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Farage is Back...

June 4, 2024.

Kevan James

When Nigel Farage announced he was, after all, going to stand for election at the forthcoming UK general election, that he was also becoming Leader of Reform UK, and that he would be Leader for the next five years, what was rapidly degenerating into one of the most boring elections in UK history suddenly got interesting.

Farage has long been considered one of the more divisive figures in British political history. In fact, given the era in which he has become prominent, possibly the most divisive ever. History will be the judge of that but there is no doubt that he commands a considerable following and one that is growing significantly.

Will he be entering the House of Commons after seven previous attempts without success? That obviously is for the people of Clacton to decide but he stands a good chance. He does so because Clacton also has history.

Douglas Carswell was at one time the Conservative MP there but resigned and stood for UKIP, winning the seat at the subsequent by-election. That Carswell did the honourable thing and resigned his position (hence the by-election) is to his credit, also shared by Mark Reckless who did the same thing in Rochester, Kent. Reckless also won the by-election but neither held the seats for long.

Nigel Farage's chances would be greater if Carswell had remained as MP for the constituency for longer than the next term of parliament, but Clacton does at least have a record of returning a member of parliament for a party outside the big two in England

(Carswell left UKIP partway through and sat as an Independent before standing down).

Reform UK's new leader has been criticised, sometimes with justification, in the past, and will be even more so with an election coming up, but it is a hard, undeniable fact that significant numbers of people not just in England but across the UK, are well and truly fed up with the calibre of politician we now have.

Farage breaks that mould and if elected, there can be little doubt that he will have a golden opportunity to reshape British politics considerably.

He is unashamedly British, quite blunt (much to the chagrin of those both on the left and right) and has, over the last couple of decades, been one of the most influential people across the political spectrum.

He will however, have to break something else; the idea that he is a one-trick pony, driven only by a desire to get away from the European Union. He will have to firm up Reform's polices, delve into the minute details of how to run a country - something Boris Johnson was unable to do, which in part led to his downfall and the subsequent chaos that has engulfed not just the Tories but the UK as a whole.

He will have to demonstrate that apart from having a somewhat 'blokey' image, liking a pint and a smoke, he really does grasp how ordinary people feel; how they are having to deal with absurd rises in the cost of food, of being able to buy clothes and footwear, to the shocking and utterly deranged rises in rent and mortgages - of merely having a stable, secure and safe home to live in.

Farage is not ordinary. But he will have to prove that he does at least, really 'get it'.

And he doesn't have very long to do so.

© Kevan James 2024

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