Nigel Farage on: Lee Anderson Defecting to Reform UK

Nigel thanks for joining Spectator TV. Not at all. It’s been a good week for the Reform Party with the Tory party’s former deputy chairman Lee Anderson defecting. He once said not so long ago that he never would. What do you think changed his mind?

He’s on a journey isn’t he and by the way it’s not just Lee, millions are on a journey, millions of people from families who voted Labour since 1918 right and generation after generation voted Labour, that was their tribe, that was their identity and in the 2010s because of Europe immigration they started voting UKIP and Brexit party and I was the gateway drug to a 2019 massive Boris Victory, you know.

The 80-seat majority and there was something like 2 and a half or 2.75 million people who’ve been on that Journey all the way from Labour all the way through and if you look at red wall polling you know you will now find the champion of the red wall Boris Johnson 50% of that red wall now think he did a disastrous job.

So Lee coming all the way across to Reform UK is not on his own, a lot of people are going there. What do you make of Boris Johnson’s Legacy, he did deliver Brexit and that’s something you’ve been calling for many decades? I agree and after that what we had Covid, we had lockdown, we’ve had the small boats, he did that, that was very good. We’ve had taxes going up to the highest tax burden higher since 1948. The level of state control over our lives exploding, restrictions on choice as to what we can do with our own lives.

Under Johnson the state got bigger in every sense both in control of our lives and taxes and you have only had to look at the way the second and third lockdowns were handled to realize that and the big one, the only reason Boris got there, the only reason Brexit got over the line was on the immigration issue you know which is almost not understood by anybody in this postcode where we’re now discussing it.

Nigel Farage on: Real Peoples Lives

You know least of all, your editor I’m sorry to say no one understands this, go out where real people live, see the change in their communities, see the impact on their incomes, see the opportunities they have to get GP appointments or the kids to get houses and you realize that the population explosion is the biggest single factor that has damaged the quality of life in this country.

It outstrips everything and what you’ve had under Boris is record levels of immigration even in his best years, 10 times the post-war average, think about that. 10 times the post war average and last year under Sunak, 20 times the post war average.

Well, if you don’t like what my editor says about immigration you’ll be horrified to hear what I say about it. But we can have that conversation, you’re all London lovies you see and you don’t want to say things that make you unpopular and I’m sorry but you’re not connecting with what’s really happening out there.

You come with me to a rundown council estate this Saturday and you’ll come back I promise you with a very different view. I would love to do the immigration debate sometime and to the point about unpopular opinions as somebody who talks about our National Health Service quite a bit, very happy to go to the unpopular space but I want to stick on Lee Anderson because this is a really important week when it comes to what we could be looking at in an upcoming general election.

The New Conservatives, the group that Anderson was a part of in the Tory party are they one of the five families or are they the six something like that seven, eight who knows how many there are now. But they put out a statement which you know was critical of Lee Anderson for defecting but also made very clear that they thought that the real problem lay with the government.

Nigel Farage on: Future Defections

Do you expect to see more defections from Tory MPs? I think that depends and bear in mind this is important, I’m the honorary president, I do not have an executive role in Reform UK at all. I do speak to Richard regularly, Richard Tice and yes I’m cheering on from the side-lines but you know I’m not actively involved in this, I’m just a humble broadcaster.

It’s very important that we establish that objectively I would say this, let’s see where we are with YouGov this Sunday on the following Sunday, let’s see if there’s an Anderson bounce because if there is we’re entering very different territory. Why do I say that well the worst poll of the two last week had the gap between Reform UK and the Tories at 5% the one before they had a gap at 7%.

If we start to get to a point in that national polling, if we start to get to a point in the red wall where people think, sitting MPs think you know what, I’ve got more chance with Reform UK than I’ve got with the Conservatives then yes, I think we will see more defections but on that point about calling it. The government isn’t in a position where it can lose much more but Reform UK does need to gain some more. The national polls are not translating into by-election results. Well, that’s not really true is it because I mean they’re disappointing, they’re definitely towards the lower end of the spectrum, especially when we’re looking at 35% turnout, that’s not true is it Wellingborough was slightly higher than the national polling Kingswood was about in line 35% of the turnout.

If you were to do substantially well in a general election you would need to see better polling figures with this and I would also point out that Reform UK has been hinting that they thought that they would be neck and neck with the Tories in the National polls last month.

