Nigel is being pragmatic…

BXP will not be running in 317 seats where the ‘Conservative’ Party won in 2017. The pragmatic electoral arithmetic is simple to understand, but will the Tories actually seek to deliver a meaningful Brexit if they gain a working majority? I am far from convinced. But why Farage is doing this is not hard at all to grasp.

Updated: 11th November 2019 — 2:33 pm


  1. On the contrary, it is rather difficult to see why Mr. Farage is doing this.

    Voting in the UK, perhaps even more so than in other countries, is tribal. It was clear from the day the election was called that many Tory Brexiteers were drifting back from The Brexit Party to the Conservatives — even if they had to hold their noses to do so.

    That left The Brexit Party mainly with Brexiteer members of the Labour tribe. By now effectively declaring themselves to be Tory allies, The Brexit Party has probably severely disappointed those traditional Labour voters and is driving them back to their traditional voting patterns. On the other hand, there may simply be a much lower turnout than would normally be expected, due to the general disgust with the Westminster Political Class.

    The spin appears to be that Mr. Farage made his concession in return for some significant Brexit-related promises from Boris the Unreliable. Good luck with that!

  2. Perhaps some flexibility would have been best: perhaps Mr Farage should have put up candidates only in those seats where
    (a) the sitting Tory MP looks wet and
    (b) there is a very good chance that the Tory would win anyway, or else a good chance that the Brexit candidate would win.

    But of course i don’t know whether there are any seats like that.

  3. The die is cast.

    Personally, Winter Boris looks so weak and lefty to me he may as well be Labour leader.

    Summer Boris had pep.

    Clearly Bojo has not learned the most important leadership lessons from Trump, Obama, Blair, Thatcher, Regan.

    Look strong.

    Even though Sad old Grandpa Stalin looks weaker, Bojo will still struggle to gain a majority.

    I know Hector Drummond thought Boris secured the Tory vote from bleeding away to Brexit Party, I don’t think they will get a majority and this could easily be like a strategy to shore up a weak Tory vote.

  4. I have no one to vote for, only Con, Lab, Lib Dem and Green. The Con is an obvious Europhile hack, the rest are unspeakably vile.

    As noted above, we are back to wet Tories, John Majorism, spending like Labour is the plan, but without the bloodthirsty rhetoric.

  5. Get the Brexit we can get to start with. Emotional gestures only help our enemies.Wars are won by steady tactics not by daft emotion-driven antics. Vote for whoever supports Brexit. Even if they are BluLabour scum being obliged to support it.The Deal is far better than Treason May’s BRINO and it is OUT. The only alternative is remain. And the EU will thank you for your gestures–by laughing in our faces.

  6. While I quite see that Nigel should leave leaver Tories alone, I had been hoping for an external purge of a few of the worst Remoaner examples to supplement the desirable but far from comprehensive internal purge that has happened. A Brexiteer should run in May’s seat – and a few others. A few candidates are still being deselected or sacked for unfortunate remarks – that should include deselecting a few for gross europhile remarks and/or challenging in seats where they will have the argument “it’s either me or the Tory here” to combine Labour voters with voters willing to purge TINOs.

  7. My take on this is that the various calls for Farage to cease and desist means that you will have a choice of Labour or Conservative, both of which have screwed the electorate over and are now saying, in effect, give us another chance.

    Does anyone recall that Cameron promised a referendum twice? He made the promise in 2010 and got elected and reneged on it to give a second promise if he won the 2015 election. He then allowed the referendum and immediately spat the dummy when the result was not what he expected.

    Now for a third time they are saying “trust us” with no guarantee that the bar stewards will behave differently and actually represent their constituents. No, these people are so bent that you could not twist wire into the shape they are. Enough! Vote for a party that has consistently maintained its opposition to the EU and that is the BREXIT party but you are being denied this choice.

    Pragmatism? A sell out is what it really is.

