Nigel Farage thinks the Tories’ crisis could help the fortunes of Reform UK (Picture: Guy Smallman)

Nigel Farage’s Reform UK party overtook the Tories in a national opinion poll for the first time last week, polling at 19 percent with the Tories on 18 percent.

It shows the impact of Farage’s poisonous intervention into the election and the scale of Tory crisis.

To win the seat of Clacton, Essex, Farage is running a campaign of racist scapegoating and anti-establishment fakery.

It’s something Farage has made a political career from—he’s made a living out of spewing hatred.

But it’s the failure of the Tories and Labour to combat his racism and fakery that has enabled him to do so.

He fuels racism towards migrants and refugees by scapegoating them for the problems ordinary people face—when it’s bosses and the rich to blame.

But when the Tories and Labour are parroting similar versions of pro-boss policies, Farage can falsely appear to be saying something different.

A vile racist politician…

Farage has a long history of racism—it defines his politics.

In 2008, in an interview with a magazine, Farage named Enoch Powell, whose 1969 “Rivers of Blood” speech has been a touchstone for racists and fascists ever since, as his political hero.

He said, “Whilst Enoch Powell’s language may seem out-of-date now, the principles remain good and true. I would never say that Powell was racist in any way at all.”

In 2014 at the Ukip conference, he said that “parts of Britain are now unrecognisable and look like a foreign land” because of migration and that “having whole areas taken over is unacceptable”.

Farage said on LBC Radio in 2014, “Any normal and fair-minded person would have a perfect right to be concerned if a group of Romanian people suddenly moved in next door.”

When asked in a 2014 interview with Newsweek Europe who he thought should be allowed to come to Britain, he said, “People who do not have HIV to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”

During the 2015 general election, Farage suggested Muslims in Britain “lack British values” and described them as wanting to form “a fifth column and kill us”, and trying to “change who we are and what we are”.

During the Brexit referendum campaign, Farage focused almost exclusively on demonising migrants.

He fought relentlessly to link migrants and Muslims to violence and social decline.

He unveiled a poster with the slogan “Breaking Point” along with a photo of Syrian refugees.

It was the same design as propaganda used by the Nazis.

In 2020, in response to Black Lives Matter protests in London, Farage said, “A new form of the Taliban was born in the UK today. Unless we get moral leadership quickly our cities won’t be worth living in.”

And this month he defended his claim that Muslims “do not share British values”, giving Oldham as an example. “I could take you to the streets of Oldham where no one speaks English,” he said.

…and son of the establishment

Farage is a privately educated, former banker who claims to be “antiestablishment” because it can help him win votes.

He’s a millionaire who has previously had a trust fund in an offshore tax haven.

He makes claims that, “Reform UK represents a different form of politics”, saying, “We are a radical party.”

But for the whole of Farage’s political career, he has supported free market capitalism.

He has consistently argued for no interference in the profitmaking process. Look at the donors to Farage’s political parties.

They’ve been real estate magnates, betting tycoons and management consultants.

It’s the rich that support Farage, because they know that he will protect them.

His class background is one that despises working class people and has a material interest in keeping unions and progressive organisations weak.

That’s why his message to ordinary people always pits one group of workers against another.

His anti-establishment fakery is also revealed in Reform UK’s existing policy pledges, which are an array of pro-corporate promises.

One pledge is to slash corporation tax—paid on big business profits—down from its current rate of 25 percent to 15 percent.

And Reform UK has pledged a 20 percent tax relief on private healthcare and insurance, plus tax relief on private schools.

It says these tax cuts will be paid for by forcing every public sector manager to make 5 percent cuts to spending and scrapping dozens of public bodies.

That’s £50 billion of cuts to already crumbling public services.

The previous political parties that Farage has led—the Brexit Party and Ukip—had pledges to cut corporation tax and inheritance tax too.

Farage’s politics has a thread running throughout—handouts for bosses and racist lies about migrants.

He was boosted by Tory racism

Migration didn’t used to dominate British politics as much as it does today.

Since the turn of the 2000s, there has been an escalating racist onslaught on migrants and refugees by politicians and the media.

