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Nigel Farage sets the overdue cat amongst the futile pigeons

Say what you like about Nigel Farage. He is indisputably the most influential British politician of the 21st century. Farage helped galvanise over 17 million Brits to dare challenge the political establishment and vote for Brexit. He also aided Boris Johnson in winning a landslide majority by standing down all Brexit Party candidates in the 2019 general election. 

After originally declaring that he was not going to stand in this upcoming election, wasting arguably his greatest chance of winning, it seemed as though Labour would cruise comfortably to a disproportionate victory, and that the Conservatives would receive more votes than they deserve. 

That now changes. Not only has Nigel Farage announced himself as the new leader of Reform UK, he has confirmed he will be standing for Parliament in Clacton. This is big news. 

Just as the ideal opportunity seemed to have been missed, Farage has turned the tables and is set to properly hold the futile political class - both Labour and the Conservatives - to account. A much overdue cat has well and truly been set amongst the futile pigeons. 

Now, the chattering classes would have you believe Farage only panders to the hard right, that he is inherently racist, and hates anyone not of Anglo-Saxon descent. This is wildly inaccurate and dangerously misleading. 

Having followed Nigel Farage’s journey through the British political wilderness, I’m not struck by an ingrained intolerance towards minority groups. What does strike me, more than anything, however, is his desire to champion the working man’s voice. To stand up for those who feel they have no voice in the current political arena, and with good reason. To stand up for a Britain being taken to the dogs by a political class that seems ever-increasingly devoid of any understanding of what it is to live and work in the United Kingdom these days. 

This is not to say that those with bigoted views don’t flock to Farage’s type of populism - they do - but the overwhelming majority of what I have witnessed from his campaign has been to talk about issues that, irrespective of your position on them, need serious, open debate. That can only be a good thing. Interestingly, all of Farage’s rallies for Reform this general election campaign have featured a customary question-and-answer session. I’d love to see Sunak and Starmer do that. 

Farage standing and leading is bad news for the Conservatives and Labour. It is no secret that, in recent months, Sunak’s government has increasingly pandered to the right of the Tories, in fear of losing core voters to Reform. In 2015 Farage’s UKIP took more votes off Labour than they did the Conservatives. Given Starmer’s lack of a clear plan, and the Conservative’s contemptuous streak since the pandemic, I’d back both parties to lose voters to Reform. 

The smears and ad hominem attacks against Reform don’t seem to be washing quite like they did with UKIP. The idea that Reform only appeals to grey-haired hard Tories is being disproved dramatically by the party’s strong engagement on TikTok and other social media platforms amongst young voters. 

Farage leading the charge now means Reform can challenge the political elite with real, emboldened vigour. This political elite is riddled with career politicians who have not a care for their constituents and only for the furtherance of their own interests. That is a deplorable state of affairs for our democracy. 

A Survation poll in January showed Farage will win in Clacton if he stood. Now he’s standing, I have every confidence that will become a reality. If Reform won no more seats than just Clacton, at least we can trust there to be one politician in the House of Commons who campaigns for what he truly believes in, and is not afraid to take to task those who hide behind convenient policy spins and gimmicks. 

Whether you like him or not, Farage has done more than any politician to change the course of British political history in this century. Now confirmed to lead Reform for the next five years, coupled with the real chance of getting a seat in Parliament, I’d back him to change the course of our history a whole lot more. 

Image: Gage Skidmore

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1 Comment

They will try, but they can’t barrage the Farage!

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