Thursday, May 30, 2019

Nigel Farage: Master of All He Surveys?

Friends, given the ongoing meltdown of Britain's political elite, and the unparalleled success of the nationalist upstart Nigel Farage, it's time we asked: just how high might this man ascend?  My latest article provides some intriguing answers.  The upper crust had better watch its backs!

Nigel Farage: Britain's Prime Minister-in-Waiting?

At least since 2014, the most powerful man in the United Kingdom has been someone who holds no noble or royal title, and has never occupied a domestic political office. He is a former commodities broker who took up the cause of reasserting British sovereignty and terminating the country's membership in the elitist, internationalist, and vaguely socialist European Union. He has earned the unremitting scorn of Britain's political, cultural, and economic elite in return — and a place in history as the man who upended the two-party system and breathed new life into the world's oldest and most venerable democracy.

Nigel Farage is the man of the hour in Britain and Europe. Three years ago, he led the successful campaign to convince British voters to embrace “Brexit”: Britain's departure from the European Union. Believing his work largely done, he retired from political life, only to watch with horror as the British parliamentary elite obfuscated and delayed in the implementation of the people's will. 
Two postponements of Brexit later, Farage took himself out of mothballs and launched the Brexit Party in order to contest the EU parliamentary elections. That was just six weeks ago. As of the publication of the election results on Sunday, May 26th, we now know that Farage and his Brexit Party were the big winners, taking over 30% of the vote and the lion's share of Britain's MEPs (members of the European Parliament). Once again, Britain's crusty old grandees look to be foundering on the adamantine rock that is Nigel Farage.

Farage beat the establishment in 2014. He beat them again in 2016. Now he has beaten them for a third time in 2019.

It seems incredible, but we have to ask: has the Farage Factor played itself out, or are his mightiest triumphs yet to come?

Consider that, by mid-July, Britain will have a new Prime Minister from the ruling Conservative Party. Thanks to the scare that the Brexit Party just put into the Conservatives, that Prime Minister will likely be someone like Boris Johnson, i.e. someone who supports Brexit and even reserves the right to take the United Kingdom out of the EU without a deal. That means, in other words, a near total break with the European Union.

The problem is that, while most Conservative voters may support a no-deal Brexit, large numbers of Conservative MPs do not. A Conservative Prime Minister who was a confirmed Brexiteer therefore would face the very real possibility, even the likelihood, that some of his own MPs would support a no-confidence motion against him. That would produce the fall of the government and a fresh general election. Anti-Brexit forces seem to feel that a such an election would lead, by hook or by crook, to the cancellation of Brexit. That is indeed one potential outcome.

The other, however, is that British politicos have miscalculated once again, underestimating both the British electorate and Nigel Farage. Instead of confirming the domination of establishment, anti-Brexit forces, a general election could lead to a result similar to the one we just saw in the EU parliamentary elections: a fractured contest in which Farage and his Brexiteers command by far the most votes. 

Since Britain's Parliament is elected in single-member districts, according to a first-past-the-post voting system, the party that gets the most votes generally gets the most MPs. In the recent EU elections, Britain's two major parties, Labour and the Conservatives, saw their support wither, while the Brexit Party beat its nearest competitor, the Liberal Democrats, by over 10 points. If that were to happen again in a general election, what would be the result? A clear majority in Parliament for the Brexit Party! The leader of the Brexit Party would then become Prime Minister. In case you've lost track, that would be...Nigel Farage!

There are ways, of course, in which Britain's current rulers can avoid this sequence of events and can keep Farage far away from 10 Downing Street. The easiest way? Give the British people what they want, and what they voted for in 2016 and 2019: Brexit! 

That would mean the establishment would have to swallow its pride and accept the fact that Britain is a sovereign country that can, and should, govern itself. Perhaps they will see reason and make this choice.

The only other alternatives available to the powers-that-be are to co-opt Farage and his Brexiteers via some kind of coalition, or to beat him fair and square at the polls — something which has proven next to impossible up to now.

The smart bet, for those who study and learn from recent history, is that the British ruling class will continue to drift towards self-annihilation.

Nigel Farage, therefore, had better start thinking of some pleasantries to exchange with the Queen. She may soon be inviting him to Buckingham Palace to offer him the job of Prime Minister. 

A laughable, impossible scenario, you say? That sounds a lot like what people claimed when Donald Trump rode down the escalator at Trump Tower to declare his candidacy in June 2015. 

Never say never, especially when history is in flux, as it so clearly is today.

Dr. Nicholas L. Waddy is an Associate Professor of History at SUNY Alfred and blogs at: He appears weekly on the Newsmaker Show on WLEA 1480.

