Brexit seems to be rising as a second U.K. tidal wave
Up until now, Brexit has been a dreay spectacle to watch because Britain's Tory leadership seems to be botching it so badly. What's so hard about just pulling up stakes and getting out? That was what the voters voted for. Doesn't 'leave' mean leave? There have been so many yes-but failures and failures to reach a sign-out deal that one almost doesn't want to watch. Why is this so hard for Britain's political leaders, now in talks with each other to cut a deal, to understand?
The latest news suggests that something big is happening on that other side of the ballot, the voter side, the one that voted to leave, as a result of this. Look at this poll cited in this Sky News report:
The Brexit Party is polling higher than the two major parties combined ahead of this month's European election.
Nigel Farage's party is on course to get 34% of the votes, according to the latest Opinium poll for the Observer.
Labour are on 21% and the Conservatives are in fourth place on 11%.
The pro-EU Liberal Democrats are in third place on 12%.
Wow. British politics is a bit like American politics in that third party formation is very rare. The Tory party, after all, dates to before the American Revolution and the Labour Party goes back to the early 20th century.
For a third party to top the other two, even in a nothingburgerish election such as that of European Union parliament, which Brexiteers don't even want to be part of, seems unprecedented. Ahead of both parties combined? Just wow. One can only surmise that the Brits must have enjoyed royally the last famous spectacle of the European parliament, back when Brexit Party chief Nigel Farage made mincemeat of supercilious, arrogant European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker.
Remember this one? People like a strong horse.
This analytic piece by Lewis Goodall at Sky News suggests something big under the surface with the latest trends since those days, as well:
The still nascent Brexit Party may be many things, but drab it is not. I have written before about the quality of its branding and social media output, the shrewdness of its operation, the foresight of its strategy. But what became clearer to me, standing in that football stadium, is the pedigree of its politics.
I've never been to a Trump rally - but I imagine, from everything I've seen and heard - that what I experienced on the Fylde wasn't a million miles away.
It calls to mind that when Brexit was first announced, the U.K.'s then-Prime Minister David Cameron did so on the assumption that it would never pass. I recall having suspicions about that at the time and wrote a 'be careful what you wish for' editorial for Investor's Business Daily, having closely followed the Indonesia/East Timor referendum and the flip and cynical means by which it was introduced without expecting a surprise and well, how surprised the Indonesians were when it happened.
Now a few years on, back in the U.K., there's the Brexit decision yet still no Brexit, with a lot of failed efforts at deal-making, and now talk of a coalition deal between Labour and the Tories, and who can be surprised now that there's a poll suggesting that Brexit has, if anything, strengthened, enough for people to be all in for junking their own political parties? The poll is really a standout.
A lot of water has run under the bridge since that original 2016 Brexit referendum. One is that previously unthinkable populist revolts can be successful, beginning with President Trump's surprise election, and those successful votes can lead to successful results, for there is no denying that Trump has made a difference in how the U.S. is run, starting with his incandescent economy. Italy also has kicked out its longstanding parties in exchange for upstart euroskeptics. Others of the same inclination in Austria and Hungary have been elected, too. The European parliament is a nothingburger, just a place for grandstanding, but it would seem to be a bellwether for more substantial elections. The poll also shows that Nigel Farage's Brexit Party is polling ahead of the Tories at least in the general election, which is a sign of something, and there could be a large sleeper vote on the Labour side as well, to match the EC side of the poll.
Something big seems to be swimming under the surface, given numbers like these. This specter may just be worth watching now, because as Goodall notes, the revolution may just be getting started.
Image credit: Gage Skidmore, via Flickr // CC BY-SA 2.0