Farage has become bored

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AP

His Reform UK party is becoming the UK’s third force and could well influence the outcome of the upcoming election

The Tories are sinking. The polls are not getting any better — Labour is 20 points ahead of the Conservatives, no matter how you look at it, although according to Snap YouGov, Sunak was the leader, albeit with a minimal advantage — he performed better in the first televised debate with his rival.

In the second week of the campaign, the Tories are desperate to turn the tide, not to mention the pressure on the Prime Minister himself. There is a flurry of statements: for example, on the introduction of compulsory military service from the age of 18, severe punishment for fraud with driver’s license points, the establishment of an annual limit on the issuance of visas to immigrants… Labour is conducting a more cautious campaign, focused primarily on security issues.

And then, out of the blue, comes Nigel Farage, leader of the right-wing populist party Reform UK, formerly UKIP, the Independence party that proved itself during the campaign for Britain’s exit from the EU. And after Brexit, as it turned out, there wasn’t much for them to do and the Reformists floated at the bottom of the popularity list. They remained in the shadow of the Tories and did not interfere with them much.

In the 2019 election Reform UK decided not to field a candidate, and Boris Johnson passed with a margin of 80 votes. Now Farage has suddenly decided to run his own in almost every constituency, and as a result his party is ahead in the polls of the Liberal Democrats, the stable «bronze medalist» of the podium, and has become the third party in the country.

It is the fact that Reform UK has decided to put up such a broad front that has suddenly seriously damaged the Conservatives’ chances. YouGov polls show them with 140 of the 650 seats in the House of Commons a month before the election. Disaster.

Reform UK’s breakthrough began in March, after the departure from the Conservatives of their chairman Lee Anderson, who became the first reformist MP in Parliament. By the way, he is a committed politician. He left Labour for the Conservatives, achieved a high position there, and then moved even further to the right.

Anderson quickly accused London Mayor Sadiq Khan of «allowing Islamists to take control of the capital», promised to bring back the death penalty, and recommended that those migrants who were not satisfied with the resettlement in a refugee camp on the barge «Bibby Stockholm» should go back to France.

Immediately, right on the day of Anderson’s flight, Reform UK’s ranks swelled with 1,000 new members. Naturally, Farage decided to act as the leader of the party and run for election.

The party has basically three leaders. Richard Tice, a millionaire who has been running Reform UK since March 2021, is a former member of the European Parliament who has not shown much results in elections at various levels in his home country. The second is Ben Habib, the party’s deputy leader, who also used to sit in the EP and in the recent by-election got 13 percent in his Wellingborough constituency. That’s not a bad figure, demonstrating that the party is on the rise. It’s also something Farage must have taken into account when deciding to stand on his own.

Most of his new voters are those who voted for Johnson in 2019. They tend to be older, white, not college-educated, and most importantly, frightened by migration and rising crime. Important: they have a sense that Brexit has achieved nothing. Consequently, the Sunak government is incapable of tackling the problem of migrants coming from across La Manche.

Farage announced that he had decided to join the campaign because he found it «boring». Several juicy statements followed, one of which should perhaps be highlighted in particular. According to Richard Tice, Farage’s plan is to wait for the Tories to split after their defeat and lead the UK right-wing.

This is exactly what French leftist Jean-Luc Mélenchon is trying to achieve in the leftist camp in his own country. According to the principle of «divide and conquer» to divide or not to let like-minded people get together and stand at the head as a unifier.

Such plans of Farage are confirmed by people from his entourage. However, it is more likely that we are talking about the elections of 2029. In the current one, the task of «bored» Farage is to create discord in the camp of the Tories, who are getting closer and closer to a crushing defeat in July. The leader himself speaks about the situation with the Conservatives as follows:

«Naturally, I don’t trust them and I don’t particularly like them. I’m going to change the shape of our center-right wing, whatever that means. Why do you think I named the party Reform UK? Remember what happened in Canada in 92–93. There, their Reform came out of nowhere, from the boondocks, because the Canadian Conservatives had morphed into Social Democrats like this crowd of ours. It took them a while — two election terms. But they are now Canada’s largest center-right party. They’ve absorbed what’s left of the Conservatives and rebranded themselves».

Reform UK plans to withdraw from the European Convention on Human Rights, which prevents the country from treating migrants as it sees fit, namely sending them back where they came from.

Tice called the environmental «net zero» as «pure folly» and promises to speed up the issuing of licenses for oil and gas extraction in the North Sea. Cancel all carbon reduction targets as this is just another blow to taxpayers’ pockets.

Reduce the corporate tax rate from 25 to 20 percent.

Business rates for small and medium-sized businesses — down! But introduce a 3 percent tax on online delivery, which is now flourishing worldwide. This is how the party wants to create a fairer playing field for big retailers.

By and large, the program repeats the basic Tory positions, only the switch is put a couple of divisions to the right. The same withdrawal from the European Convention is already being discussed among the Conservatives.

At the same time, Reform UK’s finances are not so lush. Richard Tice, of course, gives a lot from his own savings. But the list of other donations from businessmen is not impressive at all — 10,000, 15,000 pounds. Some of their colleagues from Russia left more in London restaurants.