The European elections seem to have been staged as a sort of Nigel Farage tribute match, with all the other parties upping their contributions through political negligence.
The Brexit Party did well even though there was only one word written across Nigel Farage’s forehead (the closest thing to a manifesto for this one-man-band private company/sort of political party).
Labour’s policy of constructive ambiguity saw them unambiguously screwed, although not as unambiguously screwed as the Tories, while the one-policy grumble that is Farage’s Brexit Party unambiguously won – depending on how you add up the votes.
The result looks depressingly like a win for the worst man in British politics (it’s a shove, but he wins by a shoulder). There is room for interpretation, and by some calculations more people voted for Remain parties than Leave parties.
Farage’s old tribute band UKIP were even more unambiguously screwed than anyone else, even though their only real policy was the same as the Brexit Party: get out now.
Why did voters desert Farage’s old crew in favour of his new rabble? The depressing conclusion is that people are attracted to Farage, with one woman interviewed on last night’s BBC news saying she’d voted for the Brexit Party “because it’s Nigel”. People are very strange when you look out from inside your own bubble, where the air is stale from all the muttered swearing.
The only glint of optimism in the continuing shitstorm of British politics is that far-right trouble-rouser Stephen Yaxley-Lennon – who pretends that he is called Tommy Robinson – got 2.2% of the vote and lost his deposit. He’d earlier boasted that he expected to “walk into Brussels like Connor McGregor” after the election. Instead he skulked off with less swagger than Mr McGregor in the Beatrix Potter books.
I voted Green for only the second time. This was mainly because Jeremy Corbyn wore out my patience with his refusal to say what he really thought about Europe. And, yes, I know that Brexit is a distraction from more important matters – especially the ‘project’ that Corbyn’s supporters like to talk about – but in terms of broadcasting politics to the wider public, his stance was infuriating.
Corbyn has disliked Europe since the 1970s and as he hasn’t changed his mind about anything since then, he stymied himself by refusing either to speak his personal truth or adopt an up-to-the-minute proposal to help us through the quagmire.
His only tactic was to sit on that fence and watch the Tories mess everything up, then hope for a general election – without ever saying how he’d negotiate Brexit if he won.
And by unambiguously sitting on that fence for so long, he laid the ground for Farage’s victory – a pyrrhic one with any luck, although Farage himself reportedly says he has his sights on Downing Street. Well, we all say all sorts of stupid shit in the heat of the moment, and perhaps life will calm down eventually.
For it’s all very well worrying about Boris Johnson as prime minister, but the notion of Nigel Farage ever getting there is the stuff of poorly written political thrillers (Day of the Jackass).
While the Tories were the truest losers, even as they jostle each other in the world’s least pretty beauty parade to replace Theresa May, Labour’s dithering boosted the Greens and the Lib-Dems. Today, Jeremy Corbyn is reported to be backing a second referendum; or maybe he isn’t, as that’s all a bit of a black hole.
Peer too deeply into that hole and you’ll be vacuumed off to oblivion.