Boris Johnson’s chances of being elected Tory leaded received a dramatic boost with the publication of an opinion poll in the Telegraph showing that under his leadership, the Conservative Party would storm to victory at the next election. The figures are stunning. No-one else comes near Boris in appealing to the wider electorate. Whether they trust him or not, like him or not, any Tory MP who wants to stay in politics – i.e. keep their cushy job at Westminster – must now seriously consider backing Boris.
But if Johnson is crowned king, where does that leave Nigel Farage? And where does it leave all those patriots, North and South, Right and Left, middle class and working class, who voted for the Brexit Party in the European election because they want to reclaim their country from those who would sacrifice it on the altar of multi-culture, diversity and inclusion? True, Labour internationalists and Conservative globalists support open borders and mass immigration for different reasons: the former in the name of inclusion and social justice, the latter in the name of free trade, cheap labour and maximising profits. But the effect is the same: the destruction of our settled communities, our centuries-old traditions and ways of life, our sense of belonging.
So, where does Boris stand?
When he was Mayor of London, Boris was enthusiastic in his praise of its diversity, its multiculturalism. Of course, this came with the job – he could never have survived as Mayor otherwise. Privately, he may have agreed with John Cleese that London is no longer an English city – who knows. But whatever he believed, he presided over London’s demographic transformation. His well-known admiration for Churchill, on whom he has written a fine book, seems to speak of his innate patriotism. His love of the classics seems to speak of a deep-seated attachment to Western civilization. But then he has advocated Turkey joining the EU – the first formal step to the creation of Eurasia. Was this just a bit of bluster, an understandable show of loyalty to his great-grandfather, who was Turkish? We cannot be sure. His main professed argument for supporting Brexit is that Britain can thrive as a global trading nation. But on borders and immigration, on the nation, on the English people (which I seem to recall was a favourite expression of Churchill’s) he is silent – just as all other modern-day Conservative politicians are silent.
Let us suppose, for the sake of argument, that Boris is a patriot who, in his heart, regrets the passing of England and all that it stands for. The question is whether he will continue playing the game, as he did when Mayor of London – condemning patriots as ‘populists’, trading the survival of our nation for power and privilege; or whether he will make a stand. But if he is to make a stand, he will have to reclaim the Conservative Party first, and the heart and soul of the Conservative Party has long been lost. The prospect, then, is that under Boris, England will be finished off just as London was finished off, with Boris presiding over it all like a grinning Cheshire cat.
Where does this leave Nigel Farage? Farage has played the game as expertly as Boris. He has cleverly managed, by and large, to avoid the smears ‘racist’, ‘extremist’ and ‘Islamophobe’ by appealing to the ethnic minorities for support, by emphasising the global trading benefits of Brexit, by distancing himself from the likes of Tommy Robinson and Marine Le Pen. But, unlike Johnson, we know what Farage really thinks about mass immigration, about cultural and demographic change, about the existence of ‘parallel communities’, about English patriotism. And, of course, it is these concerns, the concerns that the silent majority dare not voice, that really underlie the Brexit phenomenon. Farage must know this. He must know that the Brexit vote was not a cry for global capitalism, for flogging off our national assets, not even especially a call for international free trade, whatever its merits.
There is good reason to believe that the old Right-Left political fault lines are crumbling fast, as Roger Eatwell and Matthew Goodwin have demonstrated in their compelling book National Populism: The Revolt against Liberal Democracy. There is only one political divide now. On the one side are the global liberals, the new-age cosmopolitans, the social justice warriors, the identity-mongers; on the other side are those whose loyalties and affections still lie with their country, their nation, their homeland.
It is a risky game, but if Farage can roll back on the dogma of free markets and global trade, if he can get across that he will put our national interest first, our steel workers, our communities, our freedoms, our way of life, then he can win, or at least threaten to win, the votes of millions of former Conservative and Labour voters – the votes of the silent majority, of all those who are proud to call themselves patriots. One way or another, England may yet be saved.
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