In the dying days of a defunct administration, the UK’s governing Conservative Party have gathered for their annual congress (we call them conferences) in the post industrial city of Manchester, you know the one, Manchester England, England. Famous for soccer, Oasis and socialist dominated politics.
Amazingly, amongst the misery and despond of the delegates there has been a slither of excitement, a gaudy flash of light amongst the iron clouds.
The problem for the Conservatives is that the colour and excitement are not being provided by anybody actually in the party, but instead by my former boss, Nigel Farage, as Trump would call him “Mr Brexit”.
He has not been to a Conservative Conference since he resigned from that party and created his own in 1992.
For decades, his political journey has been like that of Drake and Frobisher harrying and harassing the Spanish Armada. He is the ultimate political buccaneer.
Twice his actions have forced Conservative Prime Ministers to resign. Firstly in 2016, when David Cameron leaped off the political White Cliffs of Dover having lost the Brexit Referendum. Secondly in 2019 when Teresa May fell upon her sword when his hastily cobbled together Brexit party slaughtered the Tories in that year’s European Election.
All this is true, and yes the party leadership hates him. However, time and again they have tried to woo him with jobs. Decades ago they offered him a safe seat, they offered him a peerage, most of them would probably offer him their wives, daughters, hell, even their sons, if they could just get him to shut up.
When it looked likely that he was going to win a seat in Parliament, they conspired with the socialists and broke every campaign financing law just to stop him. Why?
Because if he had been elected to Parliament a significant part of their own Parliamentary Party would look at him on the green benches and see him, not as an opposition figure, but as their own moral conscience.
The Tory membership love him, he is the King over the water to them. And now, for the first time in three decades, because he is now a TV presenter, on GBNews, the UK’s answer to Fox, they couldn’t keep him out. And boy hasn’t he had fun.
Around the conference stalls he has waltzed. That big, slightly amphibian, grin is ever-present. Political commentators from left and right fawning over him, some saying that he has now taken over the Tories, others that he is just disabling them.
Jeremy Hunt the Treasury Minister, a staunch EU supporter and globalist tax raiser had to defend him in his main speech and the Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak has been forced to suggest that he would be welcome to rejoin.
Meanwhile Farage waltzed on and on. Everybody in the place wants selfies with him, he grins and obliges. https://twitter.com/DaveAtherton20/status/1709476675971383475
He goes to parties and is seen dancing with the former Home Secretary, who wants to stop illegal immigration. https://twitter.com/emilyhewertson/status/1708984955554955378
On and on he goes.
He is even asked on camera if he would consider rejoining. “If the Conservative Party was a conservative party, he might consider it”, twisting the knife, while rubbing salt into the wounds whose scabs he had picked moments before. Nigel Farage reacts after Rishi Sunak leaves door open for his return to Tory party (msn.com)
There is a very good reason why the Tory high command has banned Nigel Farage for thirty years. A very good reason indeed. He represents everything they should represent, and the membership knows this.
The point is that today there is a huge gap opening up on the right of British politics. In his conference speech the Prime Minister has tried to throw in some red meat, right-of-centre policies on immigration and on Net Zero. But after more than a decade of power, the only time one ever hears such things is when there are elections to fight. The people of the UK know that as soon as the votes are counted, these promises vanish in the morning sun. The Tories are not proposing legislation they are proclaiming an election manifesto. One that everybody knows will never be tested in office.
With Nigel Farage, who has never cared if people like him or not, what you get is a conviction politician. One that has stood for things, and been able to carry them out from outside the formal political structures.
In Farage they see a proven winner who speaks their language. Barring him from the hall doesn’t work any more.
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