If I was a betting man I would put a hundred quid on Nigel Farage becoming Prime Minister. Before you laugh me off, hear me out – he has massive advantages and the only thing stopping him at the moment will be if he is incompetent.
Firstly, within a day of launching his party he is 15% in the polls if there is a European Election with UKIP on 13%. If he can’t get UKIP votes from his old party with the national exposure he has and a narrative that they were useless, racist, Islamophobic, antisemitic and xenophobic idiots he is pretty incompetent. He has a right wing buffer – two if you count the BNP. Anyone who says he is a crazy right-winger can be told about more extreme right-wingers. He can even say that that sort of hatred is a Labour or Conservative thing. If he gets in a mess here, he is incompetent.
Secondly, he’s got money. He has crowd-sourced 750,000 pounds in ten days. Some really rich people in Britain are Leavers. The richest man in Britain is a Leaver although he’s buggered off to Monaco. The Tory Party has less than a million in the bank and some say they are going bankrupt. Their usual donors are not very happy with May either to say the least. Labour have cash from the unions but I wouldn’t be surprised if Brexit Party can match or surpass them financially. If he can’t get a whole pile of cash from his mates he would be incredibly incompetent.
Thirdly, he’s got the activists. People don’t realize how important these are. We all know that old people vote which is why the Tories keep winning but no one really understands why. Quite simply they are brilliant at getting their vote out at elections and they know which doors to knock on. They know who all their supporters are and on Election Day a whole army go out to get them. They even drive little old ladies to the polling booths. If you go to the Conservative Home website today you will see a mass defection to the Brexit Party. And before you say these are just right-wing keyboard warriors, have a look at what is going on in the local Conservative Party association meetings. Conservatives are very, very angry with Theresa May for the Brexit delay, they are leaving as they are fully aware that their leader has stabbed them in the back. You can’t get supporters to campaign for something in their manifesto and then ignore it and expect them to be cool about it. It scuppered the Lib Dems and they have never recovered, it is now happening to the Conservatives. These activists know who to talk to and who to get out and vote. And I will be absolutely shocked if Farage doesn’t have a list left over from the Brexit referendum. Leave mastered Facebook ads and whatever you think of the campaign it was bloody effective. If he doesn’t know who to get out and vote he is incompetent and remember we are talking about 52% of voters.
Fourthly, he only needs 25% to win an election. The opposition (Remain) is split five ways. He already has 25% if he can get the UKIP votes. He doesn’t need to campaign in any constituency where there is an existing Leave MP. He can divert all resources to places where he only needs to get 25%. The Conservatives have been decimated this week because of the Brexit delay. Labour has already split. Momentum are angry with Corbyn and TIG have left them. The Lib Dems are nowhere. All he needs to do is get about 400 local candidates who aren’t xenophobic idiots (that might be a bit harder, come to think about it). If Farage can’t exploit that he is completely incompetent.
Fifthly, The Brexit Party is new. There is little baggage apart from Farage himself. Many people think he is a fool. But he is a fool that 52% of voters voted with. He has already got people who have defected across from other parties. All he needs to do now is say he will respect the referendum result, respect the NHS promise, and respect the voters. If he says he will protect pensions he should win a lot of support. And he is combatting a narrative of someone who has consistently lied. Who has betrayed her red lines, trying to cobble together a deal no one likes and combining with Labour to get the Customs Union she promised she would leave. She has delayed, delayed delayed as well as being totally useless, a woeful negotiator and unable to get any consensus anywhere. The narrative has changed from a brave woman determined to get a reasonable deal to a megalomaniac sociopathic liar who never listens, is totally untrustworthy and is universally hated. And Labour and the Tories are obviously split. There is major party fatigue and everyone just wants someone to stick to their word. If he can’t exploit that narrative he is really, really incompetent.
Sixthly, he has the element of surprise. No one is going to think the Brexit Party is a real threat as they don’t have any votes yet. You can’t really tactically vote with an entity that doesn’t have a history. You can’t say “Oh, we need Tories and Labour to vote for this one guy to stop the Brexit Party getting in”. The first we will know is when it’s too late. And remember, with a five way Remain split he probably only needs 25% to win most constituencies. He just needs to keep his mouth shut here – if he mucks this up he is stupidly incompetent because he actually doesn’t need to do anything.
Finally, the opposing leaderships are dreadful. Whatever you think of Farage, he actually has a bit of charisma when you compare him to Theresa May. Corbyn has a bit more about him but is hardly the most inspiring leader. If you can’t beat parties in this state you are totally incompetent.
We haven’t even mentioned the media. If he can’t get the right-wing media onside he is more incompetent than Stoke City at taking penalties this season. (That is really bad if you didn’t know!)
So to conclude this pretty dreadful analysis – if you are not a Farage fan you just need to hope he is bloody incompetent. It’s his to lose.