  8. Itellyounothing said a while ago that ‘this is the hill to die on’. Unfortunately, Mr. Farage has withdrawn the air support and the artillery, and turned this invasion of Establishment territory into the Bay of Pigs.

    Boris the Unreliable is out there promising that he is single-handedly going to negotiate a Supercalifragelisticexpalidocious Canada +++ trade deal with the EU once the peons fall in line and give him a majority.

    This ignores the obvious situation that a negotiation between the UK and the EU has two parties — and the EU party will be glad to do whatever it can to create a rough road for the UK post-separation. It also ignores the historical fact that it took 8 (as in, eight) years for the EU/Canada deal to be negotiated, when there was serious good will on both sides.

    The obvious approach for Mr. Farage to have taken would have been to run Brexit Party candidates in every constituency where the incumbent (Tory or Labour) did not have a strong record of supporting Brexit. But that is water under the bridge. The Brexit Party is now a busted flush, and Boris the Unreliable is no more likely to deliver his BRINO than he was to die in a ditch on Oct 31.

  9. Gavin,

    You ain’t wrong it’s not looking pretty.

    As usual, we just have to wait and see.

    Bojo betraying Brexit will still kill the Tory party in the end, more thoroughly than Theresa May was achieving.

    If the price of progress is the loss of the Tory brand and a shit deal with EU, so be it.

    Every victory won this way will cost the establishment big.

    The working classes are paying more and more attention.

    If the pigs running this farm think they can put the genie of the increasingly attentive electorate back in the bottle more fool them.

    Bojo’s support looks very soggy to me. Nige has played a high ground manoeuvre it may help both or neither of them. Independence is still the hill to die on and the cost of not is going to be high for Labour, Tories and the Brexit party.

  10. The choice is a deal–not great but still OUT–vs remain. Remain forever once the vote fixers are finished.

    There seem to be a large number of people who can’t grasp that the only place you can start from is where you are. And that childish emotional gestures will cost us everything.I AM STILL WAITING TO HEAR HOW GIVING REMAIN VICTORY ON FUCKING PLATE IS A MEANS TO ACHIEVE BREXIT.

    Let’s get out and redouble our efforts from there. WE can expand our freedom massively once out.


  11. Mr. Ecks: “Let’s get out and redouble our efforts from there.”

    Reasonable people can differ — but it seems more likely that if Boris the Unreliable delivers his half-in/half-out BRINO, that will be the end of it for a long time, as far as the majority of people in the UK are concerned.

    It is tough to see where the enthusiasm and (more particularly) the organization for making any further advance after Boris’s BRINO would come from, now that the Brexit Party has self-destructed by revealing it is merely an arm of the Tory Party. Remember that the Establishment will still be there, and will be ascribing any & all post-BRINO problems to the break with the EU.

    At this point, the hoped-for “Great Realignment” does not look promising.

  12. “WE can expand our freedom massively once out.”

    As I noted above, Boris’s new Withdrawal Agreement has no exit clause. So only within limits.

  13. I took the below from

    If anyone can debunk it, please do and make my day.

    “ of any matters underway in relation to Union legal membership and not finalised, as and when or if the transition period ends, they remain under Union control.” realise they have been sold a large pup! In plain English, if agreement has not been reached by the end of the Transition Period, the ‘status quo’ rules; and the Union wins.

    “Article 129. 3. In accordance with the principle of sincere cooperation, the United Kingdom shall refrain, during the transition period, from any action or initiative which is likely to be prejudicial to the Union’s interests, in particular in the framework of any international organisation, agency, conference or forum of which the United Kingdom is a party in its own right

    No Independence and Slightly Slower Socialism seems the likely result.

    Ecksy, if you’ve got a clever way round this, now’s the time and I am all ears. Can we really just walkout from the handcuffs of the transition period? Short of a Unilateral Declaration of Independence from a much more desperate government than a Tory majority would bring, I don’t see how.

  14. Itell–do you have a cleverer way around remain being handed a victory on a plate? Because I’m sure you don’t. And once those vote fixers get going the small print will no longer matter much. Your Grandkids are going to the EU Army.