And here's the American Greatness version: 

You may also wish to check out this article about the obsessive nature of the Democrats' vendetta against President Trump: 


  1. Dr. Waddy: Last things first again. In addition to Ahab's personal quest for vindication, Moby Dick had also to do with existential fundamentals (eg. understanding evil). Your comparison with the Dems' fevered and unhinged danse macabre since 2016 holds up very well in that sense too. I do not admire them at all the frantic dread which assaults their vitals at this time. If they fail to defeat Trump one way or t'other, they may become an afterthought, both for the fact of his excruciating triumph but also for the withering discredit failure would reflect upon their childish tantrums.They were so very close to the top; now the abyss beckons.

  2. Dr. Waddy: I love the humor so often discernible in history. For example "popular wisdom" is understandably popular, wise and depended upon. But look at the astonishing things we have seen in our time: the fall of "Marxism"(except of course in Cuba, N. Korea and the American academy, disgracefully compromised, comically, in a detached way, wrongheaded institutions all;not,for sure, in those lands which have prudently and redeemably employed the power to send these murderous dreamers packing), Ronald Reagan, Margaret Thatcher's deliverance of the "Sceptered Isle" from the millenially arrogant far left, Barack Obama, Donald Trump and now quite possibly, Nigel Farage. What mischief the historical Muse plays with us! "We are as flies to the mighty Gods; they kill us for their sport" - Lear. They might not kill us but they do toy with us. What are we to make of these things?

    Well first, so many of the recent developments have taken place in the world's two most creditable and proven democracies, Great Britain and the U.S. They bespeak a resilience all unlooked for by those who consider them a dismissible stage on the road to a yet and forever unrealizable,ever irresponsibly imagined, utopia.

    I remember when the Congress Party in India was dominent in a yet considerably contestable polity. Now, it is buried. In Britain, could both Labor and Tory join in subordination should there be a national election - could be! I was in the exalted setting of Parliament Square in January, 2019, the day before one of the Brexit procedural votes and the vast majority of demonstrators bore signs exemplified by "Leave means Leave!" So many of the undemocratic obscurantists in the UK have based their hopes on a presumptuous second Brexit referendum in which they would be redeemed by a "no" vote. This latest vote and Nigel Farage's patriotic devotion to Britain's sovereignty, strongly predicts their disappointment. A second Brexit referendum might shame them.What then from them?What frantic totalitarian humbug?

    A Conservative - Labor coalition against Brexit or a no deal Brexit? If anything, the common sense vs leftist struggle has been even more intense in the U.K. than in the U.S. I doubt any cooperation on their parts, mainly because I support (for what its worth) absolute distrust of Labor's good will. This could open the gate for a one issue party like Brexit. Though it is fundamentally that, all misgivings about its possible consequent conduct in power are eclipsed by the gravity of the moment. Surely those who dreaded the ascension of Churchill in 1940 soon realized that upon it depended ALL. That may not be as brutally obvious as it was in 1940 but I think the Brexiteers see it for what it is - "Rule Britannia", as it should over itself.

    The American left may well face a similar and perhaps decisive rebuff.

  3. Jack, you're right -- the twists and turns of history do prove that God has a wicked sense of humor! We would be wise, as always, to consider the "affairs of men" as mere cosmic dust that, at most, occasions the odd divine sneeze, but most of the time signifies nothing at all.

    Could a second Brexit referendum produce the same result? That's certainly possible. One imagines the establishment would stack the deck even more than the last time, however, and the shape of the referendum itself might be calculated to produce confusion. Anyway, I anticipate, if they lose referendum #2, that #3 will be the new talk of the town... These people are shameless.

    A Conservative-Labour coalition? I doubt it, for the reasons you discussed. Labour is still treating Brexit as just one more political football that they can exploit to win a general election and advance closer to socialism. The Lib Dems are serious about stopping Brexit, and I suppose they might make some sort of alliance with Labour. That could be formidable. Honestly, a general election would be a wild ride, at this stage. Anything could happen, including a P.M. Farage. It's the very confusion of British politics that offers him a window of opportunity. I still think there's hope, though, that the Conservatives will deliver Brexit, more or less despite themselves. And then...a reset?

  4. Dr. Waddy: A Brexit Party - Conservative coalition might be the answer to Labour - Lib Dem (?)

  5. Could be, Jack. There was just a poll of voting preferences for a hypothetical general election, and the Brexit Party came out on top! The Conservatives were third. My feeling is that the current government will avoid an election like the plague, because the result could so easily be disastrous for them... If there is an election, though, the coalition building will get very interesting.