This is remarkable for a brand new political party:
In a poll conducted by ITV’s Good Morning Britain shared to Express.co.uk, it revealed a third of the nation plans to vote for the Brexit Party in next weeks European parliament elections. This is compared to an embarrassing 12 percent of voters who intend to vote Tory, 11 percent who plan to vote Lib Dem, six percent for the Green Party, four percent for each of the SNP, Change UK and UKIP parties. Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour Party has a guaranteed 24 percent of votes, according to the Survation poll by the programme.
But this new Brexit party is really Nigel Farage’s party in a way that UKIP never was when he was its leader, because he wasn’t a UKIP founder (actually he was one of its founders in 1992).
How does somebody become such a popular figure that people will change parties just to vote for him?
I think people have to identify with such a man. He has to be speaking for them in ways that nobody else is. So what’s Nigel Farage special ingredient?
He’s not really a great orator. Nor is it that he’s an uniquely anti-EU politician: there are plenty of other anti-EU politicians in Britain. So it can’t be simply the fact that he’s anti-EU that makes him popular. It has to be something else.
I think that what’s unique about him is that he’s an overt drinker and smoker. There’s nobody in UK politics like him. Other politicians may smoke and drink, but they tend not to advertise the fact. But Nigel Farage wears his heart on his sleeve. He’s a smoky drinky politician.
And it’s not just that he ostentatiously smokes and drinks, but that he also sticks up for smokers. David Cameron and Theresa May were smokers who didn’t advertise their smoking, and who didn’t stick up for smokers. As prime ministers they both did the bidding of Tobacco Control.
And as an overt smoker and drinker Nigel’s telling people that he’s no killjoy. He wants people to enjoy themselves. And also he’s telling people that he’s a rebel, because these days you have to be a bit of rebel to smoke and drink.
I think I’m really just stating the obvious here. But it seems to be something that non-smokers and ex-smokers and anti-smokers simply can’t see. Here’s one ex-smoker writing about it:
Given the political vacuum, it is entirely understandable that some people might turn to a passing demagogue for deliverance, even if history provides endless examples of how this provides no solution at all. But then, people aren’t exactly “turning” to Farage. They are having a risk-free punt on him, in a meaningless election. Giving the Tories a “kicking” is flavour of the month, and there is no better way than to vote for the spiv.
What’s a “spiv“?
In the United Kingdom, the word spiv is slang for a type of petty criminal who deals in illicit, typically black market, goods. The word was particularly used during the Second World War and in the post-war period when many goods were rationed due to shortages.
And what’s found on the black market these days? Tobacco, for one. It never used to be, but it is now.
Or perhaps it’s that the powers that be know perfectly well what Nigel Farage stands for, and why he’s so popular, but dare not mention it. And they dare not mention it because smoking is being gradually airbrushed out of public life. Nobody smokes on TV (except in period dramas). Nobody smokes in parliament. Nobody smokes on trains or buses or planes. So smoking is something that can’t be talked about. It’s an unmentionable taboo subject.
And it’s not just that it’s a taboo subject in the mainstream media. It’s a taboo subject in the alternative media as well. A few days ago I was listening to Martin Durkin (The Great Global Warming Swindle) talking to Spiked’s Brendan O’Neill about how ‘Brexit is a revolt against the new elites’ in which there were multiple opportunities to cite smoking bans as examples of excessive regulation, none of which were taken up.
Even on terrible, terrible, ultra-rightwing shows like Alex Jones’ infowars, nobody ever smokes, and nobody hardly ever mentions smoking. So I was shocked 10 seconds into watching Lionel talking to Roseanne:
How terrible! How could she do that? Why didn’t Lionel edit it out?
Anyway, Nigel Farage plans to continue his Brexit party after the EU elections, and run for the UK parliament. How would that go? Maybe its success would continue?
But one thing’s for sure: if there’s anyone who is likely to repeal the UK smoking ban, it’s Nigel Farage. Nobody else would dare.