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'Everybody assumes we're a bunch of hairy-ass loons': What is the Brexit Party up to?

The Brexit Party is preparing for an election – by using a technology called Pericles, in reference to one of Bojo’s historic heroes.

Image: Gareth Fuller

AS THE UK stumbles towards an inevitable election, the progress of the Brexit Party and its attempts to secure a pact with the Tories is a fascinating spectacle.

Brexit Party members have been accusing the Tories of stealing their policy ideas, as they grapple with the threat of another right-wing party threatening to suck the air out of their election chances (remember Ukip). 

Nigel Farage has offered Boris Johnson his party’s support in an upcoming election – offering to suck up support in Labour strongholds like Newport, Wales, where the Brexit Party is performing strongly. 

But Johnson has refused that pact, and instead picked up the “Nigel Farage rhetoric”, as Nigel Farage himself put it: “let’s get Brexit done”, “Brexit do or die by 31 October”, “I’d rather die in a ditch” than seek an extension. 

Source: Nigel Farage/YouTube

So, now what for the growing Brexit Party?

In the past month, in tandem with the party’s conference tour across the UK, it has been ramping up its social media, sending out slick measured ‘explainer’ type videos (eg, this one on the Withdrawal Agreement, which doesn’t explain much about it). 

Other than Nigel Farage’s frequent appearances on LBC and other broadcast media, as well as the odd column (he compared Boris Johnson’s backstop alternatives to putting lipstick on a pig in the Telegraph), the Brexit Party has avoided being centre stage and focused on cultivating a grassroots base who are frustrated with politicians.

In its newsletter, it said that it had ran a number of ‘Campaign Launches and Training sessions’, and had planned to run two more due to demand. 

As part of its training, it offers a “revolutionary canvassing technology – the most advanced in the UK which no other party has access to” – which is called Pericles

Of course, this is the name of one of Boris Johnson’s two great historical figures – former Prime Minister Winston Churchill being one, and Pericles of Athens, a Greek leader from 461 to 429 BC, who Johnson said “believed in great infrastructure projects and also believed in the importance of the many, not the few”.

The other elements of the training include:

The Brexit Party Way – our values and way of doing things to ensure whatever we do, we do it well and it’s unmistakably the Brexit Party (for all attendees)
NationBuilder – our communication tool for connecting to and contacting our supporters (for Campaign Team and PPCs)
Literature – How to draft leaflets and election addresses (for Campaign Team and PPCs)

“The only way to get a clean-break Brexit is to make sure The Brexit Party gets as many votes as possible!” the email states in emboldened letters.

Through the looking glass

So what’s the party’s ultimate goal?

A spokesperson for the Brexit Party, tells TheJournal.ie that their aim is to change politics. He says that the panto elements of their conferences and rallies happen everywhere, but it’s when they talk about changing the system when people really react.

“It’s when we talked about changing the system – not just Brexit, but the system that allowed the fuck up of Brexit, the system has allowed the powerful, the rich, the well-connected to take their dozen-and-a-half court cases, that allow them to do everything they can to undermine it means that you’ve got 480 MPs against 120 who are in favour of the of the side of lost and they haven’t accepted defeat.

The snobbery of ‘They’re thick, they’re old, it was done by Russia, it was done by Cambridge Analytica – anything, anything except that people wanted to leave. They cannot accept that ‘We: the intelligent, the well-educated, the brilliant, the decent, the progressive, were told to fuck off’.

Its members insist on calling a no-deal Brexit a “clean-break Brexit” because “there are many deals already there on air traffic, on this, on that, so it’s a misnomer”.

The party’s MEPs are only too happy to do interviews when approached, and aren’t afraid to give specific, planned soundbites either (like when the Brexit Party chair Richard Tice called the Irish border “irrelevant” in an interview with TheJournal.ie). 

The spokesperson said of the party’s transparency: 

Everybody assumes we’re a bunch of hairy-ass loons with horns and sulfur. We’re not. And the best way to prove we’re not is to not be a hairy-ass loon with horns and sulfur. And the only way we can show that is to be as open and as transparent as we can manage.

When asked what happens to the Brexit Party on 1 November if there is no deal with the EU, the spokesperson says: 

“Well. Does Brexit become a battle on a  flag with which you carry into a further campaign? Almost certainly. But it does rather depend on what happens.”

No matter the outcome, the passion on both sides of the Brexit debate is almost unbearable. So what will bring people together in the end?

You finally do it, and move on.

“Do you think people will move on?”

They’re going to have to. Trust me, if we’re out – once we’re out – the chances of this country going back in? Nil.

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