Nigel Farage launches anti-lockdown party
EU opponent Nigel Farage wants to relaunch his Brexit Party as Reform UK and focus on protesting against what he sees as the government's overly restrictive coronavirus policy. On Saturday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson announced another partial lockdown that will last several weeks. Journalists believe Farage has good chances of stirring things up in British politics again.
Populists can exploit lockdown frustration
The British government should try to cushion the economic and social impact of the lockdown measures as much as possible to take the wind out of Farage's sails, The Guardian stresses:
“Across the board, basic economic security must be the minimum offer this winter to those who are being immiserated by Covid-19. The alternative is to allow Mr Farage and libertarian elements of the Conservative party to mine seams of popular discontent, fomenting discord and distrust at a time of national crisis. Over the weekend, anti-curfew protesters were out on the streets in Italy and Spain. In Florence, some chanted: 'We are not extremists, we are not fascists, we are hungry.' Mr Farage will have taken note. So should the prime minister.”
Tories will be instrumentalised again
There are many opponents of the lockdown within the Conservative Party who will now also push for the government to change its course, the New Statesman says:
“But [Nigel Farage] will receive two important benefits: the first is that he will, surely, receive more than his fair share of coverage from the broadcasters at a time when we will all be spending more time indoors watching telly than we would otherwise hope. The second is that Farage doesn't need to succeed electorally to succeed politically. He just needs to spook enough Conservative MPs into thinking they will, and to provide a useful rhetorical device for other Tory MPs to advocate for the things they want to happen anyway.”