By conventional political standards, Nigel Farage certainly deserves that peerage or knighthood he covets. Under his leadership, UKIP grew to take the largest share of the UK vote in the last EU election, took 3.9m votes at the last general election and, of course, was a key variable in the UK’s Brexit. A lot of us don’t celebrate his success, but it’s quite impossible to deny it.
Naturally, Brexit shot UKIP’s fox. Brexit was always more of a creation of the clever Tory right wing than UKIP itself; the latter have essentially been useful idiots to the aforementioned. The right-wing wanted a hard Brexit for a number of coherent (if, to many, objectionable) reasons – these include advancing the cause of neoliberalism, radical tax-cutting and public-expenditure slashing. Now the Tory right-wing has won, Theresa May – beneficiary of a freakish fratricide – can only follow on by pursuing a hard Brexit and all those hard-edged ideological policies associated with it.
Douglas Carswell, whom Farage wants out of UKIP, is of course the personification of the preparedness of many right-wing Tories to go as far as to back UKIP in order to achieve Brexit. Now he’s set to be the personification of those same folk as they return to the Tories.
Meanwhile, Labour’s idea that UKIP is the bigger threat to them is proving to be at once self-serving and delusory. Right now, particularly in light of Copeland, it’s clear that as things stand the Tories are so far in the ascendant over Labour as to make any prospect of even a Labour minority administration in 2020 look preposterous. Imagine what will happen when Carswell now marches a couple of million of natural Tories back from UKIP to their true home?
Maybe Farage has had a cunning plan all along. Maybe he’s always been a deep, deniable agent of the Tory Party? And maybe Carswell’s been one too? That’d make a good movie treatment, anyway….
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, for Scots wondering amidst all of this how the union will serve them? It will serve them with hard Brexit, English-only governance and a right wing ascendancy determined to turn Scotland into a low-tax, low-spend economy like the rest of Greater England (including NI).
A quarter of Scots have already decided they like that right-wing Tory stuff. They are the Scottish champions unionism now. Very close to half say they hate it and prefer Scottish social democratic values and independence. And that other quarter, a majority of whom still support Labour? Let’s all help them move to Yes.