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Wolves of Westminster

UK Political News and Opinion

Nigel Farage’s electoral strategy is one of self-harm – Luke George

3 min read
4 November 2019 | OPINION

Three and a half years after 17.4 million people voted to leave the European Union, barely any progress has been made. After countless extensions, negotiations and votes in Parliament, UK politics are at a stalemate. The Conservative Party wants to implement the wish of the 52% who voted to leave the EU, whereas Labour and the Liberal Democrats want us to remain in the European Union.

To break this deadlock, Boris Johnson has called a General Election that Parliament finally agreed upon. However, the biggest threat faced by Boris Johnson, the Conservatives and indeed Brexit itself in this election is not Labour or even the Liberal Democrats, but Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party.

What Nigel Farage has achieved with the Brexit Party in its very short lifespan is quite remarkable – in less than a year from being formed, the Brexit Party won the most seats in the Euro elections 2019 and has a healthy double-digit score in the polls. However, in the upcoming election, there is a problem: the Brexit Party may well split the centre-right vote, allowing Mr Corbyn into power. To avoid splitting the Brexit vote with the Conservatives, Nigel Farage offered Boris Johnson a simple non-aggression pact in which the Brexit Party would only attack safe Labour Leave seats.

At first glance, an election pact makes sense; however, under closer scrutiny, the Conservatives and Boris Johnson are right to reject Nigel’s pact. The first problem is that the Conservatives and the Brexit Party are running on different platforms – the Brexit Party wants a “clean-break Brexit” (i.e. No Deal), whereas the Conservatives are running on Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement.

The second issue is beyond Brexit; the Brexit Party literally has no other policies, which would make going into coalition very difficult. The third issue with a pact is that it’s pointless – Nigel Farage could unilaterally have a non-aggression pact by only attacking Labour Leave safe-seats. The final issue with a pact is the demands Nigel Farage is making are completely unrealistic.

Nigel Farage wants Boris Johnson to ditch his Withdrawal Agreement accusing Boris’s deal of not being Brexit. I have qualms about Boris Johnson’s deal, but accusing it of not being Brexit is completely untrue. Under Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement, the UK would leave the political union and have the ability to sign Free Trade Agreements, as well as being able to control immigration. Even if hardcore Brexiteers still hated Boris Johnson’s Withdrawal Agreement, surely it’s still better than allowing Jeremy Corbyn into power, which would mean no Brexit at all?

I don’t dislike Nigel Farage or the Brexit Party. In fact, there is very little I disagree with them on, but the truth is that, with the FPTP system, the Brexit Party will not win the election. The Brexit Party will be lucky to win one seat, never mind the election, but they could split the Brexit vote – which would mean no Brexit at all. Nigel Farage and the Brexit Party have made it clear that they will compete in all constituencies, knowing the potential consequences of doing so.

Unfortunately, by publicly attacking the Conservatives and Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage has wilfully committed an act of electoral self-harm. I understand that Boris’s deal isn’t perfect, but it is Brexit. I urge Brexiteers to be pragmatic and vote Conservative in the upcoming election, as a vote for Nigel Farage will only help Jeremy Corbyn’s Marxist Labour Party into government.

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