Why Farage standing down in Tory seats is not the big Conservative boost it looks like

Nigel Farage. Credit: Steve Finn/WENN.

Ifan Morgan Jones

When Nigel Farage announced that the Brexit Party would not be standing in Tory held seats the immediate reaction by many political pundits was that it was a huge boost for the Conservatives.

The odds of a Tory majority flew up as everyone hurried to put their bets on before anyone else had a chance to react.

This announcement had been coming for some time – one only had to read the right-leaning Sunday papers such as the Sun, Daily Mail and Telegraph to spot that significant pressure was being put on Farage not to split the pro-Brexit vote.

However, I’m not sure how much good this announcement will actually do Boris Johnson.

Nigel Farage is a very wily political operator and while he can use this announcement to get the critics off his back it actually serves his own ends rather than the Conservatives’.

The polls currently suggest that Boris Johnson will get his majority. The alternative is a huge upswing in the Labour party’s polling number and a downswing in the Conservative Party’s numbers, as happened in 2017.

But there’s no suggestion as to why 2019 should follow the pattern of 2017, and I think pundits may be overcompensating for their failure to spot 2017 in how they expect this election to go.

Boris Johnson called an election to get a majority, and if he gets anything less than a majority he is just as much of a one-legged duck as Theresa May was.

Nigel Farage’s goal, meanwhile, is not to help Johnson towards a majority but to secure a No Deal Brexit. If Boris Johnson wins a majority in the General Election, he won’t get that as the Prime Minister’s Brexit deal will sail through.

So what is going through Nigel Farage’s head?

 

Win-win

Well, he will be thinking that if a 5-10 point or so Conservative polling lead over Labour is the most likely result on election day, then Tory seats aren’t in that much danger anyway.

Yes, there are realistically around 10-15 seats that the Liberal Democrats could take off the Conservatives if they manage a swing on par with that in the Brecon and Radnorshire by-election.

But in the grand scheme of things those seats, even if the Lib Dems win them all, are only a small part of the bigger picture.

What the Conservatives really need to do to win a majority is take around 30-40 or so Labour seats. They are currently on course to win around 90.

In that context, Farage’s move isn’t particularly helpful to them. Because instead of spending resources on seats that will be relatively safe for the Conservatives if they have any realistic hope of a majority, the Brexit Party will be investing resources in the Lab/Con marginals the Conservatives really, really need to win a majority.

The result of this targetting will likely be, as Farage fully intends, another hung parliament, with no chance of a coalition Lab/Lib government pushing through a second referendum but no chance of Boris Johnson’s deal getting through either.

Farage is technically making it harder for Labour to beat the Conservatives, yes. Although realistically Labour have little hope of doing so anyway.

But what he is also doing is making it harder for the Conservatives to beat Labour.

So this ‘capitulation’ to the Conservative party is actually a win-win for Nigel Farage, and not much help to Boris Johnson.

Articles via Email

Get instant updates to your inbox

We do not moderate comments before they appear. The views expressed in the comments are those of our users and do not necessarily reflect the views of Nation. Cymru. Please read our community standards and participation guidelines before contributing.

12
Leave a Reply

avatar
3 Comment threads
9 Thread replies
0 Followers
 
Most reacted comment
Hottest comment thread
9 Comment authors
John YoungMike MurphyRhosddujr humphrysAlwyn J Evans Recent comment authors
  Subscribe  
newest oldest most voted
Notify of
Huw Davies
Guest
Huw Davies

Odds on that we’ll get a hung Parliament even if there is a numerical Tory majority as some of those will stick with a Remain tendency. Farage’s manoeuvres will only serve to muddy the waters further with any Brexit M.P’s tugging Johnson one way while the Remainer axis will pull to the opposite. End game ? nothing. EU unlikely to sling UK out of membership, and UK will be stuck in the gate unable to get sufficient consents to push through. Thus a status quo of sorts. Unfortunately being unable to Leave will deny SNP one of its major justifications… Read more »

Ernie The Smallholder
Guest
Ernie The Smallholder

We have to work hard to get an united Welsh nation.
It is the tactics of the UK and their extreme right wing rulers to divide our nation and rule, we have got to stop them in their tracks.

jr humphrys
Guest
jr humphrys

The New Tories don’t give a damn for the Union, or maybe in passing.
Brexit is about avoiding European Tax Evasion investigations.
(The Swiss have just been taken off the naughty list.)
Tories also see, without Wales or Scotland, the prospect of Tory rule in England for ever.
Carwyn J. said the prospect of Cymru being thrown out of the UK was the worst of all possible worlds.
It didn’t do Singapore much harm when thrown out of Malasia!

John Young
Guest
John Young

Imagine if the Tories get a small majority and the Brexit party win, say, 10/15 seats. And imagine the BP end up supporting the Tories in getting a hard Brexit deal through the HOC. That’s one of the many possible permutations.

If the idea of Boris and Nigel determining the future for the UK doesn’t give Welsh Independence an enormous boost nothing will.

pete
Guest
pete

You should be more worried about Ein Gwlad standing in seats where Plaid have abandoned the nationalist vote and gaining coverage earlier than expected.

Ben Angwin
Guest
Ben Angwin

It would take 25 years of mainstream media coverage for EIn Gwlad to matter.

I’m not worried.

jr humphrys
Guest
jr humphrys

Wot’s Ein Gwlad?

Alwyn J Evans
Guest
Alwyn J Evans

Are they standing. Haven’t they publicly stated they will not stand in Westminster election? Good to see they’ve joined in the ‘abandoning political principle’ that so many people hate about political parties. Same old, same old.

jr humphrys
Guest
jr humphrys

They are GwladGwlad, because the Electoral Commision stitched them up, as an English party called Our Land came after them, but the Electoral Commision with true Saesneg impartiality
gave O.L the title over G.G. Of course, EC didn’t know, until told, what “Ein Gwlad ” meant.
Like when Doris, I mean Boris, asked what Cymru Am Byth was. The old lady said “It means
shove it, Doris”.

Mike Murphy
Guest
Mike Murphy

Only standing in protest at Plaid abanding 4 seats to the Unionist parties. Not our intention to stand under normal circumstances.

Rhosddu
Guest
Rhosddu

There’s an element of truth in that, although (as far as I know) they are committed to only standing in Senedd elections. It’ll be several years, I think, and things will have to continue getting even worse for Wales in terms of national and cultural survival, before Ein Gwlad have enough political purchase to replace Plaid Cymru as the party to get the country out of this mess, although Plaid’s current distorted set of priorities should make Ein Gwlad’s job easier.

Alwyn J Evans
Guest
Alwyn J Evans

I can only see this increasing labours vote and increasing the chance of labour being the largest party in a hung parliament. Many people vote or don’t vote on emotion, not on graphs. It looks like a political elite stitch up to get a third rate, sell out brexit deal or a vote brexit get tory deal. Turining many off and energising others.