LONDON, UNITED KINGDOM – In the heart of Britain’s anti-Brexit capital, only Nigel Farage and his band of Brexit brothers and sisters could have organized a political rally so electric it began – at times – to resemble those of President Donald J. Trump’s from the 2016 presidential campaign period.
Thousands descend on London’s Kensington Olympia for the ‘Rally for Democracy’ which featured Brexit party chairman Richard Tice, former Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe, Brexit Party leader Nigel Farage, and special guest former President of the Czech Republic Vaclav Klaus.
“He’s the grandaddy of Euroscepticism,” Farage told Human Events
Klaus, an historic figure in Eurosceptic circles, was the icing on the cake of an event otherwise made noteworthy by rip roaring speeches from Widdecombe and Farage, and a logistical and organizational feat scarcely ever seen in British politics before.
“He’s the grandaddy of Euroscepticism,” Farage told Human Events of Klaus after the rally, as staff and friends tucked into scotch eggs and gin and tonics at a West London pub – very Brexit.
At least 3,000 people paid £2.50 each to attend Tuesday night’s rally, where Widdecombe tore into the idea that the British public didn’t know what they were voting for in 2016, as well as the Conservative Party and its leader Prime Minister Theresa May. Widdecombe deftly deflected criticisms leveled at the Brexit Party surrounding its lack of a policy manifesto: a tradition in British political elections.
“We were promised. Faithfully promised in 2016, that whatever was decided in that referendum would be upheld. And they didn’t stop there. In 2017 both major parties stood on manifestos which said that we would have a Brexit. And what is more, Theresa May’s manifesto went further. It said in black and white that no deal is better than a bad deal. And they have spent the last two years reneging on those manifestos.
“And then people say to us, why haven’t we got a manifesto? What is the point of having manifestos when you abandon them at the first inconvenience?”
The 55-year-long Conservative Party activist and MP drew the greatest cheers for her call to action: “I think this is the message we sent to Westminster. They have a choice. Either they let Britain leave the EU, or we will make sure they leave Westminster.”
Klaus – a veteran of Eurosceptic campaigns – let the audience know he had been on their side since day one.
“I am extremely honored and extremely pleased to have been asked to come here this evening… I would like to start by saying something that you should know. You have many friends in the Czech Republic, many friends [in Europe] generally… I have to tell you in the moment where we first heard the results of the Brexit referendum, many Czechs opened champagne bottles! It was a great event, and not just for you, but for us as well. It is not just your victory, but of all European democrats. It was an important message.”
He urged Britons to consider their role not just in leaving the European Union, but in leading Euroscepticism across the continent:
“As I look at it from Prague, the British main political parties totally failed, and betrayed and abandoned the British citizens, their own voters.” – Fmr Czech President Vaclav Klaus
“As I look at it from Prague, the British main political parties totally failed, and betrayed and abandoned the British citizens, their own voters. It had, however, one positive side effect: by behaving in this way, they probably and unwillingly created the Brexit Party.
“You didn’t plan to anticipate in these European elections, but I am sorry to say you have to! Without you, without my good friend Nigel Farage, without the Brexit Party, the British indecisiveness would continue. You have to win the elections and create a strong mandate to influence the political stance of your country.
“Dear Brexit friends, you should in the forthcoming elections give the whole rest of Europe a good example. Many Europeans need it, and many are waiting for it. Don’t disappoint them.”
Farage saved the ire in his speech for Britain’s elections regulator, The Electoral Commission, who surprised the Brexit Party and the nation when deciding to spend seven hours in the party’s office inspecting their donations and subscription processes – a relatively unheard of incident in UK politics.
The issue arose after former Prime Minister Gordon Brown attempted to intervene on the struggling Labour Party’s behalf on Monday.
“He’s not going to be remembered as the man of the people – he’s going to be remembered as the man of the PayPal,” Brown said, implying the Brexit Party was receiving “dodgy” or foreign donations.
Brown attempted to capitalize on a conspiracy theory propagated by the far left Daily Mirror newspaper, which worked alongside the far-left ‘Hope Not Hate’ group and Brown in 2009. Another former Brown staffer is Brendan Cox, another Hope not Hate affiliated figure whose wife Jo was murdered by a mentally ill man during the 2016 referendum campaign. Cox has since disappeared from public life following revelations about sexual misconduct.
“The Electoral Commission, after an interim confirmation during the day that it had no evidence of any electoral offences.”
After exhaustive checks of the Brexit Party’s finances, the Electoral Commission found no evidence of the suggested wrongdoing, though did not make an announcement of the matter as it did with its original intent to investigate.
Instead, it was left to a Brexit Party spokesman to declare: “The Electoral Commission, after an interim confirmation during the day that it had no evidence of any electoral offences, reconfirmed at the end of the inspection that it has not seen any evidence of electoral offences.”
This bias was the steer of Farage’s comments last night.
“What they cannot believe, what they cannot comprehend, is that we have managed over the past five weeks to get over one hundred thousand people to donate £25… what an achievement that is in this country… but not content with that, they’ve decided to go on an all out attack. Yesterday we saw Gordon Brown attack the potential financial probity of the Brexit Party.
“That’s right,” Farage bellowed, “Gordon Brown, let’s work this out for a moment shall we? Gordon Brown attacked OUR financial probity. This is the man who sold… 400 metric tonnes of gold at $270 an ounce.”
Brown was roundly pilloried at the time for selling Britain’s gold reserves for next to nothing when gold is currently priced at around $1,300 an ounce.
Farage went on to discuss how the Labour Party under Tony Blair and Gordon Brown gave donors peerages, making them members of the House of Lords, ostensibly in exchange for cash donations.
“He has the effrontery to attack us for our funding? It’s outrageous that he should behave like that,” Farage added, “And surprise, surprise, what happens an hour after Gordon Brown attacks us? The Electoral Commission announce they’re going to mount a dawn raid on the offices of the Brexit Party.
“We have a team of four professionally trained accountants looking after the money. We’re not stupid. We know what to do. Last week we met the Electoral Commission and they said our processes are correct and they had no concerns. We asked if they’d come into our offices… they said ‘we haven’t got time before the election'”.
“After seven hours today in the office the Electoral Commission have not found a single misdeed by the Brexit Party of any kind at all”. – Nigel Farage
Farage also disclosed the Commission refused to put in writing that they had no concerns last week.
“After seven hours today in the office the Electoral Commission have not found a single misdeed by the Brexit Party of any kind at all”.
The shift in focus from campaigning around European Parliament related issues to those of conspiracy are straight out of the establishment playbook of 2016. It didn’t work then, and by the looks of the latest polling, it doesn’t look like it is going to work in 2019 either.
The latest polling on for YouGov and the Times newspaper shows the Brexit Party with 37 per cent of the vote, with the Lib Dems on 19 per cent and Labour on 13 per cent. The Green Party has 12 per cent, and the Conservative Party are down to just 7 per cent, their lowest ebb ever, and potentially returning zero seats to the European Parliament.
Farage has pledged to field a “full 650 candidates” when Britain has its next general election. The talk behind the scenes at Brexit Party gatherings, is of what a government might look like if Farage and his band of brothers (and sisters) held the balance of power after an election.
Human Events will follow Farage and the Brexit Party machine on the campaign trail today.
Raheem Kassam is the Global Editor-in-Chief of Human Events.