And now it’s Farage who is gone. But what place UKIP in a polity detached from the EU? July 4, 2016Posted by WorldbyStorm in Uncategorized.
Another one bites the dust. In a way this is the most predictable departure yet. For Farage has, at least nominally, achieved his hearts desire. Brexit – in some form or fashion, is a fact. There may be some fudging, but personally I’d put money on the UK being out of the EU by 2020. Now, it may be that it is out of the EU and in the EEA, or perhaps some bespoke vehicle for one economy that is conjured up, but as a full member of the EU it is over, at least for a decade. Just on that I don’t think it at all implausible that it may be back either. We’ll see.
So Farage has achieved what he set out to achieve. Moreover he is constrained by the simple fact of being leader of UKIP. Always was and always would be. The Tories remain pre-eminent, are rapidly in the process of getting themselves together and will drive the issues from here on out.
I see he’s muttering about UKIP eating into the Labour Party vote – and there’s a fair bit of rhetoric on line about that, but I wonder how that works in practice. As well we know in this polity, it is always, always, easier to enthuse people over referendum style issues briefly whereas attempting to map that onto the broader slower more contingent dynamics of electoral politics is near impossible. And Farage must know this too having been entirely unable to get elected at national level in the UK (and while it may well be that he’s just limbering up to head a new party one has to wonder how he would do better outside UKIP). And UKIPs national vote while not unimpressive has – no doubt frustratingly for him and them, been unable to translate into very much at all, stymied by a first past the post (and this could be even more true of a ‘new’ party some have also been muttering about).
Indeed one wonders is he making a virtue of necessity given that his platform, that of the European Parliament, will soon be denied to him and his route to Westminster is, at best, unclear. There’s a thought for others. That’s the reality of Brexit in a nutshell. Access to one forum is stripped away. What sort of future does UKIP have as a purely English affair? What sort of profile?
Just on that it’s very curious to hear various parties and people who have long benefitted and substantially so from a voice in Europe in this state seeming to believe that it would be easier to progress in a context where that forum was gone.
How is Douglas Carswell, UKIP’s single elected MP going to do from here on out? Indeed how is UKIP going to do with a Tory party that – inevitably, is the only force in a position to exercise both influence and actual policy making power in relation to the issue. I think it possible, not inevitable, but possible, that we’ll see UKIP much much reduced within a couple of years.
Perhaps that is why Farage is making so much noise about a possible ‘Government sell-out’ on ‘free movement and access to the single market’. Perhaps that is the life line to the future. And yet, again the constraints of a single polity swing into action. If the Tories are the only game in England, Labour(s?) and LDs their opposition then what are UKIP? Close to nothing. The referendum is over. The issue is, well, not settled, but moving towards a settlement, but an UKIP in Westminster with a handful of MPs is – and again the irony is tangible – a much reduced thing from its heyday in Europe.
By the way, Farage at least is open that immigration was central to equation.
If it had not been for Ukip’s willingness to take on issues that people at Notting Hill dinner parties find tricky, leave would not have attracted all the support it did.
Of course the final irony, one of many, is as noted by others, that of the architects of the Brexit referendum, almost certainly not one will be in any position of authority or political leadership within three months. How does that work, does it take some of the heat out of the issue? Does it open up the space for Britain and the EU to come to some sort of mutually less disagreeable terms? Or does the nearly but not quite chaos continue?