I don’t know how many elections you’ve stood in but I’ve been standing in elections for 30 years is and I can tell you that by-elections are very different than general election. Yes, they are, whilst in a general election what happens on the ground matters it doesn’t matter as much as in by-elections in by elections parties mobilize armies.

Donate red banner 2

Donate to Reform Nation Media

Nigel Farage on: Fighting By Elections

When the Lib Dems are on a roll they could put a thousand activists a day into constituencies. Reform’s weakness and it’s a big weakness is it doesn’t have the structure, doesn’t have the organization, doesn’t have the history, so it’s not able to put the muscle into by elections UKIP was 10 years ago.

You know UKIP was very good at by elections, 10 years ago however in a general election most of the vote was through the air war as opposed to ground game, so I wouldn’t for one moment dismiss the polls.

I want to ask you about Lee Anderson’s defections specifically because he was suspended from the Tory party. He had less to lose, the comments that he got suspended for were suggesting that Sadiq Khan the Mayor of London was friends with Islamists was controlled by Islamists, he mentioned that he thought Keir Starmer also suffered from the same thing. This was widely condemned within the Tory party really across Westminster.

Well, my question to you Nigel is are those kinds of comments going to be acceptable within the Reform Party? You need to get out more, you all do. I’m not having a go at you; you need to get out more. I don’t know whether you saw what happened in London last Saturday? Chants in the streets encouraging the Iran-backed Houtie terrorists to fire more missiles at ships including British Merchant ships.

Not even touched upon by the police, a bloke standing up with a Hamas are terrorists placard manhandled to the ground by six police officers. “From the river to the Sea” which is a genocidal phrase put up on the Elizabeth Tower beneath Big Ben not a single arrest? Even if the words and the way that Lee said it were a bit clumsy by his own admission the sentiment behind it that we’re losing the streets is that is something that is shared by many millions of people.

Nigel Farage on: The Westminster Bubble

But Nigel, I think this is the key distinction, everything you just laid out there, many people in the Tory party certainly people in and outside of this Westminster bubble would agree with you. I’m talking about the words that he used. We expect slightly more from our elected representatives? No working-class people in politics get over the lower orders, I mean Lee didn’t even go to a public school, let alone University, this is snobbishness this is pure London snobbishness and I speak as a privately educated person.

Right hands up but this comes and I’ve seen it again and again this comes from political parties and from media they don’t like common people and Lee’s common, he’s working class and therefore he phrases himself in a different way to those that went to Winchester.

Do you think it’s possible that what the criticism truly is, is about making a statement about the Mayor on Monday? No one gives a damn about the words, what they care about in the country in huge numbers is the sentiment that Lee expressed and the feeling.

But do you think people should care about the words? So, I mean I’m telling you what’s happening in this country. I’m telling you what I get at the petrol station every day. I stop to buy the newspapers. people of all ages come up to me. What the hell is happening to our country? What the hell’s going on? What about us and when Lee said yesterday, I want my country back, yeah I get it, I absolutely get it.

So, you’re not talking about the same Commons that I am, but look, no one cares about the words. You care, ordinary voters don’t care and this is the disconnect. You don’t get it.

My question Nigel is whether or not you think people should care? Do we want to go down the Trumpian path in which words are thrown out and 50% of the nation say everyone should go to Oxford, they should all have IQs of 140 you know what? Life ain’t like that, so I don’t think I’m going to get a yes or no answer from you about whether or not those comments are acceptable in the Reform Party.

Nigel Farage on: Messaging

I would know that you were talking about other comments not the ones that I give my personal view of, the comments right they’re slightly different. I’m explaining to you why I think Lee Anderson would make those comments, is going to be bang on.

I’m explaining to you why Lee Anderson is a bigger deal than anyone yet realizes right, this is about emotions, it’s about feelings you know, the people in Ashfield don’t care about the formal words they used they couldn’t give a damn, he’s expressing an emotion for me, yeah of course the way he put it wasn’t quite right you know, had he said Sadiq Khan has lost control of the streets had he said Sadiq Khan always goes on about islamophobia but never seem to criticize anti-Semitism,  that would have been fine.

So were the words perfect? No, they were far from perfect but they express an emotion given by somebody as I say that is not Oxbridge educated and needs to be given a bit of leeway for that.

