Nigel Farage’s greatest fear has come to pass: the Leave campaign won. No longer able to play the politics of protest, he has stepped down…
Nigel Farage has, for the second – or is it third? – time, resigned as party leader. He appears to really mean it this time, if for no other reason than he really rather not help deal with the mess he’s dropped us all in. (Or just as likely, he’s never had a taste for governing.) The problem is though, up until now, Nigel has been seen as UKIP – UKIP as Nigel. Two stool samples impossible to differentiate.
There is something that many lefty Brits will be unaware of however, something that may bring a wry smile back to those grimacing chops. UKIP has recently been experiencing an internal tiff: between the face of the party and its sole MP. Douglas Carswell, ex-Tory, is, well, surprisingly sane for someone with his affiliations, and Farage’s departure is a clear victory for him.
I say him because he could hardly be called the “left of the party” (remember, even the Nazis had a “left”) as he appears to be distant whisper within the actual infrastructure. The party membership consisting mainly of wizened old coots who believe the worst legacy of Empire is it allowed wogs to trounce the English at cricket.
Carswell has, to extend the metaphor found here, thrown out Cuckoo Farage. This isn’t to suggest UKIP will become a left-of-centre party any time soon (as its founder, Alan Sked, had once hoped), Carswell is a well-oiled cog in the Establishment. But, for a brief time at least, it won’t be headed by a racist… and the very worst type of political “romantic”.
For Schmitt, political romantics are driven not by the quest for pseudo-religious certainty, but by the search for excitement, for the romance of what he calls ‘the occasion’. They want something, anything, to happen, so that they can feel themselves to be at the heart of things. As a result, political romantics often lead complicated double lives, moving between different versions of themselves, experimenting with alternative personae. ‘Reversing one’s position between several realities and playing them off against one another belongs to the nature of the romantic situation,’ Schmitt writes. Political romantics are ostensibly self-sufficient yet also have a desperate need for human comradeship. ‘In every romantic we can find examples of anarchistic self-confidence as well as an excessive need for sociability.
David Runciman, writing for the London Review of Books. The originator of the term in its academic sense was Carl Schmitt – the infamous Nazi apologist.