The summer of 2016. I remember it well.
17.4million Britons voted to Leave the EU, and a lot of people on the Remain side accused all of us who voted for Brexit stupid. We aren’t, of course. Like a of people, we voted on principle. But I tell you once thing a lot of stupid people did that was stupid – they joined the Conservative Party.
I don’t blame anyone that left UKIP for the Tories at all. It seemed like a natural progression. UKIP had completed its original mission – to win a vote on EU membership. Of course, what we all forgot whilst celebrating was that the Establishment would try and destabilise the whole thing and UKIP was needed to oversee everything. The smug ex-UKIP members who had now suddenly become proud Tories their whole lives predicted Theresa May would win a majority that would be tantamount to a dictatorship and Brexit would be signed, sealed and delivered by March 2019.
But May and her team botched the whole thing and a Marxist-led Labour Party almost got in by the back door.
UKIP were hardly anywhere to be seen due to their appeasement of the Tories and not standing anyone in some seats, expecting the Tories to win comfortably and complete the job.
Since then, UKIP have gone through its yearly leadership election, and they cocked that up as well. Henry Bolton was ousted by the members – and quite rightly so – and since then Gerard Batten has been in charge. I like Gerard – he doesn’t take any guff from anyone, says things how they are and that attitude has seen not only membership rise, but the party rise in the polls too. But something is missing, though.
One of the most lasting memories of the Brexit campaign two summers ago was Nigel Farage, rabble-rousing on top of a bus, stopping occasionally for a smoke and a drink, then getting on a boat and making tax-dodging tramp-a-like Bob Geldof look idiotic on a boat and then winning the day.
Farage is to me that quintessential British hero – he sees a problem, he puts a lot of effort into fixing it and coming out on top. And he did, of course, and then went away to start a new career as a broadcaster and commentator. But the problem still isn’t really fixed, so he’s back.
He’s to “go back” on the road to campaign, this time with the Conservative group LeaveMeansLeave. I’m presuming this group are proper Conservatives, not the flimsy, prissy liberals that today run the Conservative Party, hence why Farage is getting into bed with them.
I don’t know what Farage’s plans are. His friend and Leave.EU founder, Arron Banks, has told supporters to join the Tories in order to force a leadership election in which a proper Conservative can win. For me, that’s not the way to achieve Brexit. It’s to keep UKIP strong and force the Tories’ hand, rather than deserting the party that made Brexit happen.
But in the short-term, Farage’s return in any form is good news. Many UKIP members see Farage as a sort-of traitor, and being a soft touch on topics that Batten is not, such as Islam and the treatment of Tommy Robinson. It’s true, Batten is tough talker when it comes to Islam, even going as far as stating the Prophet Mohammed was a paedophile in a speech made at a rally to support Robinson. I believe that Robinson was rightly imprisoned for breaking the law but also that there is no denying that he is genuinely worried about the influx of hardcore Muslims who are prepared to inflict terrorism in this country. But nonetheless, the mainstream media have now taken the view that UKIP are now lurching towards the “far-right”, a term the BBC and other equally-biased media companies like to use against anyone or anything that isn’t liberal or socialist.
If the polls continue to be kind to UKIP, then there isn’t really anything except a good case for Batten running when his term is up next March and winning well, but Farage returning to the frontline now when Brexit is derailing can only be a good thing for those 17.4million idiots like me.
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