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Why is Nigel Farage immune to scandals that would destroy his rivals?

3 167 0
22.05.2019

Let’s say the pollsters have got it wrong. After all, their record is hardly perfect. So let’s say they’ve called it wrong and the Tories are not down to 7%, which would be the worst electoral performance in their history; that Labour are not on a meagre 13%, trailing six points behind the Lib Dems and a single point ahead of the Green party. Let’s say those numbers, from YouGov’s last poll for the Times ahead of tomorrow’s European elections, prove to be off once the votes are counted. Even if that happens, there’s one finding that is unlikely to be upended. If it were, the pollsters would have to be more wrong than they’ve ever been and to an outlandishly large degree. That finding, shared by all the polling organisations, is the imminent victory of Nigel Farage and his Brexit party.

YouGov has Farage ahead of his closest rivals, the Lib Dems, by a staggering 18 points. Even if that hugely overestimates his support, he’s still in front. Pollsters have a margin of error, but even if you tripled it, Farage is still the likely winner of this contest.

On one level, that’s no surprise. Farage’s party in 2014 – Ukip – won the last European elections too. Two years later, leave won 52% in a referendum and Farage has, rather brilliantly, made his Brexit party the unambiguous vehicle of leave. If most leavers consolidate behind Farage, and especially while the remain vote is fragmented six different ways, that immediately puts him in pole position.

And yet, even if it’s not surprising, the success of Nigel Farage should be shocking. For what it suggests is that this man – who tried and failed to be elected to Westminster seven times – has a Teflon coating unmatched by any other figure in UK politics. Consider what has bounced off him in the past fortnight alone.

Channel 4 News alleged that the self-proclaimed scourge of the elite was in fact a “kept man”, afforded a life of personal luxury by the Brexit funder Arron Banks. The programme presented evidence of invoices, emails........

© The Guardian