Having gone through the three main political parties, traditionally, in English politics, and with respect to their manifestos, I turn to the new kid on the block, the Brexit Party, whose leader, Nigel Farage, proudly announced has no manifesto given that manifestos usually lie by telling potential voters what they want to hear regardless whether promises will be kept, and instead the Brexit Party have proposed a contract with the people (see here), to implement if they got power or influence after the General Election on 12th December.
Having listened to Brexit Party not to do with Brexit per se plans, whether on the role of the military or constitutional reform, I find there is much I agree with. But it is Brexit, a subject that most parties in their spiel are not to keen to talk about much, that draws our attention to the Brexit Party, which was only formally launched in April this year but a little more than a month later had gained the most seats in a European election that would not have been called if the UK had left the EU as agreed. Their remarkable achievement was to put Leave the EU back on tracks as a viable proposition and being a channel for people to express their feelings. For it is their Leave stance with no strings attached that commands our attention and may provide the thermometer as to how many people think.
One of the surprise announcements in the current campaign is the Brexit Party will not be contesting any seat which has a Conservative MP. This was put forward as a country before party move so as not to split the Leave vote, but this move was not reciprocated by the Conservatives despite what seemed to me to be a generous offer that it would only stand in constituencies where the likelihood of a Conservative winning was remote, in return for not being opposed by a Conservative. Their reason for doing so was that these were typically Labour strongholds that had voted Leave in the 2016 EU referendum and who feel they were betrayed by their remainer MP for ignoring their views and, moreover, being led by a Marxist.
Looking at polling stats, since its early success in the European election, support for the Brexit Party has dwindled, especially following it deciding not to contest Conservative seats, maybe because under Boris Johnson, despite the arguably badly reworked Theresa May deal now on the table, people who voted against the Conservatives in the European election because of their shambolic Brexit policy may now vote for them having been sold on the idea of let’s get Brexit done by Boris and after having done this has offered a sensible set of policies for going forward into the future.
As one who finds himself living in a constituency represented by its sitting Conservative MP, the possibility of voting for a Brexit Party candidate does NOT arise. If that were not the case, I may well consider voting for the Brexit Party candidate, despite its short track record and given the record of is predecessor, UKIP, its likelihood of not winning any, let known many, seats still seems to be a remote possibility. But these are strange times, and there are a good many like me who are dissatisfied with the main parties and having seen them in operation in recent months in Parliament are disillusioned, and if it were not for our first past the post way of doing elections outsiders like the Brexit Party would do a lot better, and maybe they will anyway as those who in the past would have voted Lab, LD, Con, will now see a better option and vote for the Brexit Party.
But my main reason for hoping the Brexit Party does well and, indeed, hold the balance of power, is it will make the Conservatives accountable, not just on delivering Brexit but much more besides. What has become apparent in recent months is the disconnect between the political class who think they know best and the aspirations of ordinary people who have been ignored. In a sense I see the Brexit Party as the UK answer to Trump’s deplorables. This election is a chance for their concerns to be brought to the fore.