I’d like to ask you about some of the policies in the Reform Party. You are honorary president; I’d like to know whether or not you support some of these positions. I’ve been looking into the reform policy around tax, around the NHS. My first question is why do you think it’s going to be easier for the Reform Party or possible for the Reform Party to for example cut tax by tens if not hundreds of billions of pounds based on some of the public policies that are mentioned here when it’s been impossible with the current economic situation for the Tories to do that and presumably would be impossible for Labour to do it as well.

Because we’ve not had pro-growth policies, we’ve simply not had pro-growth policies and I think the virtual abandonment of small and medium sized businesses (SMEs) of Soul Traders particularly under 14 years of conservatives is truly astonishing.

Nigel Farage on: Reform UK Policy

You know they may have got it all wrong, they may have been playing the right notes in the wrong order to quote Eric Morecambe from a famous Christmas special but you know when Kwasi Kwarteng stood up and said we’re going to review the IR35 rules I was cheering watching it, because I know the frustrations out there for people trying to act as Soul Traders.

You’ve put up corporation tax, the government had by 30%, you refuse to accept the problem with the self-employed, with IR35 rules, virtually everybody in small business in the world is against them and whilst despite all of that there are those that will thrive and survive and do well, if there is a lesson about enterprise that we can learn from Britain and America from the 1980s it’s when you make life easier more people have a go.

We have not grown now since 2022 you know we’re now in a technical recession but we’ve literally flatlined since 2022 and so you know we’re not generating the wealth, we’re not generating the money, we’re not generating the growth that we need to succeed. Now, if you look at what Richard’s put forward Richard Tice, his contract with the people, there’s one key thing in it which is the most expensive right back to your point and that is to raise the threshold at which people start paying tax from 12 and a bit to £20,000 a year.

That is expensive, however if it gets people off benefits and back into work and makes them more productive it very quickly becomes less expensive. That is, if there is a gamble in what Richard has put forward that is where it is, but it’s an inspired idea and I do believe it’s the right one. You throw back to the Liz trust era which at the time, well we know how those 49 days went, yeah a lot of people wanted to point to tax cuts as being the problem.

Donate red banner 2

Donate to Reform Nation Media

Nigel Farage on: Liz Truss

What they don’t like to point to was the £100 billion pounds worth of extra spending that she was proposing in the energy price guarantee. It didn’t end up being that expensive but that is what she was asking the markets to borrow and I think truly that is what blew up the entire project.

But if I look at Reforms public policy, I don’t see a lot of mention of spending cuts. I’m looking at the NHS cost, at the 5% spending cuts is what it says it says 5% of the Whitehall budget will be cuts, but you’re also looking at huge increases in staffing for the NHS, you’re looking at more money that’s actually one of the bullet points. Here my question, do you really think that this is going to be costed?

I would expect Reform UK to be held to the same standards as the Tory party or the Labour party when we’re looking at budgets, especially if you think it’s going to perform well.

I can tell you from my own experience is that in 2015 the UKIP Manifesto was independently costed by an outside Think Tank the first time any British political party had ever done that. All right, so I have a track record in this regard, it was interesting after that other parties started to follow as with much of my life, other parties started to follow what we did. It’s up to Richard to get this knocked into shape between now and the next election what he announced at the Reform UK conference up in Doncaster was you know the draft contract with the people and that’s what that is so it’s a working progress, as indeed it is for everybody else.

Perhaps the greatest likelihood of a huge Reform UK success would be a huge Labour party success, a huge majority, well they’re going to win anyway, but how Labour wins could look very different and mean very different things for the country. Is this a 50 seat majority? Is this a 100 seat majority? Is it 150 seat majority? That could determine what they can do with public policy how much credibility they have when making major change.

Nigel Farage on : UKIPs History

Yeah, it’s quite funny, I sat here in 2015 I sat there with one of your predecessors in 2015, not this room, went upstairs doing an interview, a print interview and I was told Nigel you’re going to cost the Tories seats.

In fact, Cameron wouldn’t have won a majority without UKIP because we took more Labour votes than we took Tory votes so there’s a lot of misconceptions going on here.

Do you think that could happen again?

I think this is different yeah, this is different in the sense this is those 2019 Boris Johnson voters had. 80% of them had come through UKIP and the Brexit party, we were the gateway drug from old Labour through to that lending of the vote in 2019 which to be fair Boris acknowledged the next day.

