Nigel Farage will be prime minister of England one day. Note I didn’t say the United Kingdom. There are real secessionist movements which the next phase of his quest for Brexit which will likely tear the U.K. apart.
But that’s the future. The present is, however, even more interesting than that.
Farage has rightly navigated the last nine months of the Brexit saga to emerge the front-runner in a complete realignment of British politics after making a mess of things post-referendum.
And there is no more proof needed than the polls released by YouGov this week of people’s voting intentions for next month’s European Parliamentary elections.
Am I the only one getting a giggle out of the abbreviation for the new “Change UK” Party?
And even with a five point lead over Labour, Farage is saying that there’s a lot of work yet to do. Because the European elections are only the start of what comes next.
And he’s absolutely right.
The European elections are where voters go to lodge their frustrations and show their anger. But this is far deeper than a protest. It is the beginning of a realignment of British politics along a different axis than before.
The false divide between Labour and the Tories is fading as they both have come together to ‘bin’ Brexit, as the Brits would say, fighting amongst themselves for control of the next parliament.
And that’s what Farage is exploiting. By branding his new party the “Brexit Party” he’s not mincing words. He knows that the majority of England (not the U.K.) outside of London are staunchly anti-EU.
He’s got his finger on the pulse of the English electorate, including that large percentage of Labour voters who also voted to Leave alongside the majority of Tories.
Farage knows he has the right approach, politically, to unite the center-left and center-right of England into a very viable political force which can galvanize around this issue just like they did in 2016 to the chagrin and horror of the British Establishment.
The Tory Abyss
The Tories will be the first big losers in this realignment. Look at the totals above. 15% for the Conservative Party. As I brought up in my article at Money and Markets, this is “catastrophic” if it holds not only through the European elections next month but carries into the inevitable general election later this year.
Once you drop below the 16% Chasm extinction is a real possibility.
This idea of the “Chasm” is Everett Rogers’ Diffusion of Innovation theory applied to practical politics.
Protest votes can garner 15 to 16% of the electorate during a campaign but they have a hard time breaking through that ceiling.
There’s a “chasm,” as Chris Maloney describes it, where a rebranding has to take place. Where the protest has to re-market itself to the community as vital to improving the lives of everyone.
In politics, it means going from the “Anti-Tory Party” to the “Brexit means Brexit” party.
It means speaking for the entirety of the U.K. and its well-being.
The hard part in politics is once you reach the Chasm, regardless of voting system, the major parties adopt your platform points somewhat and mollify the next tranche of the electorate vulnerable to the sirens’ call of the new guy.
Voters tend to vote for small, incremental change, rather than upend the apple cart and start slitting throats, to invoke H.L. Mencken.
The Tories don’t realize it yet but they are facing extinction with numbers like this. The mad scramble going on behind the scenes to oust Theresa May from 10 Downing Street is their own fault for their lack of vision, to quote Emperor Palpatine.
They didn’t realize back in December the extent to which she was prepared to go to betray Brexit. The European Research Group (ERG), headed by Jacob Rees-Mogg, moved too soon against her and couldn’t get a vote of no-confidence through the parliament to remove her.
Now they are stuck with her until December which, in the minds of the leadership in Brussels and the British political class, should be enough time to blackmail Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn into bolting on a custom’s union to the EU’s Withdrawal Treaty and ending this “insignificant rebellion” by Farage’s “pitiful band.”
Once a major party drops below the 16% Chasm they do so permanently. What are the Tories going to do to regain the trust of voters they have so egregiously betrayed?
Trust Means Trust
No one will believe them when they say they believe in Brexit. Any expertise they have in actually running the British government will be heavily discounted by voters.
Labour isn’t in much better shape, honestly. They have the same problems the Tories have … outside of London. They’ll lose support to the smaller leftist parties for not being pro-EU enough and they’ll lose support from the working class outside of London who Labour used to represent.
This is ripe for Farage to pick up much-needed points in the next general election to put his Brexit party over the top. If Mogg and the rest of the ERG are smart, they will join him and ditch the Tories. This gives Farage seats in Parliament they already represent and will guarantee their re-election.
That will have downstream effects in other ‘safe’ Tory districts as voters see the Brexit Party as having a legitimate chance of forming a government and the avalanche will engulf all of Westminster.
The Tories will go the way of the Whigs before the U.S. Civil War.
If that were to happen in the general election, there is little doubt that secessionist movements in Scotland and Northern Ireland will be held back. Because Farage and a Brexit majority will throw out May’s treaty and that will have consequences.
This is why the only seats Brexit are not contesting in May are the ones represented by the DUP. Farage understands he needs all the allies he can get as he takes aim at those that betrayed Britain.
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