Farage’s emergency announcement, an emergency for whom?

Nigel Farage is the herpes of British politics, annoying, nasty, and impossible to get rid of. After saying for weeks that he wouldn’t be contesting the general election for his Reform party vanity vehicle, and that Reform would not be doing any deals with the Tories, Farage announced on Monday morning that he and his mini-me Richard Tice would be appearing at 4pm for an “emergency general election announcement”, the emergency presumably being that apart from his besties in the panel booking team for BBC Question Time, he’s not been getting the attention that his massive ego and sense of entitlement feel he deserves.

Reform, the successor to Ukip, is a party that has caused more damage to the UK than any other. It’s party that has never won a parliamentary seat. Following May’s local elections in England It has just 10 councillors in England, and none at all in Wales or Scotland. Even the Cornish devolutionist party Mebyon Kernow has five councillors and it stands only in Cornwall. Yet Reform gets more coverage than many parties with greater support and sitting MPs. Its extreme anti-immigration scaremongering is regularly platformed by the BBC and the other broadcasters. Naturally his announcement was headline news on the BBC.

Last week Farage insisted that he still has “one more big card to play” and said that he’d stand for Westminster at some point in the future but ruled out standing this year claiming that he was “extremely disappointed by Sunak’s decision to call a General Election on July 4. Farage said said that he could not campaign both nationally for Reform and for one constituency in the six-week timeframe of the general election.

Of course what has changed since last week is that Nige’s best pal, Donald Trump, the Mango Mussolini himself, has been convicted in a New York court on 34 felony charges of falsifying business records. Farage had planned to spend October and November campaigning in the USA on behalf of an actual law breaking fascist, but following his multiple convictions Trump’s chances of taking the presidency again have felon considerably. Trump is predictably railing against the verdict claiming that the trial was “rigged” because the justice system had the temerity to prosecute him and find him guilty. What is the world coming to when you can’t even falsify business records in an attempt to swing an election any more, because of “woke”.

Farage recently received well deserved condemnation – but not from BBC Question Time – for saying during an interview on Sky News that the streets of British Cities are full of people who “undermine British values” remarks which were widely perceived as not so much a racist dog whistle as a racist fog horn. How dare some people be Muslim in public. The truth is that nobody has done more to undermine “British values” than Nigel Farage. Mind you, imperialism, racism, and the demonisation of minority groups are very much long established British political traditions.

The “emergency announcement” turned out to be Farage telling the press that he is taking over as leader of the right wing English nationalist Reform party and intends to fail to become an MP for the eighth time, which is disappointingly predictable, I had kind of hoped he was going to tell us he’s going to appear on Strictly. But then that would have led to him being judged by a black woman and an EU immigrant.

So it transpires that Farage is standing as a candidate in this election after all, and this is an “emergency”. For whom exactly?

The news is dire for the Tories, whose already tiny chances of saving their miserable behinds in this election have now plummeted even further. For all that Farage boasted about taking votes from Labour, it’s the Tories who will be seriously damaged by this development. The Tory vote will now be split in seats which they really need to win if they are to avoid their well deserved electoral oblivion. The Tories will now pivot even further to the right in an attempt to shore up their vote and minimise losses to Farage. Labour is bound to follow suit. The Ukipification of British politics is almost complete.

Farage and his English nationalist party have no chance of winning seats in Scotland, but they could reduce the Tory vote even more in the seats in which they do stand, which could be good news for the SNP.

Labour is even more of a dead cert to win this election now than it was this morning. Despite what Starmer and Sarwar claim, Labour absolutely does not need to win seats in Scotland in order to defeat the Tories. All voting Labour in Scotland will achieve will be to marginalise and sideline Scotland for five years and to empower and enable Starmer’s right wing agenda. If you vote Labour you will be voting for a party which says it can’t find the money to abolish the abhorrent two child cap on benefits, but which can find the money for four new nuclear submarines and upgrades to the Trident programme.

A poll for Sky News published on Monday found that Starmer is on course for a record Commons majority, a majority almost four times the number of Commons seats in Scotland. The result of the general election in Scotland will not even make a dent on that. Starmer wants to crush the SNP, not in order to defeat the Tories, but because he wants to neuter Scotland politically and remove the question of Scottish independence from the agenda. Voting for Labour is a vote to be ignored and to put the likes of Douglas Alexander back in the Commons.

Meanwhile the Tories are determined to weaponise the culture wars by threatening to take powers away from the Scottish Parliament, removing from Holyrood powers over gender identity. It would be the first time that Westminster has explicitly clawed back a devolved power, as opposed to by-passing Holyrood. It won’t happen, since the Tories are set to be devastated electorally at this general election, but it would set a dangerous precedent for a devolution settlement which is already under threat, both by the Tories, and by a Labour party which wants to strip powers from Holyrood in order to give them to local authorities which are more likely to be controlled by Labour, and less able to stand up against an overweening and centralising Westminster.

If we’ve learned one thing about Keir Starmer in recent years it’s that where the Tories go, he is sure to follow. British politics are becoming ever more right wing, ever more Anglo-British nationalist, and less and less tolerant of difference and minority groups, that includes Scots, the largest minority group in the UK. It’s not the SNP you are punishing if you vote for Starmer’s right wing Labour party, you’re punishing yourself.


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