Rarely have I seen Nigel Farage look so drained, grey and subdued as he did when announcing today in Hartlepool that he was standing down a chunk of his army.
His Brexit Party will not be contesting any of the 317 seats the Conservatives won in the general election.
Yes, in strategic terms this informal Leave Alliance is probably for the best.
"The single most important thing in our country now is to not let a second referendum happen" @Nigel_Farage
"We have put country before party and we will now take the fight to Labour" @brexitparty_uk
"We have formed a #LeaveAlliance – albeit a unilateral one"
— Martin Daubney MEP ➡️ (@MartinDaubney) November 11, 2019
Having fought for Brexit for three decades, Farage understandably doesn’t want to blow it now by splitting the Leave vote and placing Britain’s future in the hands of an unholy alliance of greens, Marxists, dripping wet liberals and Remoaner hold outs.
At the same time, though, it’s undoubtedly a humiliating surrender of power and influence, cruelly imposed on him by a combination of electoral mathematics and the most tremendous and well-orchestrated pressure from the Conservative Establishment attack machine.
All those stories you’ve read in the mainstream media suggesting that the main threat to Brexit is now Nigel Farage’s ego: this is nervous editors and proprietors acting in lock-step with Conservative Central HQ’s dark arts department.
We don’t really have a conservative media in Britain any more. But we do still have a media that tends towards the centre left rather than the hard left – and which is thus more than willing to lend its muscle to backing a bunch of Conservatives-in-name-only like Boris’s bunch over a bunch of rabid, terrorist-supporting, economy-destroying Marxist loons like Corbyn’s.
The good news from Farage’s point of view is that there’s now no danger of his going down in history as the arch-Brexiteer who killed Brexit. Also, in the nearer term, he has removed a lot of heat from his back and he will earn much praise and many sighs of relief from all those Brexiteers (both in the Conservative party and in the surrender-wing of the Brexit Party) who had persuaded themselves that he was a threat.
Good on Nigel. He's done so much for this country and will probably never be properly thanked
— Matt (@mattwookey) November 11, 2019
This was agony for @Nigel_Farage but was the right thing to do. Personally I've never felt Corbyn was a price worth paying for Brexit (or indeed anything.)
— Isabel Oakeshott (@IsabelOakeshott) November 11, 2019
— Tim Montgomerie (@montie) November 11, 2019
Our Editor @isaby "…there were huge numbers of Brexit supporters out in the country who feared that if Nigel Farage and The Brexit Party did stand in every single seat, that they could well be the Party that caused Brexit not to happen at all…" pic.twitter.com/andgqzzqsf
— BrexitCentral (@BrexitCentral) November 11, 2019
Perhaps the biggest compliment, though, is the response of Labour:
Labour say the unilateral Tory-Brexit Party pact is a "Thatcherite 1980s tribute act" and amounts to an "alliance with Donald Trump to sell out our country"
— Alex Wickham (@alexwickham) November 11, 2019
If only, eh?
Still the good news from a Brexit point of view is that Farage may possibly have leveraged what remained of his political capital into pushing Boris Johnson’s Conservatives into a more solid Brexit – “a super plus Canada deal” – than they might otherwise have negotiated.
Let us just hope now that the Brexit Party manages, somehow, to win at least a few seats in the constituencies where it is still fielding candidates.
God knows, we need someone in parliament trying to steer Boris Johnson’s now-inevitable administration away from its squishier tendencies. And that pressure won’t, I fear, come from many within his parliamentary party: CCHQ will have seen to that, having rigged the selection procedure in favour of Cameroon-style Remainer wets.
UK General Election: Putting ‘Country Before Party’, Farage Won’t Stand Against Conservative MPs https://t.co/sjmc0fINua
— Breitbart London (@BreitbartLondon) November 11, 2019