The best thing to happen in British politics over the weekend wasn’t Stormzy leading the crowd in a ‘Fuck Boris’ chant at Glastonbury, nor was it Jeremy Hunt’s genteel 16 minutes on the Andrew Marr show on fake news BBC.
Surprisingly, None of the Sunday papers trailed it, apart from the Express. And today it has been seen on the inner pages of the dailies papers.
While most of the country was Oblivious enjoying their days over 5,000 Brexit Party supporters made their way to the NEC in Birmingham to watch Nigel Farage present his economic agenda for beyond Brexit and vision for the long-term future of his movement. Nigel Farage also haa his site set on Boris Johnson.
It says much about the bizarre state of today’s politics, that Brexit Party party’s ability to summon such a crowd on a sunny Sunday barely merits mention. It’s another reminder that while Westminster is looking the other way, Mr Farage is building a national movement to rival any of the major parties.
A YouGov voting intention poll taken last week shows the Tories and Brexit party level-pegging at 22% each, a shift of 3% in the Conservatives’ favour. If the front-runner were such catnip to Brexit party voters, you would expect to see a more substantial drift than that.
The actual thought was that Nigel Farage would be keen to do a deal with Boris Johnson and go into coalition with him. But from what happened yesterday, he’s not planning to make it easy for him: “Mr Johnson, you can try if you want to, but I will not be put back in my box by you or anybody else.”
Nigel Farage stated clearly that any version of Theresa May’s deal that Boris manages to pass, however amended, will be declared a betrayal and will serve to supercharge the Brexit Party: “It’s not a deal, its Monsieur Barnier’s new European Treaty… it must never pass in this country.”
The only comparison Nigel Farage offered (in an arch reference to Donald Trump’s meeting with the North Korean leader), a “meeting in the demilitarised zone”, would be if Boris successfully delivered a no-deal Brexit. That means not just making no-deal Brexit his policy.