This week’s Spectator reports that
Rumours are circulating that Farage’s aim is to destroy the leader he fears most: Boris Johnson. This is more doable than it might sound. The former foreign secretary holds a 5,000 majority in Uxbridge —respectable, but not a lifetime guarantee, given the volatility of contemporary politics and London’s drift away from the Tories.
Word is that Farage is considering standing against Boris in the next general election. He’d lose. But he might take Johnson down with him by splitting the Leave vote in the seat, letting Labour in through the middle. This would be an entirely destructive act by Farage. But that this idea is being discussed in his circle shows how serious they are about taking out the Tories.
Prior to this news I had a private bet on Boris Johnson losing his seat at the next general election so this news interests me. The reason I’ve bet on Boris losing is seat is mostly down to London demographic trends moving away from the Tories, with 2,700 centre left voters for Labour to squeeze that 5,000 majority doesn’t look quite so secure for Boris.
Then there’s Boris Johnson’s popularity which has fallen substantially since his apotheosis. With the country polarising further on Brexit and with the role that Boris Johnson played in Leave’s victory you can see why Boris Johnson might lose his seat. Boris Johnson’s Bannonite comments on Muslim women isn’t likely to endear him in London.
If he was Prime Minister at the time of the next general election you can see the mother and father of all decapitation strategies being planned by Labour. It would be the Portillo moment for a new generation.
With Boris Johnson eventually backing the Withdrawal Agreement, something that Farage has compared the Withdrawal Agreement to the Treaty of Versailles it isn’t hard to see Farage comparing Boris Johnson to Marshal Pétain or some other Vichyist/Quisling. I’m sure Farage will also appeal to those Leavers for whom immigration was the key driver in their decision to vote Leave that Boris Johnson is in favour of an amnesty for illegal immigrants.
It does reinforce that a feeling that I’ve had for a while, a lot of Leavers, Farage particularly, are more interested in destroying than creating. If Farage was confident in support for his policies he would stand in a more winnable seat.