A fortnight-long, self-imposed break from politics – it’s the one positive exploit I’ve engaged with this year that hasn’t been examined by a tutor, or squandered due to time pressure. So what have I rediscovered in the meantime? Well, misanthropy. Nicotine. And the works of Graham Linehan. That said, it’s my duty to return to the pit of current affairs and unearth some ghosts. Not long buried ones, either.
As ever, this comes with the express recommendation that any and all should get on the spectrum. Ian Dunt, Remaniacs and Twitter. There’s your trinity, although lately I haven’t been too fussed about the squawking birds. Little blues peck down to the skeleton. Fat ones become racist about a Liverpool forward.
Now in the face of impending European elections, we have a shiny new lifeline. Until that dark, pagan-laden night of Halloween have we found ourselves in a deadlock. Should we find no agreement on an amended deal and defer our part in EU Parliament elections, we’ll leave on June 1st without a deal. Should we reject a compromise deal, the path becomes even foggier. I’m guessing this is why mainstream media has suddenly become rather mute – they’ll ramp up the drama once the deadline looms closer.
More importantly, the BBC have again – and unsurprisingly – afforded more airtime to right-wing zealots. Remember Farage? He’s sent shockwaves through Westminster once and he’s set to do it again. It’s worrying, how the man has crafted a perfect yet tangible image as Brexit’s paragon. The one who will not only do it, but will do it right. Such sentiments are echoed in the latest polls, which show the Brexit Party with a vote share of 27%, eclipsing the Tories who lag behind with a 13% share.
So what’s changed? The man himself has said that there’s not much difference between this collective and UKIP in terms of policy – personnel, however, that’s something different. (Or so he says). Brexit is an issue that goes far beyond a stoic, unwavering political alignment, as the far-left and far-right find conciliation between themselves when they agree on what’s best for the country. Yet with a simple check, one finds that the Brexit Party’s MEPs all have prior or ongoing affiliations with UKIP – this includes stalwarts such as Paul Nuttall or David Coburn. As if to further re-establish the group’s harder approach to Brexit, Jacob Rees-Mogg’s sister Annunziata has been announced as one of their candidates for the forthcoming European elections.
Therein, little has changed. That includes support for the man, one whose proclamation upon resigning as leader of UKIP following the referendum was utterly triumphant. UKIP’s destiny had been realised and his job was done, for the man was content to leave Brexit in the hands of those who knew what they were doing. Or at least those that thought they knew what they were doing – who knew this process was so complex?
You’ll notice that with many demagogues throughout history will resort to jingoism and superficial charm to convince people that they do know what they’re talking about. Want to know a secret? They don’t. Farage is no different. He played his maverick hand following the referendum, leaving May with the dynamite that threatens to blow her premiership apart.
Inevitable as that is, he now returns to place himself at the eye of the storm. It’s my wish, however, that he will venture too far out from the safe zone. He will be swept up in the same maelstrom that has sucked both the soul and consistency from British political discourse since June 2016. I can only hope that the imminent EU elections will reveal how little faith the public has in him, because I can’t see this getting better with the possibility of Farage in charge.