He acknowledged that it was a lent vote at least 50% of those red wall voters are now disgusted with the Tory party, disgusted verging on hatred for the Tory party, they will not be voting Conservative and frankly whether Reform UK stand or not they will not be voting Conservative now.

I go back, here’s the key, nobody alive knows more about the difficulty of the first past the post electoral system than me, no one alive in fact actually, no one that’s ever lived knows more about the difficulties of the system and I say that as somebody who led political parties, that won two national elections, two European elections, we won with me as leader, one for UKIP one for the Brexit party, both under PR.

For the general election in 2015, we got 4 million votes & one seat you know, more votes than the SNP with Lib Dems combined, the greens combined you know and we get one seat.

Nigel Farage on: The Red Wall

So, I know all about this, I know how hard this can be and I can completely understand given the calculation that in this election it’s 2019 lenders that will vote Reform UK, so I understand the basis of the question however, there’s something different this time and it’s this is why Lee is more important than I think that anybody’s yet realized.

Reform UKs aim is to become the challenger to Labour in all of those red wall seats and you know what, that is an entirely credible proposition and if people who lent their vote to the Conservatives last time can see that only Reform UK can beat Labour, whether that’s in Stoke or in Copeland you know or any of those, Ashfield, any of those constituencies then we start to see a very different game.

I think you’re going to find within two weeks there are 20 or 30 but a neck in, out here a little bit I think you’ll find within a couple of weeks there are 20 or 30 red wall seats that have become already three-way marginals and in which Reform UK has a realistic chance. Now is it going to be easy to beat Labour in those seats under the first pass the post.

Well, given the corruption of postal voting and many other things it won’t be easy, but it’s possible and also can I just say this in 2015 there were a couple of million voters who had voted UKIP in the previous year’s European election who went back to their traditional parties mostly Conservative, they were worried about the SNP / Labour Coalition, they were squeezable, they’re not squeezable now.

They hate the Conservatives get this, they actually loathe the Conservatives for 14 years of their lives, they loathe the Conservatives for 14 years of broken promises, there’s something about the journalistic questioning now that is missing something and it’s missing these people. They’d probably rather not vote at all than go back to the Conservatives so I don’t think the Reform UK vote can be squeezed. I think it’s a very solid, 12, 13% or whatever it is, it’s not impossible that within a few weeks we see poll ratings where both parties are neck and neck.

The Plot: Nadine Dorries Amazon Ad

Nigel Farage on: A Labour Victory

It’s not impossible, a few weeks is only a few weeks away so we will certainly be coming back to my prediction. I’m sticking my neck out but I do think that what Anderson does is gives Reform UK a bit of momentum and the remarkable thing about the polls in the last few weeks is or months is that half the country have still never heard of Reform UK which makes it even more incredible and that goes back to your point about ground game and turning out the vote.

I guess my question for you Nigel on a slightly more personal level is if Reform UK success also leads to a bigger success for the Labour party overall in terms of its ability to govern the country in terms of its mandate how will you feel about that?

It would suggest that perhaps the public policy, the ideas that you like to push will actually be further away, the tax burden may grow, the state may grow yeah maybe, 100,000 young men without documents cross the English Channel, how much worse could it be, than what we’ve had under these Conservatives?

How much more of our lives can be controlled? How much more could we be filmed and fined? How much more could we be locked down? Can it really be that much worse? Well, it might be a little bit worse, but I’ll tell you this, very often in life things need to get worse before they can get better.

I repeat the point as the general election approaches people will know Labour have won already so there’ll be a huge battle going on for what is the opposition to that Labour party. Is it the current parliamentary Conservative party or is it dare I call it the Conservative movement that exists out in this country, many of which enjoy The Spectator magazine and Spectator TV and the reason I say that is I went to Manchester last year for the Conservative conference.

Nigel Farage on: Attending Tory Conference

I hadn’t been to one for decades now albeit I did go with the GB News badge on but you know the response was and I was amazed, I was overwhelmed by delegates you know people who paid their own money and they damned expensive going to a conference. I was overwhelmed by you know people who gone the conference of all age’s classes all of the chattering classes, really interested in talking.

Most of the MPs walk by me like this and so what you’ve really got going on in conservatism in Britain is the centre of gravity of the Parliamentary party and the centre of gravity of conservative members and voters are so far apart it’s almost unbelievable and I think every vote Reform UK gets in this election and the comparator between that and how many the Conservatives get across the country is what will reshape the centre right of British politics to come.

