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
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.
Nigel Farage is putting ego before country and destroying Brexit.
This is the narrative being assiduously promoted by the Conservative party — including by Farage’s most natural sympathisers on the right. (It is, as Melanie Philips says, a blue-on-blue onslaught.)
.@Jacob_Rees_Mogg says that Nigel Farage "should be really proud of his political career, and it would be a great shame if he carries on fighting after he has already won to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory." pic.twitter.com/s7uhZ7pHWa
But let’s not forget it is a narrative. Britain is now in the midst of a short but definitely not sweet general election campaign in which every party, every candidate, will happily sell their grandmothers into slavery if it grabs them a few extra votes.
There was a boring interlude yesterday — lasting all of about ten minutes — when it seemed that after five or so years of Brexit high drama, the British political scene had once more become reassuringly dull.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson — finally — had got his general election; many of parliament’s wreckers and loonies — led by Speaker John Bercow — had disappeared into the sunset; now all that remained was for the Conservatives to win with a whopping majority, kick Jeremy Corbyn and his rabid Marxists into the dustbin of history, deliver Brexit and leave all of us to live happily ever after.
So turkeys do vote for Christmas. Finally, Britain is going to the polls and running the general election which the Remainer Establishment had sought so hard to prevent happening.
As Sherelle Jacobs explains here in the Telegraph, MPs voted for the basest of reasons:
It has been quite something to see slick Remainers cook their own goose through a mixture of incompetence and greed. The Liberal Democrats – the Stop Brexit party – has just voted for an election that makes Brexit overwhelmingly more likely, so they can make a cynical land grab for Labour seats.
Meanwhile, Labour has voted for its own funeral partly in a desperate attempt to save face, and partly because Jeremy Corbyn knows his days are numbered as leader – he would prefer to end his career embracing the warm socialist bosom of glorious defeat, rather than becoming the victim of a Left-wing purge.
So Britain won’t, after all, be getting Brexit by Hallowe’en, do or die.
This ought, in theory, to be a fatal blow to Prime Minister Boris Johnson: did he not stake his credibility on delivering Brexit by October 31?
But politics, as we should all have realised by now, isn’t about reality. It’s about perception. The perception of the voting public — so the opinion polls tell us — is that Boris is not to blame for the recent run of Brexit delays. On the contrary, the more meddling and procrastination and cheating there has been by the Remainer Establishment, the more Boris’s stock has soared.
Here is how James Forsyth and Katy Balls put it in the Spectator:
Yet far from being politically dead, Boris Johnson finds himself in a stronger position than he was on the day he became Prime Minister. The Brexit deal he has struck with the EU has changed everything. It not only garnered the support of a majority of MPs at its second reading, but more importantly it is a deal that Leavers broadly welcome. Every Tory Brexiteer in the Commons voted for it, every cabinet minister is fully signed up to it; and initial polling suggests that the general public back it too — more say that they support the deal than oppose it. Suddenly the Tories are occupying the common ground of British politics.
Finally, Britain stands on the brink of Brexit victory.
No, I don’t mean Boris Johnson’s new deal, which may or may not prevail.
I mean that the British people’s fury with the shenanigans of the liberal elite has reached such a pitch that nothing — neither the police nor our rule-makers nor our bent, parti-pris judiciary — is capable of stopping us prevailing in the end.
For evidence, look no further than the glorious scenes at Canning Town Station in East London this week, when a sickly-looking pair of Extinction Rebellion milquetoasts were yanked from on top of a Tube train carriage by angry commuters and told exactly where they could shove their green revolution.
Apart from their ongoing difficulties delivering Brexit, by far the biggest worry about Boris Johnson’s Conservatives is their craven subservience to the green sky fairy.
I’ve just been watching one of their panel discussions on energy and environment, broadcast from the Tory conference in Manchester, and it made me feel quite ill.
Even MPs that you know are secretly sound on green issues and know the whole climate change scam to be hogwash have to go through the motions of pretending that Net Zero — decarbonising the UK economy by 2050 — is a practical, achievable and conservative policy. And it is, of course, none of those things.