Prime Minister Boris Johnson has allegedly ruled out a general election pact with Nigel Farage’s The Brexit Party. Furthermore, a ‘senior Tory source’ has poured scorn on both Farage and his friend and occasional donor Arron Banks, describing them as ‘not fit and proper’.
I’m not sure how much of this is true: it comes from the Mail which, though generally accurate and professional, does tend to spin things in a Remainer direction…
But I do think that if Boris and his colleagues are indeed making such pronouncements then it is a foolish, unforced error: a needless slight to a potentially invaluable ally; an insult to the many natural Tories who currently trust the Brexit Party more; and a boon to Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour whose only chance of gaining power is if the Brexiteers and the right can be divided.
In insulting @Nigel_Farage the Tory leadership insults millions of Leave voters who have lost faith in the Conservatives to deliver Brexit. A bewildering election strategy from a party in total disarray
— Isabel Oakeshott (@IsabelOakeshott) September 11, 2019
‘Senior Tory source’? Well it’s not going to be Priti Patel or Jacob Rees-Mogg or any of the sounder members of Boris’s administration, is it? They will all be well-disposed to Farage — and rightly so because he is, essentially, the Thatcherite Tories in exile. But for a few small accidents of history, Farage would be a senior minister in Boris’s cabinet.
No, that senior Tory source sounds more to me like one of the squishy holdovers from the May and Cameron eras – the kind of Conservative in name only which, frankly, Boris would be much better rid of altogether.
Still, I doubt ‘senior Tory sources’ would be briefing on these lines if Boris didn’t have some sympathy with them. Which does rather invite the question: what the hell does he think he’s playing it?
Are the scalps of Farage and Banks being offered as some kind of trophy to win back the Remain faction in the Conservatives in order to unite the party once more?
If this is the thinking behind it, then Boris really needs to acquaint himself with my Dogshit Yoghurt Fallacy.
He also needs to ask himself: “Who is it that has made my job so difficult these last few weeks with legal actions and threatened prison sentences and all manner of constitutional abuses masterminded by certain nameless chippy dwarves?”
Not Farage, that’s for sure. Not Arron Banks either. Not anyone on the Brexiteers side of the argument at all, in fact.
History tells us that fighting wars on two fronts is rarely a good idea. It’s even more foolish when one of the sides you are choosing to fight is full of your natural allies.