Tag Archives: Nigel Farage

Writing About Brexit: The Brexit Party Ltd

EdinburghEye on Ko-FiThis was first posted on Facebook on 11th November 2019, with support from my Ko-Fi network.

How many The Brexit Party Ltd candidates are actually standing?

We still don’t know. (And likely won’t, till candidate declarations are made.)

Nigel Farage’s announcement was that The Brexit Party Ltd wouldn’t stand candidates in the 317 seats the Conservatives won at the last election, because he doesn’t want a hung Parliament and – he says – if the Brexit Party Ltd stood six hundred candidates, there would be a hung Parliament.

The Conservatives won 318 seats in 2017: John Bercow was a Conservative MP, and counted as one for purposes of counting how many seats the party won: but only 317 Tory MPs counted for voting purposes.

In 2019, because Lindsay Hoyle was a Labour MP, the Labour Party will have one MP less than the number of seats they officially win.

Whether Farage is actually aware of this or if he is planning to stand The Brexit Party Ltd in Bercow’s former constituency Buckingham, we don’t know.

Farage has made about £30,000 already by charging 3000 people £100 each to be “assessed” as parliamentary candidates for The Brexit Party. Whether any of them will actually be selected to stand is unknown, but probably not in any constituency where The Brexit Party Ltd might get a large-ish share of the vote and Farage saves his deposit.

Every PPC has to pay a deposit of £500 to be able to stand: party PPCs have it paid for by their party. For that they get up to two free mailings of electoral material to any or all of the addresses on the register in their constituency, and their name plus party on the ballot: they also get to attend the count with their electoral agent and appoint up to ten electoral observers. If they get at least 5% of the vote in their constituency, they get their £500 back.

Unlike in the EU elections, where people were “voting for Brexit”, at a Westminster election people are voting for named candidates, and it is surprising what a difference that makes.

Nigel Farage doesn’t think any of his candidates will win. If he did, he would be standing himself. In effect, then, every candidate standing is a potential net loss to him of £500. Of course, some of them may achieve over 5%, but if he is standing 332 candidates or 333 or 283, scattershot across “constituencies that didn’t elect a Tory last time” he is bound to lose their deposits often enough to eat a thousands-pounds hole in his – excuse me, in The Brexit Party Ltd funding.

Farage’s objective in standing The Brexit Party Ltd candidates would be three-fold:

First of all, as a means of fundraising. You can’t raise money for a political party unless you make a point of standing candidates. This may even be the second -place reason: Farage is greedy, sure, but not only for money.

Secondly, for personal self-aggrandisement: Farage wants to be the party leader, wants to appear on the BBC, wants to be name-dropped by Donald Trump (but not, probably, by Robert Mueller): he may have given up on becoming an MP, and apparently even the Tories aren’t stupid enough to make him a peer in the House of Lords, but he can carry on milking this gig for a few years yet – unless the UK actually does leave the EU.

Thirdly, to split the vote in non-Tory constituencies to give the Tories a better chance of winning – just as Jo Swinson is hoping to peel off Tory Remainer votes, Nigel Farage is hoping to peel off Labour and LibDem and SNP Leave votes.

I think if Farage were seriously trying to do that, he would need to make a more detailed and nuanced assessment of the polls than simply “not standing where a Tory won in 2017” but I don’t think he is seriously tryng to win seats for the Tories or even for The Brexit Party Ltd.

Mainly, I think Farage wants the fame, wants the money, and wants a grateful Conservative Party acknowledging he helped them win the crucial 2019 election. If it’s not just the Tories he wants grateful to him, we may never know: The Brexit Party Ltd’s funding is murky as hell.

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Brexit, the four directions: nadir

The EUref results map

EU Referendum Results Map

Last week, I wrote and posted a series about the four possible directions the UK can go from where we are.

From a worm’s-eye perspective, the fourth option is least-worst: but the people most likely to face negative consequences for carrying it out and saving the UK from catastrophe or disaster, are the same MPs who would have to vote for it.

And regardless of how bad it is for us in the lower income bands, MPs are all in the top ten percent by income just from their salary: they have a generous expenses system, heavily subsidised food and drink at work, complete job security until the next general election, and a nice golden parachute even if they lose their seats then: they will not directly suffer from the economic disaster of soft Brexit, and though the catastrophe of hard Brexit might hit them, they’re better insulated against it than most.
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We can’t let this go on: Aylan Kurdi

Petition the UK government to accept more refugeesA few days ago when I signed this petition the number of signatures was at less than 10,000 – as you see, the signatories have blasted past 120,000, and if David Cameron upholds his own policy on petitions (as he failed to do in the past over the NHS) Parliament now needs to consider this for a debate.

