Brexit leader Nigel Farage has warned that voters may feel so betrayed by the political class they are being put off voting altogether, and this could imperil Brexit.
Speaking at a rally for voters passionate about seeing the 2016 referendum decision taken by the British people to leave the European Union implemented, and where much of the evening’s talk focussed on the importance of seeing democracy respected, Mr Farage gave his view on how politics can be changed with action on a local level.
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Responding to a question on the floor on how the political climate can be improved the Brexit party leader warned that anger against Westminster could become a hurdle. Farage told the audience: “We’ve got a set of elections coming up next week, the European election — a national election.
“The problem we’ve got is for many people, they are so disgusted that their votes have been ignored, that promises have been broken, that there’s a danger from our side of the argument that many like us who want this to be a free, independent country are so hacked off that they may stay at home.”
But as well as a sense of betrayal at the political elite, there was also “real anger”, Farage said at another Yorkshire rally — this in Pontefract. He told the audience there: “This is a 70% Leave constituency, these five towns voted Leave by a massive margin… You’ve got a member of Parliament who, at the general election a year later, promised to honour the result, and has spent the last two years, effectively, trying to stop Brexit from happening.”
Despite the warning, Farage has an impressive track record of motivating non-voters. The majority of people who cast a ballot in the 2016 referendum but hadn’t voted in the previous General Election, voted to leave.
Offering an answer to this, Mr Farage called upon the gathered Brexiteers to engage with the grassroots, joking that individuals could “get out there” in their local town, village, or even pub. Remarking that not voting means the remain establishment wins, Farage told Huddersfield: “So, on a local level what you can do is get out there… get out in your street, in your town, in your village, in your local pub, if that’s where you spend your time — I’m too busy for that at the moment!
EU Election Poll Has Farage's Brexit Party Beating Labour and Tories COMBINED https://t.co/t29mo1P9JT
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“You can go out and spread your message, and where you find people who are totally disenchanted with the process, say them. If you stay at home, the other side wins. We have got to get a sense of optimism, a sense of opportunity.
“The way we’ve been treated makes us even more determined than we were three years ago, to get control of our nation, our democracy, and our children’s future.”
The comments came just hours after Mr Farage spoke to London-based talk radio station LBC and revealed that he would be standing for the Westminster Parliament when the time comes for the Brexit Party. Speaking in West Yorkshire, he said: “…it’s a duty. We cannot ever allow again a great democratic exercise like this to be railroaded aside by career politicians of the Labour and Tory parties.”
Although the next general election may not come until 2022, Farage’s Brexit Party is already recruiting candidates to fight in every one of the 650 seats across the country, to counter the possibility of being caught out by a snap general election. Continuing the theme of rejecting politics and business as usual, the party is appealing for those who can bring success outside politics to Westminster to consider applying.
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) May 11, 2019
Monday’s rally also continued to highlight the accelerating realignment of British politics, which can now see the decidedly posh former Tory and veteran politician Ann Widdecombe cheered to the rafters in northern, working-class communities.
Fresh from receiving cheers at a working men’s club in Pontefract, Widdecombe was also well received at the evening event in Huddersfield, in a long-time Labour voting area but which, despite voting overwhelmingly for Brexit, is still represented in Parliament by strongly pro-Remain MPs. Calling local Labour MP Yvette Cooper and some London dwellers “snooty [and] patronising” individuals who accuse northern voters of not knowing what they are voting for, Widdecombe said if the EU wanted to treat Britain as a colony it would be forced to rebel and assert its own independence.