    And Farage finds all this supposed tripe acceptable does he? Are you looking at the right deal seeing that TBP sent Treason May’s deal out to their candidates.

    Once again Longmuir–you are over here playing yourself–you have no skin in this game–so go get Trump re-elected.

  15. Honestly, no. I am stumped and looking for ideas.

    I’ve heard
    1 – Vote Tory and hope they aren’t lying this time
    2 – Vote for BXP and hope I don’t badly split the leave vote.
    3 – Lie down and cry great rivers of Brexitears.
    4 – Get everyone who still watching the BBC and a Brexiteer cancelling their TV license for the lies, bias and nonsense from Aunty and to slap the establishment round the nose again.
    5 – Vote Labour or Limp Dem out of spite, take it from one who faces it at work all the time, you’d be surprised how often threats of suicide get the otherwise ineffectives their own way.

    I like 4 because I can mix it with 1,2, or 5.

    BXP have stood down in my constituency as far as I can tell which is a shame, cause I compared the Tory clown I’ve got with BXP dude and Brexit aside I would have vastly preferred BXP on policy and attitude.

    All bullshit aside, I can see you reckon we just plow through this and hope for the best. I already don’t watch TV or do anything I would need to pay the BBC for, so I don’t.

    You win, I’ll probably just vote and hope. I just kind feel like kicking something. Repeatedly. I wanted it would be the EU out of my country’s business.

  16. Itell–I don’t give a rat’s arse for the Tories but Brexit is what matters. It will be a long war against the wannabe globo elite and Brexit is the essential round one. If Johnson wins–and I pray he does because anything else is just death for Brexit–then we all need to be on the bastard from day one. The war is far from over even with Brexit. Without Brexit and with remain scum in power and vote fixing–then the war will also be over. Cos the good guys will have lost.

  17. Mr. Exks: “the war will also be over”

    Don’t get depressed, little guy. The war is never over!

    Brexit is an interesting case for those of us around the world who want to see Big Intrusive Government rolled back. There are lessons to be learned for us all. One of the most important is that — the war is never over.

    Brexiteers made a giant mistake when they assumed that their narrow victory in the Referendum meant the war was over. Brexiteers should have redoubled their efforts to win over the larger number of their fellow-citizens who voted Remain or who chose not to vote — instead of adopting an exclusionary triumphalist “We Won” attitude. Remember that for the next time, after Boris the Unreliable sells you out.

    One additional idea to add to Itellyounothing’s list — Why don’t individual Brexiteers in appropriate constituencies say “Screw Farage & The Brexit Party!” and stand for election as Independent Brexiteers? One of the nice features of the UK election system is that the barriers to entry are quite low — hence Screaming Lord Sutch’s long record of standing for elections.

  18. The election of a majority government led by Boris would secure two things:

    Firstly, and most importantly it would stop the communists of the Momentum dominated Labour turning Britain in to a cold weather variation on Venezuela.

    Secondly, we will get an imperfect exit from the EU.
    While some of the negatives of this are already known, there is one big positive – psychologically we will be out. In life, the psychological is all too often underestimated. Time and inevitable tensions between the EU and the UK are likely to push us further from the EU and closer to a complete Brexit.

  19. Uninformed question:

    There has long been a foundational paradigm in Western governance that one government cannot bind following governments – that anything today’s Parliament or Congress can do can be undone by the next elected body.

    So, when one says that “Boris’s new Withdrawal Agreement has no exit clause”, what does that mean?

    If it means what it clearly purports to mean, how can that be legal or (if this term is even apposite in a nation without a written constitution) constitutional? Has there been some legal ruling that a bare majority vote CAN bind all future government?

  20. bobby b — uninformed answer: there is a difference between internal matters and international agreements.

    A parliament can unilaterally break an international agreement, of course, but the ramifications can be more serious for the country than reversing course on a purely internal matter. In the old days, breaking an international agreement could have led to war; in the current environment, cancelled invitations to Davos are more likely (but probably just as feared by the Political Class).

