many Leave voters are crying out for a new party to call their political home, after feeling abandoned by the mainstream. Labour can’t decide with which side they fall on, confusing both Remain and Leave voters. The Conservatives have decimated all trust in both party and politics in general. The Lib Dems want to stop Brexit altogether, as do the Green Party. And the recent band of party defectors – the Change UK party – can’t even decide on the name they want to use. Change UK, The Independent Group, the “Tiggers”? Which is it?
Sadly, these parties represent nothing new. It is the status quo masquerading as electoral change. British politics rebranded, but still the same product, the same lies, the same ideologies, the same scaremongering. No matter how many times they state, “we will honour the vote of the EU Referendum”, it doesn’t detract from the reality that they will fight against implementing it.
So, when Nigel Farage emerged onto the stage in Bristol to launch his new political venture, the Brexit Party, there was much intrigue. At first, mostly to see what the man behind arguably the biggest political shock in the last decade would say. But as he began to speak, and as candidates were announced who would stand for the Brexit Party in the upcoming European Elections, people began to take notice for another reason entirely.
Here was a political party that wasn’t confused in its messaging. They had a goal, to deliver Brexit. They had a plethora of candidates from all walks of life – a nurse, a local businessman, a charity leader, a veteran. Real people who could reach out to a real public. This wasn’t just skin-deep politics that attempted to sell voters a vacant rhetoric. There was an aim, to deliver Brexit and change politics altogether.
With this messaging and simplistic policy, the Brexit Party is truly reaping the benefits. After launching over a week ago, Nigel Farage’s political assembly is now favourite to not only win the EU Elections, but to completely eradicate any competition. And what is more strikingly obvious, is how underprepared the Remain campaign has been.
Similarly, like 2016, arrogantly these posturing politicians have neglected to take Mr Farage and his Brexit ilk seriously. Once again, they have naively written him off as a far-right bigot with no power. And once again, these politicians-of-old don’t seem to have any real understanding of the British public’s mood outside the walls of London.
People are fed up. They’ve reached their tethers end. The Brexit debate is now the Brexit debacle and on and on the vicious seeds are continuously sowed. The public consistently look on in shock, confusion and, in some cases, horror at the behaviour of Parliament and the abject contempt for the democratic processes we all hold so dear. The optics are damning, and many would argue, no amount of manifesto promises or new leadership of any of the mainstream parties can save Westminster Palace from public scorn.
Unlike the Brexit Party, the Change UK, aka Independent Group, aka “Tiggers” party couldn’t have had a shoddier launch. Within 24 hours two of their candidates were either ejected or resigned from the party for offensive and racists tweets. And with every appearance, whether it be TalkRadio or the BBC’s Newsnight, it became more and more obvious that Change UK was ‘More of the same UK’.
The same day, Farage was announcing more candidates too. And unlike Change UK, Labour or the Conservatives, the Brexit Party continued with the theme of variety. This time in the shape of Claire Fox – a politically-left campaigner. You could see it on the political media’s faces the pure shock at her announcement of teaming up with Nigel Farage. They knew, as did the public, that this was the Brexit Party’s way of showing the political class, that unlike them they could unite Britain.
As it stands, the Brexit Party is storming ahead in the EU Election polls. Pollsters on all sides show the same result. The Brexit Party leading, followed by Labour, then the Conservatives, Green Party, Lib Dems, Change UK, UKIP and then the SNP. That is an astonishing result from a party less than two weeks old.
But will the Remain side begin to take Farage seriously? Will they join forces as a Remain ticket to bolster Brexit’s bubble? It doesn’t look likely. Change UK have been less than enthusiastic about forming a coalition. Instead, in a leaked email, their plan was to destroy all competition including those parties in favour of Remain. They also alienated Labour voters declaring that they would refuse to bring down Theresa May’s Government in a vote of no confidence. This further perpetuated the feeling that here was a Party that was more than happy embracing the status quo.
The unfortunate truth for Remainers is evident in their reaction to Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party success. They can’t rationally argue against it. How can they expect the public to disagree with Farage’s definitive political message that ‘the political elite have betrayed your trust, and in doing so, embarrassed this great Nation on the world stage?’ Ask any Brexit voter, whether Leave or Remain, and they’ll second that notion. So instead, ardent Remainers have willing strolled down the labelling lane. Misogynist, racist, sexist; easy labels which sadly have lost all impact. So much so, that the British public aren’t paying attention anymore. Even Labour candidate, Lord Adonis, incredibly released a video begging Labour Brexiteers to not vote for their own Party. This is how incessant Farage has made Remain campaigners, begging their own Party voters to vote foranother political Party!
It is almost certain that Britain will have to take part in the European Elections in May. For the Conservatives, Labour and the rest of the mainstream political Parties, it will be a bloodbath. And whilst Westminster may be shocked, the public won’t be, and neither will Farage and the Brexit Party. After all, simply entering the EU Elections confirms the Brexit Party’s clear and crisp message of national humiliation. Three months after Britain was meant to leave the EU through a democratic referendum, instead we would be campaigning to nominate European Parliamentarians, and at a Taxpayer cost of £109 million. How can Remainers compete with such potent and truthful messaging?
I fundamentally believe that the EU Elections will be more than just a turning-point in British politics. Westminster is facing a maelstrom of public anger and frustration unlike ever before. Its uniqueness isn’t in demonstrating, marching or signing petitions. Unlike the Remain side, Leaver’s have always understood that these forms of protest rarely garner results. The battlefield will be at the ballot boxes up and down the country. The placards will be the pens marking the crosses. The triumph won’t be the shutting down of Parliament Square, but the entire political re-shaping of those who inhabit it’s Palace.
The Brexit Party is well on its way to domination, and unlike in 2016 when Leave voters crept into their beds heavy with the feeling of defeat, this time will be different. For the results won’t be the seismic shock of the Brexit referendum, but a new dawn in British politics. One where the landscape of Westminster Palace will never be the same again.