Nigel Farage, a British EU parliamentarian, is the face of the Brexit movement. For years he has worked to get the UK out of the EU, and his insistence and persistence helped force former Prime Minister David Cameron to agree to hold the Brexit referendum. Now, Farage may be the EU’s next kingmaker as his new Brexit Party leads the field in coming European Parliament elections. At The American Conservative, Bill Wirtz explains Farage’s advantageous position, writing:
“I am coming back!” Nigel Farage’s speech to the European Parliament in Strasbourg wasn’t particularly pleasing to the pro-EU members in the chamber. For many years, “Mr. Brexit” (as Donald Trump calls him) has tried to get his country to leave the European Union, but the catastrophic mismanagement of UK Prime Minister Theresa May has forced the Brits into a long extension of the process. The new date for exiting the EU will be October 31, or, as Farage dubs it, “trick or treaty.”
The two-party system in Britain is in crisis. The Labour Party of self-declared Marxist Jeremy Corbyn is tearing itself apart over Brexit. Corbyn himself was never a fan of the EU, because it could, for instance, stand in the way of his plans to renationalize the railways.
The Tories are equally split, between hard-line euroskeptics, which prefer no Brexit deal with the EU over a bad one, and those who support deep ties between Britain and the Continent. Nobody likes May, but nobody is willing to put her out of power either.
The approval ratings of the government are closing in on rock bottom, but there is no majority, either in Parliament or the British electorate, for either of the current Brexit options.
This is where the Brexit Party comes in.
Farage left the political group that he called home for decades, the UK Independence Party (UKIP), after far-right activist Tommy Robinson became an advisor to current party leader Gerard Batten. Batten had diverged from the anti-EU message and moved towards a more distinctly anti-immigration platform.
Farage now leads the Brexit Party, established in January. The latest YouGov/The Times poll found the Brexit Party leading the field ahead of the European elections, with 23 percent voter support, ahead of Labour (22 percent), the Tories (17 percent), Greens (10 percent), and the Liberal Democrats (9 percent).
Farage’s new party will be, as has been much of his political career, a protest. As he attempts to break the political duopoly, we’ll find out whether there is more than meets the eye to the anti-EU façade of Mr. Brexit, and whether his declared appreciation of former prime minister Margaret Thatcher is real.
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