    This may be why in a country with a Constitution (such as the US), approving an international treaty requires a 2/3 super-majority in the Senate — to reduce the chances that a subsequent Congress would renege on the treaty.

  21. Breaking international treaties has the same consequence for countries as breaking promises does for individuals. Nobody trusts you any more. Making deals becomes a lot more expensive.

    Furthermore, it releases others to break deals with you. The Vienna treaty on international treaties says that you can back out of a deal with no penalty if the other side breaks it first. So if we break the Vienna treaty, we lose its protection. And so anyone else can renege on any agreement with us and get away with it. More expense.

    In practice, we would negotiate with the EU to get their agreement to change the terms. With the EU, there is always a price for anything. And there are ‘good faith’ requirements on the EU as well. But in any such negotiation, they would know they’ve got Britain over a barrel. The price would be high.

    It’s not fatal. Odds are it’s all stuff the Tory government would have agreed to anyway, and have had no intention whatsoever of changing. (Bear in mind, the Tory PM headed the Remain campaign…) I’m just saying.

    There’s no leave clause, so it’s not a case of getting out and then saying you had your fingers crossed behind your back and doing whatever the hell you like when you’ve got the majority to do so. The WA introduces strong permanent restrictions that it would be hard to get out of. It’s a definite downside. But that’s the deal on the table, it’s unlikely that the EU would allow an exit clause to be inserted, and the alternative is probably no deal, which as head of a party funded primarily by Big Business protectionists, the Tory PM really really really does not want. It’s going to happen.

    As many have said, it’s it’s probably the best of a bad set of alternatives. It should eventually get us a lot of what we want – free trade and more legislative independence. Just don’t go thinking it’s unqualified victory.

  22. Okay, thanks to the both of you. I suspected it was the external onus of breaching the agreement, but wasn’t clear on whether there was also some internal complication.

    I suppose, then, that signing the new WA leaves you the option later of claiming some “odious debt” sort of right to justly disclaim the treaty – but it seems . . . optimistic . . . to move from a situation in which you are governed by an explicit withdrawal process to one in which you simply cannot withdraw, in exchange for nicer terms.

  23. bobby b,

    There is an issue over abrogating absurd treaties, but the simple way out is to expel England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland from the UK, after having taken Rockall of off Scotland and given the Gannets their rightful place as the fifth part of the UK, and then assign all the bad treaties to the UK (Rockall) and the good ones to the new Disjointed Kingdom of England, Wales, Scotland and Northern Ireland.

    Then the EU can complain to the Chief Gannet and steal all his fish, but they are already stealing our fish anyway.

  24. I can see Brexit being the spark of English independence, but either way the Tory party specifically and the establishment more general need a powerful and uncomfortable educational experience

  25. Itellyounothing: “the establishment… need a powerful and uncomfortable educational experience.”

    Let’s see what happens. If the election results in most of the Tory tribe dutifully trooping to the polls to vote Tory, and the same for most of the Labour tribe, then the Establishment will indeed have had a powerful (although not uncomfortable) educational experience. They will never again need to worry about a Great Realignment. And Boris the Unreliable need have no compunction about further watering down his promised BRINO.

    In the current situation, about the only way it seems the Establishment could get an uncomfortable educational experience would be if many citizens went to the polls to vote against the incumbent, regardless of the incumbent’s Party affiliation. But I fear tribal loyalty would not allow that.

  26. Some commenters sound very depressed. I think it can be useful to count our blessings.

    1. We could have lost the Brexit referendum in mid-2016. (And across the pond, Hilary Clinton could be president of the USA instead of concern-trolling the UK about Brexit.)

    2. Every other country that has voted against ‘ever-closer union’ has been made to vote again to get the ‘right’ answer. We were not forced to hold a second referendum on a faked question. (And across the pond, the attempts to redefine the US electoral process when it gave the ‘wrong’ result fizzled.)

