I’m afraid of us not leaving the EU, and what that will mean for the future. All other things being equal I’d much rather we stayed in the EU than left, but all other things are not equal.
In the 2015 General Election, 3.8 million people voted for UKIP and although they only got one MP, they came second in 120 constituencies. The rise of UKIP is the main reason why the Conservatives gave them what they said they wanted, and held a referendum on EU membership with the intention of stopping them in their tracks. This strategy worked….for a while. When the 2017 General Election happened, the government had triggered Article 50 a little over two months earlier, negotiations had begun and the government had committed to taking us out of the EU. For UKIP this meant they tanked in the election compared to their previous performance, getting only around 600,000 votes. Likely because most of the people who voted for them in 2015 had only done so because they wanted to leave the EU, and thinking leaving the EU seemed certain, returned to their natural “home” party.
I said that leaving the EU is what UKIP *said* they wanted. I said this because I think what Nigel Farage says he wants and what he actually wants are two very different things. He says he wants the UK to leave the EU, but I’m fairly convinced that what he actually wants is to be the Prime Minster of a fascist dictatorship. This is why I’m afraid.
Since the 2017 election we’ve had endless political infighting, MPs repeatedly voting against the agreement the government has negotiated, followed by delays to leaving, first by a few weeks, then by six months. Because of all this, I get the impression that the people who want to leave the EU generally feel lied to and betrayed and are far more determined than they were in 2015. Add to this the fact that Farage’s new Brexit Party is even more single issue than UKIP, while all the other parties are suffering from the same problem that “the left” has done historically with the Conservatives, that they are broadly against something without being able to agree on exactly how to oppose it what they want instead.
As things stand it seems likely that there will be a General Election before our current scheduled exit date of the end of October. I’m afraid it’s a very real possibility that in that election Farage’s party will win a significant number of seats, and that he may even become Prime Minister. I’m sure a lot of people would think this alarmist and say “it couldn’t happen here” but if the last three years has taught us anything, it’s that the unexpected can and does happen.
My point in all this is that if UKIP’s performance in 2017 is anything to go by, the way to stop Farage is to give him what he says he wants, and leave the EU, consigning his apparently single issue party to history. The risk is that not leaving will instead give him what he actually wants, to become Prime Minister, and he’ll take us out of the EU anyway.
If the choice is between fascism and leaving the EU, I want to leave the EU.