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General election 2019: Farage decision u-turn not like him


It can’t have been easy for Nigel Farage to have to engage reverse gear over his party’s decision to field 600+ candidates at the election.

He is not that kind of politician - partly because he sees such about-turns as a sign of weakness (although others would argue that it is a sign of strength); partly because he does not like to let people down. And least of all, he doesn’t like to disappoint his loyal followers.

Nigel Farage campaigning in Gravesend (21375053)
Nigel Farage campaigning in Gravesend (21375053)

So, behind the scenes there will have been some anguished deliberations about how to deal with the growing sense that his party might just be enhancing the prospects not of his Brexit cause but Labour’s chances of getting across the line ahead of the Conservatives.

The normal loyalty shown to him by supporters has been stretched and even before today’s announcement, there had been some mutterings within the party’s ranks over the strategy.

His about-turn has the merit at least of being cleanly done and easy to understand: the temptation may have been to target pro-European seats held by the Conservatives, which would have been a messy compromise.

In Kent, there will undoubtedly be some relief among Conservative candidates although the reality is that many have such whopping majorities that the threat of Brexit Party was probably fairly remote.


On the American armed forces DefCon scale of threat, it is probably nearer 5 - “normal peacetime readiness” rather than the highest rating of 1.

But it has been a setback for Farage, whose instincts for populist policies are normally so sure.

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