Monday, October 21, 2019

Deal or No Deal?

So it seems that Nigel Farage has been converted to the cause of Remain.  How else are we to take his recent utterances on the subject of Boris Johnson's 'Surrender Deal', sorry, new EU withdrawal deal?  You'd think that, as it represents a far 'harder' form of Brexit than Theresa May's deal, which has already been rejected by parliament three times, and seems designed to pander to the far right, Farage would be all in favour of this deal.  But apparently not.  Farage, it seems, would rather have another extension to the leave date from the EU than see this deal become law.  OK, now I know there is a certain warped logic to these pronouncements in that Farage would rather 'No Deal' than any deal, as this would represent a 'clean break' from the EU.  Nevertheless, in view of the fact that the 'Benn Act' effectively rules out a no deal scenario, you'd think that Farage would support the next best thing:  Boris' deal. 

But it seems that Farage has now embraced the 'Benn Act' - how else are we to construe his criticism of Jean Claude Juncker's declaration that there would be no further postponement' now that a new deal was on the table?  According to Farage, it is outrageous that the EU should be, in effect, pre-empting the 'Benn Act' and impinging on the sovereignty of the UK parliament, which still has the right to reject the deal.  All of which certainly makes him sound like one of us remainers.  So, what could explain this apparent 'Road to Damascus' conversion?  Kicked in the head by a horse, perhaps?  Or is it simpler than that?  The reality is that Farage has a vested interest in keeping the Brexit band wagon rolling.  After all, if the UK does leave the EU, then the entire raison d'etre for both him and his Brexit Party will vanish, (not to mention the fact that he'll lose access to the lucrative EU gravy train as he'll cease to be an MEP).  That's the problem with single issue political movements: once their aim has been achieved, their purpose has been seved and the electorate turn their attentions elsewhere.  Farage has already seen it happen with his previous party UKIP, which was centred solely upon winning that referendum.  Once the 'Yes' vote had prevailed, UKIP's support collapsed.  It still exists, but is now a fringe party flailing around trying to establish a new identity.  The Brexit Party now faces a similar problem: its focus has been upon the actual mechanics of the UK leaving the EU and ensuring that the referendum vote is 'honoured'.  Once that happens, it will all be over for them and, if he is to remain in politics, Farage will have to find himself a new vehicle for his ambitions.  Until he figure out what that will be, expect to see him continue to spin out the Brexit process for as long as possible.



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