In the run-up to an eagerly anticipated set of European Elections, many people are left wondering how it is the case that the Brexit Party is doing so well. With a recent YouGov poll placing them confidently in first with 34% of the vote, in comparison to both Labour (second) with 16% and the Tories (fifth) with only 10%, it is clear that Nigel Farage and his newly formed political party have taken the nation by storm. But why is this the case, and will the Brexit Party mark the start of a real political revolution within this country?
In the aftermath of 3 failed ‘meaningful votes’ and the breaking of countless manifesto and general election promises, many have lost trust in the simple workings of our current government and political system. These feelings are understandably justified when looking at politicians like Yvette Cooper (Labour), who sought re-election on a promise to not block Brexit and who, despite her constituency voting 69% leave, proposed an amendment that would delay Brexit. This some would argue is but a mere symptom of the broken political system we have and has ultimately fed a growing sense of anger throughout the country. It is this sentiment that Farage has exploited to galvanise support from across the political spectrum, revolving around his message of maintaining democracy by honouring the Referendum result. It is a shared message that resonates most with those who feel disenfranchised by the current mainstream parties, but none more so than traditional Tory voters with early polls suggesting that 2 in 3 will switch allegiances to the Brexit Party in the upcoming elections. Yet with the Referendum result splitting mainstream party voters in half, one can foresee a mass of defections from both Labour and Conservatives in the following weeks to come.
But will the Brexit Party have a future outside of the European Elections? Critics argue that this is an impossibility, claiming that the party’s success owes much to current populist beliefs. They argue that due to the Party’s politically diverse membership, agreeing to one clear manifesto would be a significant challenge that would ultimately stall future developments, but it isn’t an impossibility. Whilst Farage claims to only be focussed on the upcoming European elections, if he were to somehow unite this melting pot of ideals around a core set of values from which to build upon, then who is to say that the traditional political paradigm won’t be broken and thus lead to a permanent change in politics for generations to come?