The UK is back in lockdown. The former head of UKIP, Nigel Farage, is now pushing a new party against this tough corona policy. That should cause Boris Johnson a headache.
Nigel Farage gets back into British politics: The Brexiteer-in-chief announced on Monday night that he would rename his old Brexit Party to “Reform UK”. Its central demand: No more lockdowns! Most recently Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced a new lockdown from Thursday.
The central problem right now is Johnson’s “miserable” response to Corona, Farage said. The government wants to scare the country up to “submission”, “coupled with a bombardment of lockdowns, rules, regulations and threats”.
Although Boris Johnson is known in Germany as Mr. Brexit or Brexit-Boris, the real driving force behind the new conservative movement in the UK was arguably Nigel Farage. He was a founding member of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) and, as its chairman, drove British politics before him – for decades. Without him there would have been no Brexit. Boris Johnson only prevailed due to the momentum itself and became the face of the Brexit movement. Farage ended his political career after the referendum because his political goal was achieved – “I want my life back,” he is reported to have said. This straightforwardness earned him a lot of respect.
When Theresa May then swung up and postponed Brexit time and again and there was talk of a second referendum, Farage’s comeback followed – and what a comeback. Four months after it was founded, the Brexit Party won a whopping 30.5% in the UK in the 2019 EU election, – by far the strongest force and won almost four times as many votes as the Tories. With this victory, he overthrew the conservative party leader and Prime Minister May, who had to resign a day later, paving the way for Boris Johnson as the new Prime Minister, who initiated a tough Brexit course. When he achieved his political goal, he withdrew again, only in the 2019 parliamentary election he let his Brexit party run again – but only in constituencies that had previously been won by Labor or the Liberal Democrats to weaken them.
But the relationship between the two Brexiteers Johnson and Farage is tense, and Farage has already considered several times to openly campaign against Johnson, because in the end he did not dare a hard Brexit and, in Farage’s eyes, missed the momentum.
Farage’s announcement is likely to give Boris Johnson a headache; the 56-year-old is still too strong. “Lockdowns don’t work. In fact, they do more harm than good,” Farage wrote with a party colleague in a newspaper column. The layer of small entrepreneurs and tradespeople hit hard by the Corona measures could join the man.