If one is the target of conspiracy theories from both ultra-liberals and the far-right, what does it make one? In the case of Nigel Farage it makes him the new centre ground in UK politics and whilst many people are happy about this, those whose positions and egos are threatened by the success of Farage’s new Brexit Party are not.
From the ultra-liberals, the conspiracy theories are predictably mundane. As liberals continue to debase very real issues in society by accusing everyone perceived as being a socio-political moderate of being some sort of fascist, it should not surprise anyone that such people are trotting out the same old and discredited line about Farage being some sort of closeted racist. In actual fact, the very reason that Farage started the Brexit Party was due to the fact that after 2016 when it appeared that the Brexit question had been decisively answered and that the political class would not be in a position to thwart the people’s vote of 2016, his former party became something of a sanctuary for those on the political extremes.
The very reason that the Brexit Party was created was to give ordinary Brexit supporters throughout the UK, a moderate political home on the centre ground that could attract those from the right and left in equal numbers. Such a political balancing act is not easy, but ultimately, the Brexit Party stands the best chance of becoming a substantial political force in the medium term if it attracts the best and brightest from both the right and left.
When the racism allegation did not stick, the BBC’s Andrew Marr accused Farage of being an admirer of Russian President Vladimir Putin whilst the Guardian accused Farage of antisemitism based on an old interview he did with Alex Jones in which neither man talked about Jews, Israel or Zionism. Of course, both allegations went down like the lead balloons that they are and always have been.
The fact of the matter is that in an age where the Tories stand for nothing, Labour pretends to stand for a pro-working class Breixt but in reality stands for a pro-upper middle class remain and with UKIP actively courting the notorious Tommy Robinson, Farage’s moderation should be the last thing targeted by conspiracy theorists. But when it comes to liberals throwing out allegations ranging from racism and antisemitism to “Russian collusion, there is no shame involved. As such, liberals are devaluing the very allegations that they so recklessly throw at seemingly anyone and everyone.
But the far-right also has it in for Farage. As UKIP has lurched to the far-right under the leadership of Gerard Batten, many extremists feel that Farage is somehow a conman because he happens to believe in a Brexit for the many as opposed to UKIP’s version of a Brexit for a few on the political fringe.
Farage’s success has led to far-right conspiracy theorists accusing him of secretly working with Westminster elites to thwart Brexit even though for over twenty-years, Farage’s entire career and public life was devoted to securing the withdrawal of Britain from the European Union.
By coming out of a self-described “semi-retirement” in order to lead the Brexit Party, Farage is doing something that those closest to him claim that he never intended to do. Farage like many others felt that after 2016 Brexit would be delivered in short order. But since all of the parties in Parliament are vying to keep Britain in the EU (either overtly or covertly) Farage has stepped back into the spotlight to lead the Brexit movement that he championed his entire life. There is nothing peculiar about this at all. In fact it would be downright political lunacy for a Brexit Party to be led by anyone but Farage due to his high levels of public visibility, his record on Brexit and his ability to convincingly articulate his position.
Farage might not be everyone’s cup of tea it and it is of course perfectly legitimate to disagree with him in a civilised way on any or all of his political positions. But what is utterly ludicrous is for both ultra-liberals and the far-right to defame Farage with the most outrageous and outlandish forms of defamation because they are afraid to admit the truth. The truth is that Brexit is the centre-ground of UK politics in 2019 and Farage has gone from obscurity to the centre ground as a result.
Because of this, Nigel Farage’s big tent Brexit party is the new centrist party in the country. This does not mean that it always will be. It may well become the new centre-right party of choice or it may even be taken over by those on the pro-Brexit left at some stage. Anything is in fact possible.
But for the time being, the Brexit Party is fulfilling a simple but necessary role and Nigel Farage is simply doing what he does best, having previously thought that he would never have to do so again. If one wants to debate Farage – debate him on the issues, but conspiracy theorists only make Farage’s opponents look more ridiculous than many of them already do.