The Tories have used racism to divert people’s attention away from the real causes of the hardships facing ordinary people.

Instead, they blame the decline of the NHS or the lack of affordable housing on migrant workers. And Labour reflects Tory racism, rather than combatting it.

The more the Tories and Labour promote racism, the more it becomes acceptable and normalises it.

They give confidence and respectability to the ideas of Farage, helping to drag British politics to the right.

Conceding to racism doesn’t make racists like Farage go away.

They will pounce on the racism whipped up by the Tories and Labour to ramp up their racism even further.

…and turned to far right rhetoric

He is a racist and reactionary politician who leans heavily into far right themes.

Such themes were on display during his campaign launch in Clacton.

He pretends to be against corporations—he uses this as a ploy to make people cohere around him.

He said, “We will only recover our position with economic growth. That will only come when we get away from half a dozen multinational corporations dominating the thought of politicians and allowing real entrepreneurship to flourish.”

Historically, the base of the far right is built around organising small producers and independent professionals.

It’s a section of society squeezed in between big business and the working class.

Through their dislike of big business, small producers and self-employed put forward seemingly anti-capitalist slogans, but at the same time are ready to turn against workers’ class struggle.

While Farage isn’t a fascist, it shows he is trying to mobilise a similar far right constituency, especially with his recent talk of a “people’s army”.

Large street mobilisations would make Farage an even more dangerous threat.

If Farage began to mobilise an army of zealots that could physically contest the streets, it would be a serious escalation.

Anti-racists would have to fight back tooth and nail.

But apart from large rallies of up to a thousand people that Ukip held in the run up to the 2015 general election, Farage has yet to seek to mobilise a mass movement around him.

The rotten history of the far right faker

Nigel Farage was born into a wealthy family. His dad was a rich stockbroker and he attended Dulwich college, one of the most expensive private schools in Britain.

He then worked in the City, trading commodities on the London Metal Exchange before joining newly formed anti-EU party Ukip in 1993.

He was elected into European parliament as a Ukip MEP in 1999 and worked his way up the greasy pole of Ukip, becoming leader in 2006.

In the 2010 general election, Ukip got three percent of the vote, failing to win a seat—with Farage failing to win the Buckingham seat he campaigned for.

Throughout the early 2010s, Farage’s popularity increased along with Ukip’s.

Farage had witnessed similar right wing parties in Europe, like Dutch racist Geert Wilders’s PVV, soar in popularity on the back of anti-migrant and anti-Muslim campaigning.

So Farage campaigned to broaden Ukip’s appeal to more than Euroscepticism and to broader social issues.

Ramping up a political project that combined a dislike of the EU with racism that deflected anger towards migrants.

And in the May 2013 local elections, the number of Ukip councillors went from four to 147.

In the European parliament elections in 2014, Farage-led Ukip finished first with 27 percent of the vote.

In 2014, Ukip won its first elected MP in the safe Tory seaside town of Clacton-on-Sea after the defection of Tory MP Douglas Carswell—overturning a huge Tory majority to win 59.7 percent of the vote.

In the 2015 general election, Ukip won 13.6 percent and 3.8 million votes—but only one parliamentary seat.

In the Brexit referendum, Farage played a part in setting the political agenda with his racist scaremongering and lies about migration.

Two weeks after the referendum result where Britain voted to leave the EU, Farage resigned as Ukip leader and announced he was stepping back from frontline politics.

In April 2019, after Thersea May and the EU agreed to delay Brexit, Farge returned, founding the Brexit Party to campaign against any more delays.

In the May 2019 European parliament election, Farage’s Brexit Party came first, winning nearly one third of the votes and 29 seats.

This was just days after the election Thersea May resigned as Tory prime minister.

In the 2019 general election, the Brexit Party made a dirty deal with the Tories, agreeing to stand down in more than 300 constituencies that were held by the Tories.

The outcome was a solidified right wing vote—and a Tory landslide. And in January 2021, the Brexit Party was renamed Reform UK. Since then, support for Reform UK has steadily grown.

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