Does Farage see Brexit as his Reichstag Fire?

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I’ve long had a hunch that Brexit is essentially impossible. It would take years to disentangle the British State from its interdependences on the European Union, indeed probably longer than it took to join in the first place. It would involve very detailed preparation by experts in all sorts of fields in order to predict and mitigate the effects, such are the numbers of known unknowns and unknown unknowns involved.

It was already clear before the vote that neither of the Leave campaigns had done that preparation. They were so careless about the consequences as to try to quash serious debate entirely, up to the point of ridiculing experts and rejecting evidence and doubts out of hand. Since then, and very obviously of late, it’s become blindingly obvious to anyone not willfully myopic that pro-Brexit politicians are completely unprepared for what lies in store.

Now one of those myriad impossibilities involved has become clear: the Irish border. Regardless of any amount of vacuous rhetoric about Taking Back Control Of Our Borders, the UK has a back door which it is, pace the Good Friday Agreement, 100% politically, legally and morally obliged to keep open. (Not to mention that a fact that it can’t have a ‘soft border’ (what?) for trade and a ‘hard border’ for people.) This is an intractable problem, and one which, given that the Republic has, like all EU states, a veto over the final deal, will scupper the whole project. Not that the Brexiteers are short of solutions, you understand: Kate Hooey reckons that Ireland will just have to leave the EU and various Andrew Lilico types in the Daily Telegraph are proclaiming that ‘Eire’ will have to forget about being a sovereign and independent entity. James Connolly wrote of a ‘carnival of reaction’ after Irish partition: the UK’s partition from the EU is provoking a carnival of outright trollery.

Nigel Farage presumably knew about such impossible aspects, but I increasingly suspect that he sees it as grist to the mill. Farage is a trickster: a Pied Piper type, an agent of chaos for its own sake. Any simple Occam’s Razor join the dots analysis also confirms that he is, from his days of marching round his boarding school singing Nazi marching songs to goosestepping onto the stage at the AFD conference a few weeks ago, a lifelong fascist. Unlike Trump, who presumably kept a copy of ‘Mein Kampf’ by his bedside to show off what an edgelord he was, Farage will, like Steve Bannon, have read up on how the Nazis managed to get into power. It doesn’t take much insight to recognise the role of the Reichstag Fire in allowing Hitler to seize control.

This is a mere blog. I have no claims to be a journalist. Like most such sites, it is a collection of overgrown below-the-line comments. Unlike some, it doesn’t hold with or promote paranoid and simplistic conspiracy theories. My opinion of such theories is influenced by a book I read long ago: ‘In Dubious Battle’, J. Bowyer Bell’s analysis of the (probably) MI6-sponsored 1974 Dublin and Monaghan bombings. In it he points out that anyone expecting to be able to track down signed and sealed confessions from the participants in such plots is probably deluded. Underhand collusion between nefarious interests does obviously exist, but it tends to be in the form of tacit suggestions, nods and winks, not formalised agreements. No one is likely to find a payment in roubles into Farage’s Nationwide Flexaccount, to choose a not-entirely-random example.

This piece was thus inspired not by a top-secret document handed to me by a stranger in a public park, but by a post I came across from a random person in the gossip mill of social media. The tweet includes no sources, referring vaguely to ‘rumours’. This is what it says:

Rumours circulating that the only thing making the govt determined to continue with this ludicrous Brexit charade is the threat of civil unrest from the loony right. Police and HO advise that they might not be able to cope.Govts abhor civil unrest, and right threatens violence.

There’s no reason to give credence to such a source, but without wanting to sound like Sarah Sanders, it does have a smack of truth to it. While Farage may be the only full-on fascist among the key Brexit zealots, it’s worth bearing in mind firstly that First World War-enthusiast Michael Gove has long been publicly hostile to the Good Friday Agreement itself, and secondly that the gunboat-style free trade imperialism propounded by Hannan, Rees-Mogg, Carswell, Patel, Johnson et al is so extreme and anathema to modern democracy as to necessitate a Year Zero approach. I suspect that to various degrees none of the above were particularly serious about Britain’s leaving the EU per se. They instead saw it as a means to an end, and thus regard the chaos that will inevitably ensue as akin to sweeping all the pieces off the board to create a tabula rasa. In the case of Farage, the referendum result is an opportunity to turn the UK into an authoritarian state, with scapegoating as its organising principle. The Conservative Party, out of conceit and complacency, fell into the trap that he had, with very great patience and guile, set for it. His ubiquitous media presence, from the Question Time panel to the LBC studio, from Andrew Marr’s sofa to Good Morning Britain’s, from the LBC studio to Loose Women and back to Question Time again, is part of his ongoing attempts to force the country into line with the Nazi ideology he professed as a schoolboy and has kept largely concealed ever since.

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