July 24, 2019 12.36 pm This story is over 52 months old

Barry Turner: What now for Farage?

What is he after? A seat in Boris’s cabinet perhaps?

Readers of the Daily Telegraph and those connected to blogs across the net will be aware that Nigel Farage, leader of the Brexit Party, has offered incoming PM Boris Johnson an electoral pact to ensure that we leave the EU in an orderly or disorderly fashion on the 31st of October.

Boris Johnson has already in advance of this kind offer declined it, in what must be seen as the first sensible decision of his administration. They always said that he was not a daft as he pretended.

What is Mr Farage’s real motive for this magnanimous cease fire with a party he has rubbished for years? Is it really to ‘Back Boris’ to ensure Jeremy Corbyn does not win any forthcoming election? Is it really to make sure that we do in fact do what he has been determined we should for over 20 years?

Probably not. One, because we will be leaving the EU on the 31st October with or without the assistance of the Brexit Party or ‘UKIP the sequel’ as it is known. Two, because Mr Farage following the election of Boris Johnson now has to shift gear to ensure that he can walk away from the Brexit Party before they go into the inevitable meltdown of their prequel UKIP.

Mr Farage does not seem to have been following the Johnson hustings very closely. A great deal of what Boris has had to say is diametrically opposed to the views of the Brexit Party. Apart from the rather obvious common ground, just about everything else is facing 180 degrees in the opposite direction. To form any kind of alliance, the new PM will have to abandon many of his promises and face serious backlash.

Nigel Farage suggests that this electoral pact, wherein the Brexit party stands to win more Labour Brexit supporting seats in the north can keep Corbyn out of Number 10. He warns that the Tories face a wipe out without him and his party and that any further prevaricating over EU withdrawal risks splitting the Tory party. Really! We must wonder where he gets that idea from.

Also read from Barry Turner: Boris has no more worlds to conquer

So what is he after? A seat in Boris’s cabinet perhaps? UK ambassador to Washington perchance? No, he is seeking to avoid any blame when his project goes wrong. Nigel Farage knows full well that the Brexit Party can never form a government or win any substantial number of seats in the UK Parliament to be anything other than a protest group. He knows that on the hustings in any general election that the dark skeletons in his party will soon be outed from the cupboard. He knows that in reality no Labour voter will vote for his aspirations for the NHS and welfare state.

The Brexit Party celebrated what they perceived a huge electoral success in the European Parliament elections to become the biggest single party in the most impotent parliament in Europe. Just like UKIP before it it had no problem winning representation in an institution that it regards and treats with contempt. Just like UKIP before, it will not celebrate such a success in a general election.

Boris Johnson will deliver Brexit without the need for Farage and his party because he cannot do anything other than do this. The reality has now set in that there are now only two options, leave with a deal or leave without one. Either is a spectacularly difficult task and the last thing the new Tory government wants is the baggage of the Brexit Party to carry with it. Nigel Farage has already got what he wants. We are leaving the EU and he has his built-in excuse when it does not go his way. “It was all Boris’ fault”.

So what now for Nigel? Well ‘Moses like’ he led us to the promised land of taking back our country. To extend the metaphor, he will now probably not be crossing over with us. He has expressed his wish to go and live in the United States and has been making a good deal of effort to carve a niche for himself there. What profound irony indeed! The man that wanted his country back now wants to jettison it for his own self interest. So that is what he meant when he talked of a new kind of politics.

Barry Turner is a Senior Lecturer in War Reporting and Human Rights and a member of the Royal United Services Institute.