Time seems to have stood still over the past 3 years. Or maybe even the past 5 years? Because today, we are right back where we started in 2014 - when the one-man-show called Nigel Farage, then under his UKIP brand, won the EU election and sent 24 MEPs to a parliament which they said they hated. And as a result, Farage gave PM Cameron such a fright that he organised the 2016 EU referendum.
This time, with his relaunched front, the single-issue Brexit Party, Farage has won seats for 29 MEPs - that is, plus 5.
Those squabbling Tory MPs who failed to live up to their promised British exit over the past 3 years, played right into his hands. And he has put the wind up them yet again, just as in 2014, forcing the (so far) 11 Tory candidates for May’s kitten-heeled shoes to try to out-Brexit him.
Of course, Farage, the ex-city trader, and “popular” capitalist, is a very seasoned politician, just like all those whom he derides! He is just a bit more well-oiled and more right-wing than they are.
And so he put forward his “Brexit!”as the “great escape” which would solve all ills - the ills caused by the same old capitalist system of which he himself is a number one, patriotic fan! But he sells a corrupted fix, like any dodgy dealer...
Of course, he didn’t repeat what he really stands for, this time round. For instance, that Britain should rival Singapore as a cheap labour pool in order to attract investment. Yes, and with captive workers, stuck firmly behind its borders, no longer able to move freely into the continent of Europe, and without any regulations, nor reinforcement to their ranks to help prevent the bosses from increasing exploitation to unheard-of heights.
In that sense too, Farage is a lot worse than some of the politicians he accuses of belonging to the “elite”, and ignoring the “common man”.
The weird and motley band he collected for the EU election says it all: arch-bigot Ann Widdecombe and the reactionary upper-class sister of Rees-Mogg, who failed to make headway in the Tory Party, or the former Tory far-right Brian Monteith, who is now a Brexit Party MEP, against the EU, while enjoying a comfortable life in his home under the EU sun of southern France!
For them, any rights for the working class (and, by the way, also rights for women!) are at best “necessary evils” and should, wherever possible be dispensed with.
Reasons to be cheerful...
However, for those not taken in by the Brexit fairy tale that leaving the EU is the answer to all ills, (and what an “easy” solution, which requires nothing from us, but a vote), the results of this EU election give some reasons to be cheerful.
This “win” by Farage was hardly a “seismic shift”, as the media keeps telling us. For all the hype around the Brexit party, it only managed to mobilise 11.66% of all registered voters. Or, to look at it another way, their 5,248,533 votes only amount to 30% of the “Leave” vote in the 2016 referendum.
In other words, in some ways the whole protracted Brexit saga may have done some good, by revealing much more than ever before, what a farce the whole British political and electoral set-up really is - and how little it reflects the “will of the people”.
And of course the same “people” get no say over the closure of a hospital, cuts in a school budget, or a local service which leaves the elderly poor to rot, without any proper social or nursing care.
...and reasons to fight back!
Anyway, many felt there was no stake in turning out to vote, even if they did support Brexit before - despite the shambles and despite Farage’s showmanship. Turnout was just 36.9% -only 1.5% more than in 2014.
If you add up the vote for “hard” Brexit parties, you get 5.928m, or 13.2% of all registered voters, compared to those voting for “hard” remain parties which added up to 6.954m, or 15.4% of registered voters. (Leaving out Tory and Labour votes, since neither had a clear position.) So no Brexit majority.
But politicians never learn. The same old in-fights and personal rivalries are at present unfolding around the bid for the Tory leadership. Most of May’s would-be successors are making a big meal of the non-existent "Brexit Party landslide", with the help of the media, in order to justify their own endorsement of Farage's ignorant, xenophobic and above all, anti-working class politics.
So now another season of political overbidding has begun, this time overtly for the sake of the Tory contenders' ambitions. But after 3 years of the Brexit saga, we know very well where it will lead. So it's up to us to put a stop to this, by voicing our class interests, by putting the real issues on the agenda and fighting for them on the ground.