The taming of the Brexit Party

The spiked team discuss the latest twists and turns in the General Election.

Topics Brexit Politics UK

Has the Brexit Party bottled the Brexit election? Why won’t Hillary Clinton butt out of British politics? Do Labour or the Tories have anything to offer on the economy? Brendan O’Neill, Ella Whelan and Fraser Myers discuss on this week’s spiked podcast.

Picture by: Getty.

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Mike Ellwood

16th November 2019 at 8:41 pm

On the Tories being bad campaigners: Based on listening to Boris on the radio in various recent election-fighting quotes, I have to agree. Recently I heard Jezza, and then Boris being quoted on BBC Radio 4, and Boris came over very unfavourably. Not particularly what either of them said, but the way they said it. Corbyn (who seems to have come on a lot in his style of speaking) sounded almost like an elder statesman. Johnson on the other hand, sounded like what many of us have always suspected he was:a bluffer, a blunderer, a chancer.

To be slightly fair, Johnson has sometimes come over quite well in Parliament since becoming PM, but on the whole, the general public don’t see that, and there is no Parliament at the moment anyway.

Corbyn, as he proved in 2017, is quite a good campaigner, and even if his message on Brexit is all over the place, and some of his spending ideas are a bit off (like the Broadband thing), is quite likely to make good progress “in the field”, which I can’t see Johnson doing, on present showing.

It’s a pity that in this election, if I want a form of Brexit, then my only choice would seem to be to vote Tory. I almost wish that the Tories weren’t a (sort of) Brexit party at all. I could then vote for the Brexit Party with a clear conscience. They actually have little chance of winning in “my” constituency, but at least I could make my wishes clear. And Farage is actually a good campaigner, much better than Johnson, I reckon. (Although his party is fairly untried (the EU elections notwithstanding) in election-fighting terms (by which I mean he has very little organisation on the ground, I suspect).

Winston Stanley

16th November 2019 at 3:51 pm

I agree with Ella, I do not really care whether the British capitalist state gets to make some other trade deals or any of the rest of it, all I really care about is my own enfranchisement. I supported Brexit as perhaps an opportunity to extend democracy in this country.

Brexit has been hijacked by the TP. TM has since admitted that she ruled out a No Deal b/c she was worried about NI. She limited our options b/c of what she wanted. She simply told us “no, you shall not.” It is clear that the TP sees Brexit as purely about what the British capitalist state can get for itself out of it, basically money is its bottom line.

The best thing about Brexit has been that it has revealed what an utter sham “democracy” is in this country. There is some renewed talk of PR. Let us not fool ourselves, PR does not empower us, it is just another state format to take decision making away from the demos itself.

Only a system of direct democracy, referenda would be in any way a meaningful enfranchisement, so that we each get to vote directly on policies. We need a system whereby a certain number of citizens can petition, by law, to have a referendum on any matter that we like. The demos must have direct control of our own society otherwise we have no real control over anything.

We just get to choose red or blue between the options offer to us by the two-parties. FPTP and the majoritarian MP system perpetuates itself so as to block us out of any real say. PR would bring in its own games. We need to be able to vote directly on any policies that we like.

The sham needs to end. We do not have a democracy and it seems unlikely that we will ever get one. So do I care about Brexit? Not really. I support Brexit in so far as that it is not what the British capitalist state really wants. If we have forced them to do anything then that is some sort of victory. But it is by no means an end in itself. The fight for democracy must go on regardless.

Ava Tar

16th November 2019 at 2:29 pm

I wasn’t sure of your reasoning here. You seemed to think that voting choice is more important than Brexit. The idea that the big two parties would take notice of minor parties like the Brexit Party doing well is not proven from experience. When Labour won Peterborough by only 600 votes they were dismissive: “We sent Farage packing!”
The Brexit Party are polling at around 15%. In 2015 UKIP at 16% got 4m votes but only 1 seat. What would make it any different this time? Another hung Parliament will mean Brexit being cancelled.

Mike Ellwood

16th November 2019 at 7:51 pm

15%? Not recently. Well into single figures in most recent polls:

Winston Stanley

16th November 2019 at 2:14 pm

So, Boris has made plain that he is all in favour of the mass migration of workers, “it is a wonderful thing”, and that his policy is simply to bring in as many workers as the capitalist economy can absorb, “so long as there is a job for them to come to”. Maybe Jim and the others would care to spin that as a “socialist” or “neo-Marxist” policy. At some point perhaps even they will grasp that it is a capitalist state policy that is driven by the needs and interests of the capitalist economy. There really is no one else to “blame”.

Douglas Jones

15th November 2019 at 10:36 pm

I think you need to cut Farage more slack. He must have weighed being portrayed as a Tory poodle against the risk of being portrayed as ‘the man who campaigned all his life for Brexit but snatched defeat from the jaws of victory’. In that sense, I can totally understand why he took the decision he did.

H McLean

17th November 2019 at 9:18 am

I would cut Farage some slack but he’s a Tory poodle.

jessica christon

15th November 2019 at 8:01 pm

I think Farage has realised his mistake too late, that’s why he’s hopping mad, flinging about accusations of corruption etc. His ego won’t allow him to be honest and admit that he simply caved in under pressure, but Johnson’s Tories have made a complete fool out of him and believe me he knows it. He and his party have lost tons of credibility with would-be supporters and got back nothing in return, almost like how the UK was shafted by the EU because we kept offering concessions and they reciprocated with didley squat.

Get ready for complete national humiliation once BrINO becomes law. I would rather remain.

Jim Lawrie

15th November 2019 at 6:27 pm

Hillary Clinton’s self-delusion is such that she thinks making up stories about people pressuring her to run for President will result in that very thing happening. No-one takes her seriously except herself. Jumping on the Meghan Markle bandwagon shows just how little in coming her way. She is still telling the world that her being a woman beats everything else on offer – even other women.

Donald Trump would be well advised to fund her bid. How could he lose?

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