The Conservative party is turning turquoise in an attempt to out-Farage the Farage by PM Boris Johnson. Brexit Party MEP Belinda de Lucy has said Boris Johnson’s is “stealing” Brexit Party policies with his “priority’ to bring about the “destruction of the Brexit Party”. Through trying to appeal to Brexit party voters to go blue rather than turquoise.
Belinda noted following the Conservative Party conference: “So if you notice his conferences are getting more like a Brexit rally, his colours are changing to turquoise, and he’s stealing all our policies”. Belinda went on to say that Farage and the Brexit party will have to keep policy announcements quiet (to the minimum) until a future general election.
The harsh truth in this story is that the Conservative party has no new bright ideas. Only fresh slogans to present old policy from the 20th Century. There is no radicalism in the Conservative right’s thinking or in how it presents itself. Boris Johnson’s walk on stage at conference whereby he high-fived colleagues and members of the party through the crowd was taken straight from a Nigel Farage Brexit party rally.
When the Conservatives describe themselves as one-nation politicians. They really mean. More of the same. I.e. gradual increases in public spending, tweaks to taxation like national insurance and small incremental changes within our NHS and our education system as an example. Voting Conservative means voting for the way things are. The Brexit Party are classically liberal (“thatcherite”) and nationally populist. Meaning representing in its policies the public mood. Opponents call them populist as a derogatory term because there policy is popular. Like delivering Brexit.
Brexit party policy and ideology. The party’s lead aim is its desire for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union and then trade with countries on World Trade Organisation terms. A WTO clean-break Brexit not a no-deal Brexit. The aim with this policy is to attract the support of leave voters and remainers whom understand that the will of the 2016 referendum has to be delivered. Farage himself said the aim is to attract “across the board” from former UKIP voters and from Conservative and Labour voters who supported Brexit. The party at a future general election will have a policy platform not a manifesto.
The first non-Brexit related policies include a proposal to transform British Steel into a partly worker-owned company, in what has been described as “a hybrid of Conservative and Labour policy”. The party also supports cutting Britain’s foreign aid budget, scrapping the proposed HS2 project and introducing free WiFi on all British public transport. Furthermore, the party has said it will scrap all interest paid on student tuition fees, has suggested reimbursing graduates for historic interest payments made on their loans,and has pledged to abolish inheritance tax. Boris Johnson’s chancellor Sajid Javid copied this pledge to abolish inheritance tax in his speech at party conference.
The Brexit Party has also called for the removal of the first-past-the-post voting system to be replaced by a proportional representation system. As well as replacing the House of Lords in Westminster with a democratically elected second house or Senate. Including doing away with peerages. Farage has himself said after Brexit is delivered his party will become a reform party in the United Kingdom.
Farage has described his admiration for Italy’s Five Star Movement, whom have managed to grow from a insurgent protest group into the country’s largest political party in both houses of the Italian Parliament. The Brexit Party has similar ambitions as it seeks to do the same kind of thing through being run like a business rather than a conventional political party with a manifesto. Hence it’s driving focus on building a strong online platform through it’s website and it’s social media activity and coverage like Brexbox on twitter. In the words of Farage he is “running a company, not a political party, hence our model of registered supporters”. The party has garnered 115, 000 members since January.
In contrast to the Brexit party’s lead policy on Brexit and ideology. Boris Johnson would rather argue for the status quo. Just with glossy terminology and presentation too look like a breath of fresh air. He has told Tory MP’s he has no desire for no deal to become official party as he comes to the conclusion he’ll have to seek delay to our departure from the European Union. All Boris wants is for his Government to be seen as a party in favour of leaving then when his Brexit is delivered present that as though things have changed domestically.
The harsh truth is he wants to get through May’s dreadful Withdrawal Treaty with minor tweaks to the backstop. I seem to recall there being more things wrong than just the backstop. What about the terminology concerning a customs partnership i.e. keeping us too customs union alignment with the EU or being bound to the European Court of Justice for a minimum of eight years. I seem to remember leaving the EU meant leaving the customs union, the single market and our jurisdiction to the European Court of Justices’ rulings. The reality is that neither our government or ruling Conservative Party really believes in leaving. The Brexit party is the only WTO Brexit party. That’s why Boris would rather try to out-do or copy Farage’s rhetoric and policy in public to destroy his party. Rather than do a deal with the Brexit party which Farage has offered to do with Boris at a general election. Tory MP’s will only accept leaving with a deal i.e. a new treaty or a fudge.
The choice between both parties is clear. They aren’t the same. Voting Conservative isn’t getting the Brexit party in Westminster. Voting Conservative doesn’t deliver a WTO clean-break Brexit. Voting Conservative delivers a new EU treaty. Vote Farage or vote Johnson? There is clear choice between the two.