    3. The Remoaners put May in to pretend to leave without leaving. We could have fake-left on May’s deal. This did not happen. (And across the pond, the Mueller report also did not ‘happen’ – not as those who started it wished.)

    4) We could have left last month on Boris’ deal that the Benn Act forced him to negotiate. The late and unlamented parliament refused to let him leave on his timescale – so he withdrew it. (And across the pond, the impeachment enquiry doesn’t seem to be flourishing either.)

    We’ve discovered a lot about dishonesty and contempt of the remoaners/establishment/deep state in the last three years – but also about their incompetence and ability to defeat themselves.

    Friday 13th will be lucky for some – at the moment, the odds seem better for us than for the remoaners. Boris may then have a month and a half to renegotiate details from the stronger position of a healthy majority – but also (it would seem) a party of Tory MPs individually-pledged (the hardline Leavers as much as the rest) to voting out on his deal (improved or unimproved as the case may be) if he tells them to. If I understand correctly, Boris can then leave on the best deal he can get or run out the clock on January 31st, as he seemed likely to do on October 31st if the Benn act had been avoided. I would not expect him to stress that last possibility before December 13th unless the polls tell him to. I would expect him to mention it to the EU before January 31st unless he’s a poor negotiator. What will happen, who knows, and whatever happens we will have to keep fighting foes who would cheat us, but as Churchill said

    For myself, I am an optimist. There does not seem much point in being anything else.

    Meanwhile, I think Nigel should have kept Brexitteers challenging a few particularly ‘deserving’ Tories (May, for example). He could have announced he was challenging untrustworthy Tories and sparing only leavers but then set the standard so low that only a few faced Brexit candidates. However there, as with Boris, we should recognise that, from the day he started UKIP in 1991 up to now, Nigel has achieved more than might have been.

  27. Good point Niall and also Ecksy repeatedly. The black pill is always worth rejecting and reminding those of us flagging from taking one of that very fact.

    The blessings do indeed outweigh the “gifts” of this most rotten of parliaments.

  28. Niall is of course right about maintaining optimism — optimism from a realistic starting point. It would be foolish for any of us to sit around waiting optimistically for Taylor Swift to call and ask if we happen to be free this evening.

    The starting point for realistic optimism is to recognize the power of the UK Establishment. The Establishment wanted hard-core No Deal Brexit taken off the table — and Mr. Farage effectively did their bidding. He could more reasonably have withdrawn Brexit Party candidates from constituencies where the incumbent of either major Party was a committed Leaver, but that was not what the Establishment wanted.

    Realistic optimism also has to recognize that the potential for a Great Realignment has mostly gone away. Brexit has been revealed to be only one of a number of issues on the mind of the Great British Electorate, and perhaps not the existential issue it once appeared. An issue which originally clearly cut across major Party lines has now mysteriously resolved itself into a plain old Party-line issue, and we are supposed to believe that all those Remainer Conservatives have sincerely changed their views, and not just ducked into the closet for the duration of the election.

    Optimistically, it seems that the election will now mostly be a two-party race in which the First Past The Post system will not yield surprises. Although we should never forget former PM Harold Wilson’s wise words that “A week in politics is a long time”, optimistically it seems likely that the Tories will prevail and Boris the Unreliable will be Prime Minister.

    Prediction — Boris the Unreliable will not run out the clock and deliver a No Deal Brexit, because that is not what the Establishment wants. The Establishment can live with Boris’s BRINO, perhaps watered down further by the new Parliament, and that is what the Conservatives will deliver.

    Optimistic Prediction — this election and its aftermath will cripple the Labour Party. And the coming ‘Five Wasted Years’ (to misquote Harold Wilson) will cripple the Tory Party at the following election. Optimistically, this will finally fracture the power of the Establishment. Then the UK can finally shake free of the past and head optimistically into the future.

  29. Gavin,

    Its always nice to have multiple paths to win 😉

    Look how ridiculous the 70s UK got to result in a Thatcher.
    Or the US to get a Regan.

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