Nigel Farage’s Brexit Party could come top of the polls in this month’s European elections.
The party was launched on 14 April, and already more than 75,000 people have signed up to be supporters, paying £25 each.
One recent poll showed its vote share in the European elections at 30 percent—ahead of Labour and twice the size of the Tories’ figure.
And Farage is holding big rallies. Around 2,000 people turned out for a Brexit Party rally in Fylde, Lancashire, last Saturday. And over 2,000 joined a rally in Newport, Wales, on Tuesday of last week.
The party will pick up votes from former Ukip voters who like Farage but don’t like Ukip’s ties with Nazi Tommy Robinson. It can also win support from swathes of people who feel that mainstream politicians are ignoring—or undermining—the 2016 vote to leave the EU.
And the party isn’t just aiming to provide a “protest” vote in the European elections. Farage wants it to be a permanent feature of political life in Britain. He says the party’s ambitions are “much, much higher” than just sticking “two fingers up to the establishment”. “Our two-party system doesn’t work,” he said.
The party claims that “democracy is under threat” and promises to “change politics for good”.
It hopes to use frustration with mainstream politics to boost racist and reactionary ideas. No one on the left should be taken in by it.
Ukip could also win support in the European elections. Local election results last week showed that Ukip failed to capitalise on the Tories’ Brexit crisis. It lost 80 percent of its council seats.
But Ukip did see its best results since 2016. It won three seats in Sunderland and two in Derby. In many other places it won a worrying number of votes. Ukip stood in 16 wards in Rochdale—coming second in eight, and third in six. Candidates averaged a vote of 20 percent, up from 13.5 percent last year. Ukip came second in nine wards in Salford.
In Wigan, it came second in seven wards and third in 12.
In Swindon Ukip averaged a vote of 11 percent, compared to 4 percent last year.
Martin Costello, formerly of the Make Britain Great Again group, won 14 percent of the vote in one ward. Ukip could have won more votes, but only stood a third of the number of candidates it stood in 2015.
Under the European elections’ proportional voting system, a vote of 9 percent will be enough to win an MEP in some regions.
The right and far right are split.
But they are still making gains out of the Tories’ crisis and we have to resist them.