Maybe not so much. Maybe it’s all a bit of an exaggeration. The Independent’s article dissects Farage’s shock and horror at the Beeb having the absolute temerity, the unmitigated gall, the sheer cheek of having a BBC host treat him like any other politician and ask questions about his opinions on topics other than Brexit.
… Nigel Farage doesn’t want to be asked any questions about, say the NHS, and his previously expressed his wish to replace it with an insurance system, even though he will stand 650 candidates at the next election, and as such wants to run the NHS. He will scream outrage if you bring up his having heaped praise on Vladimir Putin, even though he wants to control the country’s foreign policy.
All Nigel Farage wants you to ask him about is the insurgency of his own brand new party, which he calls the “biggest change in British politics in decades”, even though his own, single-issue, pro-Brexit party is about to do almost exactly as well in the EU parliamentary elections as it did in the last one. And actually, when it comes to the popularity of Nigel Farage, and the size of his electoral constituency, which tops out at 35 per cent in EU elections, and significantly less than that in Westminster ones, nothing in the slightest has changed.
In short, Nigel Farage is a charlatan.
There’s poling data to prove it. His Brexit party is doing well for two reasons. First, the previous UKIP support – Farage’s original anti-EU vehicle – has collapsed in the wake of its lurch towards fascism under Gerard Batten and the neo-Nazi Tommy Robinson. UKIP supporters left along with Farage once he lost his grip on it.
Second, the Tory vote has also collapsed, and though no doubt some have gone to the Lib-Dems and other minor parties, a lot has gone gone to to the the Brexit party.
Third, UKIP already had a third of the UK 73 member delegation to the EU parliament, 24 seats in 2014, though this has also shifted to the Brexit party as UKIP MEPs moved to Brexit or Independents.
At 2014 election
The EU poll tracker tells the same tale:
Brexit under Farage is doing no better, if no worse, than UKIP under Farage. As les Français would say, plus ça change, plus c’est la même chose. (Nigel, close your ears, it’s furrin jabber.)
The-UKIP Brexit party is still in the lead in the EU election, just as it was in 2014. It’s the hard core 30-35% of Britons who are anti-immigrant, anti-Europe, anti-foreign, and those just plain frustrated with the impoverishment caused by Tory austerity politics. Tories and Labour deserve their fate, it’s just a pity the pro-EU factions can’t get it together. But they never could, and it’s highly likely they never will – the EU is just one of their issues, unlike the single-issue Brexit clown car.
The state of the polls and British politics in general merely confirms the depressing conclusion that no other issue in the UK is going to get sorted till Brexit gets sorted, once and for all. The NHS crisis, the economy, jobs, poverty, climate change, you name your issue and you will find it at best on a back burner if not put back in deep freeze. British politics needs an earthquake under it to get things moving again, but I doubt the EU elections will suffice. How the UK parliament will react is the key. Neither Tories nor Labour will relish a general election right now, though it’s unlikely the Brexit protest vote would be replicated in one, but they are going to need to move before Oct 31, the no-deal exit date, and absent any leadership in either major party, MPs may have to do it themselves.