Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Farage's Legacy

The post Brexit chaos resulted in many people, either Remainers or Brexiters, not wanting to clear up the post Brexit mess. Not wanting to trigger the article 50 notification, the first of these was obviously David Cameron, who resigned after gambling on the entire future of the UK. Following this, a bunch of Blairite labour MP’s neglected their responsibility to try and clear up the mess, by launching a ridiculously timed coup against Jeremy Corbyn, just as the Conservatives were in turmoil. Despite this, people you would expect to have triumphed from Brexit, are now also shying away from any responsibility. The first of these was Boris Johnson who, just as everyone was expecting him to seize the reins of power and lead Britain to a post Brexit dystopia, decided to wash his hands of the chaos he had created by withdrawing his leadership bid. Now it seems as if UKIP leader Nigel Farage, has decided he does not want to deal with the mess he made either, as he has surprisingly decided to resign. As if to prove how much of a one man band UKIP are, when Farage first resigned after failing to win enough seats at the 2015 general election, less than 24 hours later he decided to un – resign, making this the biggest anti-climax for leftists and Anti-fascist groups ever. Unsurprisingly then, the jokes have already began to circle, questioning he weather this resignation is actually serious. This time however, it finally looks as if Farage has gone. As such, it would of course be remiss of me to leave it there, without pouring shame on Farage’s legacy.

A man of the People?

Upon first rising to national prominence, Nigel Farage was quick to paint himself as a man of the people. UKIP’s image as an alternative to the Lib – Lab – Con political establishment, coupled with the constant barrage of pictures and videos showing Nigel Farage smoking a cigar and waving a pint of beer around, was enough to attract traditional Labour voters to the UKIP cause.
What many people may not be aware of however, is the fact that UKIP is stuffed to the brim of ex Tory politicians. The most high profile of these is Farage himself, having abandoned the Tory’s in 1992. Indeed, since becoming leader of UKIP Farage has driven the party further and further to the right. As a result, many other important figures have fled the Party due to its rightward shift. The most notable example of this is, founding member, Alan Sked, who left the party in 1997, feeling that it had become infected by the far right and a ‘magnet for bigots’. The most concerning thing about all of this is that Farage is able to disguise his hard right ideology, by pretending he is offering an alternative. This ignores the fact that what makes the three main parties in the UK essentially the same is that they all try and pursue Thatcherite economic dogma. UKIP are by no means an alternative to this. Indeed, Farage believes in the fantasy of utterly deregulated neoliberal capitalism, even more than Labour, the Conservatives and the Lib Dems put together.

Farage’s Closing Statement

Nigel Farage closed his resignation speech on Monday by saying that ‘The Victory for the Leave side means that my political ambition has been achieved’. Anyone who understands the referendum however, knows that this statement is complete codswallop. The vote for Brexit is the beginning of a very long and complicated political process. I and many other people have made it very clear that, had Farage and Johnson come up with a costed economic restructuring plan, then Brexit may not have been such a ludicrous leap into the dark. However, the fact that high profile Brexiters are now backtracking on their main promises of reducing immigration and saving money, and resigning due to a lack of gumption to trigger article 50, should prove beyond a doubt that the Brexit camp had no plan after all.
Instead of mentioning any of the problems we now face in his speech, Farage decided to go on a long rant at the politicians who will have to stick around and clear up his mess, referring to them as ‘career politicians’. This is extremely telling about Farage’s character. He himself is not prepared to see through the monumental change that he inspired, but he is prepared to have a go at those that will be left dealing with the consequences of this change. In addition to this, everyone who has an inch of respect for international diplomacy, should recognise that the very people Farage are insulting are the same people Britain are going to have to pretty soon, enter into tireless negotiations with for two years. This does not need to be of concern to Farage however, he is not the one that is going to have to try and desperately negotiate a settlement with the EU that is better than the one we already had, and threw away.

The Future

When the referendum result was declared, one of the first thing Nigel Farage should happen is that there should be a ‘Brexit Government’ to take us out of the EU. It seems that Farage is at now at least halfway to achieving his wish. In fact, I should imagine the Thatcher loving UKIP con man sees it as quite a result that he has allowed the Tory’s to set about restructuring the UK economy, far more than it was restructured in the 1980’s. Aside from giving a bunch of hard right bigots that were too right wing for the Tory Party like Neil Hamilton a path back into politics, Farage’s main legacy appears to be the reconfiguring of society in general, in line with the ideology of whatever far right demagogue wins the Conservative Nomination in October.
As for UKIP, whoever succeeds Farage as leader will have a difficult time holding a party together, who no longer have a reason to exist. However, whatever remains of them, we know that they will continue to prey on the dissatisfaction of working class voters, in order to garner votes, dragging the Tory party further to the right.

Conclusion

Overall, I predict that Farage will either have his legacy fade in to the distance or he will be remembered as someone who allowed a bunch of hard right Tory’s to seize the reins of power, and inflict their dangerous ideology on the country. All we need to remember as leftists, is that whatever post Brexit dystopia UKIP have inspired, requires our resistance and our solidarity.

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