New political parties seem to be all the rage right now, be it Change UK or the Brexit Party.
Change UK want to “change politics for good” by keeping things exactly the same (except their name of course). It’s true, Change UK are certainly “doing politics differently”, they’re the only notable party that is not fielding a candidate in the upcoming Peterborough by-election. If that isn’t “doing politics differently”, then I don’t know what is.
It’s strange to think just how much has changed politically since the start of the year, even though nothing substantially has changed. It’s still the same old saga in Parliament. The Conservatives trying to deliver on the Brexit vote and Labour, Lib Dems, SNP & Greens trying to frustrate the process.
We have already seen both main parties punished at the ballot box in the local elections with Conservatives and Labour losing councillors.
The European Elections will be largely viewed as a barometer of anger from both remainers and leavers and believe me, there is a lot of indignation out there.
Speaking for myself, I absolutely did not want these elections to be happen, but now they are. It is important that Britain has strong, competent leadership in Europe and only the Conservatives are up to the job.
I’m a pragmatic leaver. I voted for Brexit reluctantly, but I certainly do not regret my decision. I still feel that the European project is going in a direction that is not in Britain’s best interest.
The European project has changed entirely since voters had their last say on our EU membership and I voted accordingly with that thought in mind.
Despite my leave vote, I was always aware that Brexit would be a process not an event.
It is simply impossible to completely untangle forty years’ worth of rules, regulations and laws in such a short space of time. Divorces are never a simple process.
To fully deliver Brexit, the Government will require persistence and modulation.
This is something that the newly formed Brexit Party – or more aptly, the Nigel Farage party – does not understand. The emergence of the Brexit Party as a major political force is a very concerning prospect.
We rightly deride the cult of personality that exists around Jeremy Corbyn in Momentum. Now, we are now witnessing the emergence of an entire political party centred around the personality of Nigel Farage.
Nigel Farage is undeniably a good orator and knows how to play up to his core support. What is perturbing is that all the hysteria and large crowds is shielding the Brexit Party from proper objective scrutiny.
The Brexit Party is a single-issue party, they do not have any clear substantive policies and they certainly cannot deliver a successful Brexit.
The fundamental reason that the Brexit Party would fail to deliver a successful Brexit is because they simply want to walk away, snubbing our close friends and allies. It is hardly the most auspicious way to begin building a new relationship.
Despite all the soundbites and slogans, the Brexit Party do not have a plan.
Looking to the future, we need an ambitious blueprint for what our future relationship with the EU is going to look like. Nigel Farage and the Brexit party are simply too dogmatic to ever rationally engage with this process.
Nigel Farage constantly changes his view on the crucial question of what comes next. He’s argued for Norway, argued for a loose trade agreement, argued for a bespoke deal, he’s even said previously that the time had come for a second referendum.
Now, his Brexit Party appear to be stumping for a WTO no-deal exit from the EU, as they did when the party was still effectively a “leave” pressure group. Contrary to what Mr. Farage says, this was not a position argued by him during the referendum campaign (and if it was, I certainly cannot find evidence of it).
The only thing Mr. Farage and his Brexit Party is clear on; is that they want to leave.
The Brexit Party is taking a leaf out of Trump’s playbook. They organise mass rallies, portraying themselves as defenders of democracy by pitting themselves against a distant out of touch “political class” which in reality they themselves are all very much a part of.
We have seen the deflection tactics employed in Nigel Farage’s interview with BBC’s Andrew Marr. The first half of the interview, as you would expect, was all about Brexit. However, as Mr. Marr attempted to hold Mr. Farage to account on his previous remarks including matters of policy, he would not answer. Instead he went on a tirade about fighting the “political class” and later tweeted: “We are not just fighting the political class, but the BBC too.”
If the Brexit Party intend to stand in Parliamentary elections, we need to know what policies they would support.
Mr. Farage does not like being held to account. Indeed, he never properly has been. It is very easy to make loose promises, rattle off empty platitudes filled with emotive soundbites, but, when it comes to real substantial policies that can deliver these promises- there simply are not any.
Dismissing legitimate questioning as “fake news” or “an establishment stitch up” is a dangerous new trend amongst populist parties and the Brexit Party is no exception.
It is true, there are many advocates for “no-deal” in the Conservative party, but they have put forward a substantive case for this WTO exit and provide examples of what policies we could employ if we move in that direction.
Credit where credit is due, the media campaign for the Brexit Party campaign is very slick and they are tapping in to a genuine anger in the country that exists outside the confides of the M25.
If the main parties want to regain the initiative we must do better at addressing these concerns in a real, positive way.
The truth remains that there is nothing, Brexit omitted, that unites Nigel Farage, Ann Widdecombe, Claire Fox and George Galloway. The Brexit Party cannot negotiate Brexit. They have no solution, no realism, no policies.
As Conservatives, we must ensure the referendum result will be delivered upon, so we leave the EU with a good deal and get on with the most important job of uniting our exasperated country.
When you go to cast your vote at the ballot box, your choice is clear. If you want strong leadership in Europe, if you want the referendum result respected, you need to vote for the party that can deliver Brexit. That party is the Conservative Party.