Aylan Kurdi is the small child who drowned in the Mediterranean Sea and whose photograph, dead, is on so many newspaper front pages today. Aylan was three: Galip, his five-year-old brother, and Rihan, his mother, also drowned. The only survivor was his father, Abdullah.

I hope Abdullah’s permission was obtained by each of the newspapers who chose to highlight the refugee crisis with the body of his dead child. I cannot imagine, I cannot begin to conceive, the hell of suffering and loss Abdullah Kurdi is in, to lose your children and your partner in a desperate effort to escape with them to a safe refuge.
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The morning after the night before

“A Labour, a LibDem, and a Tory MP walked into a bar. Oh, said the bartender, I must be in Scotland.”

I stayed up til 7am hoping to hear Thanet South declare – the only Tory victory of the campaign that I’m delighted with.

Four party leaders will likely be gone by Monday: Jim Murphy lost his seat and will have to resign, Nick Clegg and Ed Miliband look likely to go, and Nigel Farage already quit. (Update: Ed Miliband resigned as I was posting this blog: Harriet Harman, as deputy leader, is caretaker until the next leader is elected.) (Second update: and Nick Clegg’s also resigned.)

Ed Miliband's big rockI wonder what Ed Miliband will do with his big lump of stone now?

It’s not funny. This is a horrific result. And it’s Labour who lost it. This is a re-run of 1992 – and in 1997 the New Labour won a majority and gave us Tony Blair and the Iraq war. Who will “reform” Labour after Ed Miliband?

Even now not quite all the results are in. But enough to be able to see the picture for the next five years. Six constituencies yet to declare.

Conservatives

The Conservatives now have 326 MPs. They have a working majority in the Commons. The polling results were wrong. The “shy Tories” are back – the voters who know how shameful their desire to vote Tory is, who know they should care about the people suffering more poverty, more food banks, the deaths via sanctions, but they want to vote for the Tories anyway because they think the Tories have done good for them personally or they’ve been frightened off Labour with hellstories of what Labour would do to them. (Analysis about “Is there a shy Tory factor in 2015?” at Number Cruncher Politics.)

So, Iain Duncan Smith will get to continue with his sanctions and bullying and lies at the Department of Work and Pensions. George Osborne will get to make his twelve billion cuts to welfare. David Cameron will announce a referendum on EU membership. There will be no taxing the rich, no ending the non-dom tax loophole, Rupert Murdoch will continue to own swathes of UK media, and people will die of hunger and neglect: because that’s what the Tories do. We have no hope of ousting them until May 2020, and perhaps not even then.
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Who should be in the leaders debates?

Leaders Debates 2010What are the leaders’ debates for?

Because the UK is run by representatives from elected from constituencies, most of us watching a leaders’ debate will never get to vote for the party leader we think made best showing, or whose views we most agree with.

The current plan for the leaders’ debates – one on the BBC, one on Channel 4, and one on ITV – is for them to include the four men who lead four parties in the UK – the Conservatives, Labour, the LibDems, and UKIP: but exclude the women who lead the Green Party, the SNP, and Plaid Cymru.

In 2010, three leaders’ debates were for the three men who led what would obviously be the three biggest parties in the next Parliament, and in the sense that we saw David Cameron and Nick Clegg bonding as the two younger, public school men, excluding Gordon Brown, they were illuminating – even if Nick Clegg managed to parlay his brief popularity into a five-year crash for his party.
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Leaders debates: BBC bias

Four white men in suitsThe BBC, ITV, Sky and Channel 4 will be holding three four debates before the general election in May 2015.

One of them, reasonably enough, will be a head-to-head between David Cameron and Ed Miliband.

Another two, also reasonably enough, will include besides the Conservative Prime Minister and the leader of the Labour Party (still predicted to be Labour Prime Minister by a narrow majority), the Deputy Prime Minister and leader of the LibDems, Nick Clegg – even though the LibDems appear likely to see their 57 seats drop to 18 after 7th May 2015.

The fourth debate will privilege a minor party above the SNP and the Greens: Nigel Farage, who is not an MP, whose party is still predicted to have no MPs after 7th May 2015, will get to take part in a four-way debate with Cameron, Miliband, and Clegg.
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The #indyref campaign begins today

In less than four months, we’ll go to the polls to vote Yes or No to the question:

“Should Scotland be an independent country?”

And today, the campaign period for the referendum officially begins.

Scotland's FutureBut as I pointed out a few weeks ago (and Simon Jenkins pointed out yesterday) the SNP are not offering independence: they want major decisions for Scotland’s governance to be made at Westminster/in London. (It’s all in the White Paper: haven’t you read it?)
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Filed under Economics, Elections, European politics, Indyref White Paper, Scottish Politics