Are you sitting comfortably? Good. Because we finally have the name of the Brexit Traitor. It’s …. roll of drums …. Nigel Farage! It must be true because Tory Bigwigs say so. It must be true because Steve Baker and Martin Howe QC have been rolled out by the Tory High Command to tell Nige orff. It must be true because his ‘ally’ Arron Bank, now a Tory, told the MSM Nigel Farage must desist and call off TBP.
Let’s look at the ‘proof’. Non-paywalled articles are here, here and here, paywalled ones are here and here. These accusations came after Nigel Farage told Andrew Marr on his show yesterday morning that he would not stand but would instead roam the country, giving support to Brexit Party candidates. You can watch it here.
When you delve into the reports, it turns out that they all refer to the one article in the DT, copying quotes by Steve Baker et al and quoting Arron Banks. That’s all. Interestingly, the words used by Baker et al are simply the Tory Party’s slogan to ‘get Brexit done’. Ah!
The actual reason for these accusations is simple: it’s about preventing a hung parliament. Johnson must win and never mind the disastrous Johnson Deal. Since the ‘source’ for the other articles is the one in the paywalled DT, let’s look at it in detail:
“In a blistering attack on Mr Farage, Steve Baker, the chairman of the European Research Group (ERG), accused him of “setting out” to create a “weak and indecisive” hung Parliament. The former Brexit minister [Baker] who until now remained closely aligned with Mr Farage on Brexit, also condemned his decision not to stand as an MP, saying it showed he was “not serious about governing the country”. Senior Brexit Party figures have expressed concerns Mr Farage has “gone down the wrong path”,The Daily Telegraph has learnt, fearing his approach risks derailing Britain’s attempts to leave the European Union.”.(paywalled link)
We aren’t told who those ‘senior BP figures’ are, nor what they actually said. As for Mr Baker having been ‘closely aligned’ with Farage until now … well, Mr Baker has changed his mind to back Johnson … More:
“Mr Baker […] told The Telegraph last night: “Nigel Farage’s critique [of the Brexit deal] is wrong. Whilst there are some compromises people like me have to swallow, Boris’s deal is a path to a great future. But we will not succeed if Nigel Farage creates a hung parliament by dogmatically pursuing purity. That’s the irony of Nigel Farage. He risks being the man who hands Boris a weak and indecisive Parliament, and bringing about, therefore, his own worst fears. He is plainly setting out to create a hung Parliament which would lead to more indecision and delay. Whatever Nigel’s motives, he risks being the man who threw away Brexit.” In a personal rebuke, Mr Baker added that if Mr Farage was “serious about getting us out of the EU he would stand for Parliament. I am flabbergasted he is not standing.” (paywalled link)
Mr Baker and indeed other ERG “Spartans” are now praising Johnson’s BRINO to the high heavens. They rely on us Leavers to believe Johnson and swallow this toad of a deal. They obviously think we really are the stupid, uneducated Brexit voters who know nuthin’ , as painted by the Remain establishment ever since the EU Referendum. They think we won’t question Johnson because: “The Deal”. Here is another significant admission which we must not overlook:
“In an effort to distance the Conservatives from the Brexit Party, Rishi Sunak, a Cabinet minister, said the Tories would take a no-deal exit off the table in the party’s general election manifesto.” (paywalled link)
Compare and contrast this uproar with Johnson’s remarks, reported in RemainCentral:
“[The Prime Minister] wants to avoid an election row about the next stage of Brexit before Britain has left, hoping to focus attention on the choice between his deal and Labour’s promise of a referendum. Beginning a campaign that he will base on the promise to “get Brexit done”, Mr Johnson insisted parliament was mainly responsible for delaying Britain’s departure beyond last month. However, asked on Sky News’s Sophy Ridge on Sunday if he accepted some responsibility, he said “I do” and that he would “absolutely” apologise to those who wanted to leave. “It’s a matter of deep regret. What we need to do now is get on and do it,” he said.” (link, paywalled)
Johnson has obviously not got the message that it’s not Labour but TBP and Nigel Farage who must be denounced as ‘Teh Enemy’ who will ‘destroy’ Brexit by creating a hung parliament! Nor does Johnson seem to have read that other election slogan, about this being a wonderful deal and ‘a good thing’:
“Under his deal, EU rules would continue to apply during a transition period due to expire at the end of next year. Mr Johnson hopes to negotiate a free-trade agreement during this time, but his opponents say that this is impossible and Britain will face a new no-deal cliff edge in December 2020, a prospect that appeals to some hardline Eurosceptic Tories. Mr Johnson said it was a “fair point” to warn about the short timescale and repeatedly refused to give a similar “do or die” commitment that he would not extend the transition period.” (link, paywalled)
Can Mr Baker explain why having EU rules still applying for years is not BRINO? Moreover, as readers of this column know, the chief negotiators in Brussels will be M Barnier and Ms Weyand, the two who have successfully tied us into the May-Johnson vassalage treaty. No wonder Johnson won’t make a do-or-die statement! He knows that these negotiations can and will be dragged out until 2022, especially since “No Deal” is off the table yet again.
While the likes of Mr Baker are trying to get their retaliation in early, blaming a loss of Tory seats and the spectre of a hung parliament on TBP before the first shots have even been fired, we should ask if they are feeling so insecure about Johnson’s BRINO that they have lost sight of Labour and the LibDems!
Here is a report on Corbyn’s Brexit strategy (2nd Referendum), noting that Corbyn has decreed that ‘the debate is over’. As for the LibDems, Ms Swinson was coy about how many seats their Remain alliance’ with the Greens will target (here), but not about the fact that there will be pacts. Funny that she is not being accused of creating a hung parliament …!
John Curtice in The Times has some very interesting observations, referring to an answer Johnson gave about a pact with TBP where Johnson said such pact would risk letting Corbyn in. He writes:
“However, that could happen only if Conservative and Brexit Party candidates were to stand against each other. Mr Johnson’s reply seemed to support the case for reaching an understanding with Mr Farage rather than providing a reason for not doing so.” (link, paywalled)
One would hope that the Spartans won’t lose sight of the real ‘enemy’, not just for Brexit but for the policies bound to devastate our whole country: Labour. John Curtice observes:
“Meanwhile, those on the other side of the Brexit divide have launched a website that claims to provide the best advice as to how those who oppose Brexit should vote in order to defeat the Conservatives locally. Both developments illustrate a crucial feature of this election. Both Remain and Leave voters have a choice about how to express their views. And thanks to the ruthless logic of the first-past-the-post electoral system a vote for, say, a poorly placed pro-Remain candidate could allow a pro-Leave candidate to win — and to do so on much less than half the vote. The result will depend on which bloc of voters proves to be the more cohesive.” (link, paywalled)
Precisely. The ‘Nigel-is-the-traitor’ accusations may well backfire and precipitate the two things feared by Tories: Corbyn in, or a hung parliament. Meanwhile, there’s only one piece of business in the HoC today: the election of the new speaker:
“The House of Commons will convene at 2.30pm with Ken Clarke, the longest serving MP and Father of the House, in the chair to oversee proceedings. The candidates will have five minutes each to make their pitches before MPs will have 20 minute to cast their votes. If an outright winner does not emerge, the candidate who received the fewest votes is eliminated, along with any other candidate who polled less than 5 per cent of the total. MPs continue to vote until there is a winner.” (paywalled link)
I’ll be watching – this should be fun! Meanwhile, remember who the real Brexit Traitors are and