The Westminster trough is not for the ill-prepared - or faint-hearted

Jun 08, 2024By Pete North


More essential advice for the Reform party from Pete...

"....I don't think the right has grasped the danger here. Ukip could afford to put up unvetted no-hoper candidates because it was an exercise in vote diversion. If the game has changed to the extent that Reform actually stands a chance of breaking through, then it simply can't afford low calibre candidates. Think about it.

Imagine Farage gets elected along with four other randoms. Maybe one of them is halfway intelligent, two are semi-literate boomer normies, and the other is a Christian fundamentalist lunatic with their own agenda.   Farage immediately has to disown the nutcase, then Sky and Hope Not Hate does a deep dive on the social media feeds of the boomer normies. They then find anti-Muslim hate memes or Britain First style videos. Farage immediately has to sack one of them while the other goes into hiding, and six months later resigns their seat.

After that, the media round on the halfway intelligent one, who will end up being an absolute embarrassment, leaving Farage out on his own.   The thing about Westminster, is it's a nasty, nasty game. I don't think even Farage is prepared for it. Westminster makes the Euro parliament looks like a daycare centre. It will bully an interloper half to death. You need skin as thick as Galloway to cope with it. That's partly why our politicians turn into sociopaths.   

Reform has a decision to make here. It either accepts that its candidates will have views that are unpalatable to the media (and be prepared to defend them to the hilt), or be prepared to lose half or all of its MPs in the first year to political assassination.  

But we know how this goes. On matters such as this, Farage always folds at the first challenge. He's still playing the game by pre-Brexit rules. He still thinks media respectability is important. That only invites more of the same behaviour from the media. Moreover, that allows the media to frame the boundaries of what is morally acceptable discourse, so we'll end up not having the debates we need to have, and Farage will be trained by the system to stay within those parameters.  One term of serial embarrassments for Reform makes it look like a one-man-band novelty act, and one that is incapable of finding any talent equal or better than Farage, and the momentum will collapse. 

In order to avoid this, Reform is going to have to either invest in proper vetting and start nurturing some serious talent, or it's going to have to stop caving and say its candidates are entitled to their views and if the media doesn't like that then tough. Sacking candidates they way they're doing here is like throwing chum into shark infested waters.  

The bottom line is that the establishment is not going to rollover and let outsiders get a foothold. It will fight to the death, and use every dirty trick in the book. If Farage is going to walk into every ambush and cave in any time some heat is applied, then the right has already lost.   This is why the party actually need a harder line on immigration.

It can't be a media-friendly outfit with moderate policies. It has to be unapologetically nationalist and be ready to speak plainly about British identity, otherwise it will end up sacking exactly the kind of candidates its members actually want, and pretty soon you end up pissing off your activist base who end up spilling off into yet another hard right no-hoper party.   

The kind of amateurism we're seeing from Reform classic is Farage. Nobody can deny his media presence and his capacity to hold court, but when it comes to leading a movement, the lack of attention to detail, and the absence of a strategy will prove to be a fatal liability. aims to provide efficient and common sense government without the millstone of dogmatic politics