Nigel Farage has stepped down as the leader of UKIP.
As reported by Sky News at the press conference announcing his departure, Mr. Farage said, “I wanted my country back, we’ve got our country back.”
Notwithstanding the fact that Britain is not a “country” (nor a “nation”, for that matter), Mr. Farage continues right to his last statement as the leader of UKIP the deceit that the Brexit referendum has accomplished anything more than sending Parliament a non-binding sentiment and suggestion: 52 percent of the electorate who voted wish to leave the European Union.
The Brexit non-binding sentiment must now make its way to the British Parliament where it will be decided if the sentiment warrants the triggering of Article 50 to begin the two-year process of departing the EU. UKIP, the champion of the Brexit referendum, has a total of one MP in the 650-MP Parliament. The realpolitik of Brexit never getting beyond the stage of legitimate sentiment has been covered here.
Mr. Farage goes on to claim, “I will watch the renegotiation process in Brussels like a hawk.”
The “renegotiation process” (to unhinge from the EU) is not yet a given, something that he must surely be aware of. Furthermore, one would hope that he has been aware of it, i.e. the process involved, during the span of time during the lead up to the referendum vote. If he had not been aware of it is simply too much to contemplate for a man of Mr. Farage’s political talent and professional background. As such, having basically deceived the British people with the falsehood that their Brexit Leave vote would accomplish anything more than generating the above sentiment is simply too much to entertain.
Armchair political commentators have been tripping over themselves with amateurish bravado. Indicative of such cyberspace unreality was the comment made by the Alex Jones hack, Paul Joseph Watson, on his Facebook page that, “My dream of seeing Farage take over in a military coup is over, but thanks anyway Based Nigel.” It seems not to dawn on Mr. Watson that UKIP is short a mere 325 parliamentary seats in order to be in control of the military. Andrew Anglin is likely to state something totally off the wall like, “The Scheming Jews Stab Farage In The Back!” National Action will release an edgy graphic.
With Mr. Farage’s departure as UKIP leader, the Vote Leave side has now witnessed the abrupt pulling away, along with Boris Johnson, of its two most vocal and heavyweight advocates. Another early fatality, of course, has been the British Prime Minister, David Cameron. For those pro-Brexit hitters who are really inside the loop, such as Farage and Johnson, are they simply putting some safe distance between themselves and the inevitable political shrapnel that they know is on its way? The political optics around this are not good. To be more to the point at risk of sacrificing some diplomatic language: The optics stink!
Of course, one must give Mr. Farage the benefit-of-the-doubt that he is sincere with his wish to take back his private life. But still, the optics around his departure and the opening it gives for political second-guessing and, even more importantly, maneuvering by all involved, are simply astronomical.
Should any kind of a second chance be given to or won by the neoliberal (and young!) Stay faction, it is a fairly safe bet that they will have learned their lesson and will not make the same GOTV mistake twice. Time, between now and the parliamentary vote, works to their advantage, as it works against the Leave faction. Time allows the neoliberal Millennials to become knowledgeable of the parliamentary and Article 50 dynamics, organize accordingly (something that the Left does very well), and lean appropriately on sitting MPs, all 649 of them.
Those of us who are, and who have been, attuned to the realpolitik hurdles that now confront the result of the Brexit referendum simply roll our eyes some more while releasing a sigh of compassion for the decent people on the receiving end of this shell game. Mr. Farage can’t deliver! He can’t deliver on the promise that he made to those very same decent people, and he knows it. When this finally dawns on the Leave demographic, i.e. those very same decent people, either prior to or after the parliamentary vote to trigger Article 50, there will be hell to pay. Mr. Farage has assured himself that he will not be around for the blowback, either intentionally or unintentionally.
XTC’s 70s classic “Making Plans For Nigel” rings the proper bell…for those capable of hearing it.
(Addendum: To-day was published the news that Mr. Farage’s motive for stepping down from the UKIP leadership was his concern over the safety of his and that of his family. I was wrong in having hinted at any kind of a less honourable motive. However, the logistics of the parliamentary vote to trigger Article 50 hold.)