Democratic Deficits

BY PAUL NEWALL

I have always admired Nigel Farage. His three-decade campaign to drag us out of the EU and that ultimate success in winning the EU referendum makes him the most influential politician that has never been elected to Parliament. That said, I wonder now if his ego will prolong the lives of the two major political parties beyond their best before dates. I’ll explain…

After the referendum, interested spectators noted that the leadership of the leave campaigns became invisible, Farage retired from UKIP, while Gove and Johnson took to their war bunkers to prepare for leadership campaigns for the Conservative Party. Brexit was left rudderless and when Gove decided to politically knife Johnson the decks were cleared for our remain-inclined establishment to elect Theresa May to do the job of usurping the democratic vote – a job which has been done brilliantly by May.

This would have been the ideal time for Farage to make a spectacular return to front line politics and to be the advocate of democracy that would ultimately lead to both the destruction of the two major political behemoth parties and to Brexit being honoured. Instead, he took to TV punditry on the back of Brexit and the successful Trump campaign in the 2016 US election.

Rumour has it that Farage had fallen out of love with UKIP; that he had created a monster that he couldn’t control and the result was a party that would be dogged by infighting for years to come. So he waited patiently for May’s betrayal to become absolutely crystal clear and then he’d don his superhero cape, take control of UKIP and lead the party to ultimate victory. His support for Paul Nuttall and then Henry Bolton suggested that he was looking for someone to keep his seat warm, but he didn’t reckon with Gerard Batten.

It was very apparent that Batten was no make weight; he’s a political bruiser who made the party financially viable and attempted to bring in people that would broaden the party’s appeal like the YouTubers Carl Benjamin, Paul Joseph Watson and Marcus Meechan, who have a combined audience of millions. It would seem that the Kippers had decided that they no longer wanted to be a one-man party and if Nigel wanted back in then he would have to slug it out with a totally transformed party and this was a fight that he didn’t want. Batten made approaches to Tommy Robinson about being his adviser on prison reform and grooming gangs and this was the catalyst for Nigel to resign his membership and for the rest of the Faragists to exodus the party with the SDP being the biggest beneficiary.

So enter stage left, the Brexit party – a new vehicle for Nigel to ride on. It’s a party with subscribers instead of members and this effectively negates any party democracy. It’s the one-man show for the most effective political campaigner that anyone can recall in living memory. However, there’s an inbuilt problem having a party called the Brexit Party. UKIP dropped to insignificance when their raison d’être  had disappeared in that we had voted to leave the EU – voters went back to their tribal affiliations.

If a party called the Brexit party achieves Brexit, well then what?

I doubt that anyone who pays attention to our political discourse is in any doubt that we need to burst the bubble that surrounds our political class. May’s treachery and Parliament’s denial of Brexit have proven this. One can argue that a political revolution must happen to avoid a real revolution. The successful campaign will be a grassroots organisation that may have to be a broad church….look at the successful union of left and right in Italy as a winning model.

The mainstream media have labelled Brexiteers as ”hard right” which must come as a bit of a shock to Kate Hoey and Gisela Stuart. There’s a potential consensus between left and right that is going begging and potential figureheads in Farage, Batten, Stuart and Hoey need to set aside ego and party loyalties and to operate under one umbrella organisation – not to just achieve Brexit but to destroy our political order and to restore democracy.

A dictatorial party like the Brexit Party may well be worth a vote for the Euro Elections just to annoy Brussels but after that we need a democratic party. Farage is a brilliant campaigner but a terrible democrat – within those parameters his utility for British politics should be set. We don’t need another dictator – we need a party representative of the people.