I’m not that pessimistic because I remember in the 70s you know I mean Heath literally tore up the 1970 Manifesto you turned on everything from you know spending commitments to trade Union agreements to joining the European Economic Community and for all the world you know thought when Heath went you know the whole thing was really in a terrible state of decline and the national front in those days was really beginning to gain some ground.

Some quite senior public figures backing it and yet out of the ashes of that emerged a new kind of thinking that we have to roll back the frontiers of the state and it was called Thatcherism and it wasn’t really Thatcherism it was really Keith Joseph Milton Friedman and one or two others who  developed a philosophy that we’d gone wrong.

We’re in a very similar place now they called it Ballism you know from the early 60s to the mid ’70s where effectively there wasn’t much choice between Labour and Conservative there’s no choice now you know you’re telling me, oh gosh it could be worse. Labour looked at the budget you know Starmer can criticize the budget but he actually agreed with almost every single policy that was in the budget we’ve got two big State, high tax, open border Social Democrat parties.

Donate red banner 2

Donate to Reform Nation Media

Nigel Farage on: Tory Manifesto Lies

The difference is; one just lies at every election, they lie at every election you know 2010 Manifesto net migration tens of thousands a year, 2015 Manifesto net migration tens of thousands a year, 2017 Manifesto net migration tens of thousands a year, 2019 a sort of vague pledge to cut numbers.

Last year it was 750,000 I mean, this is unthinkable, they don’t deserve our votes, they deserve to get an appalling result and if they do then I think we’ll see a one term Labour government and maybe that’s better than having a faux Conservative party that lies to the electorate and never ever delivers.

I’m actually quite excited, I think the reshaping in a sense in 2019 we reunited the centre right vote and I helped with that. I withdrew candidates in 320 seats I said it was okay to vote for Boris, I did all those things but we didn’t reunite the people on the centre right and we learned that basically most people who finished up in that cabinet post Boris’s election we’re just lying to the electorate.

We’ve had enough you say, you’re excited you say, you want to be a part of this you also said at the start of this interview that you are just a humble broadcaster at the moment.

Will you be a candidate for Reform UK? These are very big calls for me to make, I spent nearly 21 years in the European Parliament, was a very large chunk of My Life. I’ve well I haven’t reinvented myself; I’m still doing the same thing I’m campaigning.

The jungle didn’t reinvent you?

The jungle did me a massive amount of good, the jungle took years off me I me, no I honestly, I feel fit every bit younger. I’m going to be 60 in a couple of weeks.

Nigel Farage on: What he is planning next?

So you’ll be out knocking on doors? Hang on, the jungle did me an absolute massive amount of good and connected me to a huge number of young people and that’s why now even on Tik Tok you know I’m the most active political current affairs figure in the country, you know I’m reaching out to teenagers and I’m getting great heart actually from gen Z and many in gen Z.

I have to decide what I can do best; I look at America particularly in Fox News and you look at Tucker Carlson or you know people like that would they have been more influential on American politics as senators or congressmen than they were with their Fox News position so I have to think you know I’ve got about 4.2 million people now on my social media feeds.

I’ve got a show on GB news that you know and I don’t want to be like Piers Morgan and boast but you know over the last few nights my viewing figures even according to Barb which is owned by ITV, Sky, BBC but even according to that measure my show is getting more views than all the other channels put together every night.

So above all I’m not a politician I’m an issues campaigner, I’ve always been an issues campaigner. You know I stood for the European Parliament because I wanted to get three letters after my name because those three letters after my name got me on question time, got me a bigger audience. I’m an issues campaigner, I passionately care about things.

I must work out where can I be most effective; can I be most effective as I am broadcasting on the social media but not in a traditional way? I don’t do it every night from a London Studio, I’m out all around the country with live audiences doing my stuff or would I be more effective you know getting back involved in electoral politics?

Going to be second time in this interview that I’m not going to get a yes or no answer from you. I don’t know no I tell you why.

Nigel Farage on: The Big Decisions

I don’t know, look me in the eye, I genuinely don’t know what I’m going to do. It is something that I think about probably for several hours every day so seriously deliberating oh this is one of the biggest decisions of my life.

Well, let me ask you as a final question, if you didn’t stand for Reform UK might you be spending more time in the United States? I know that you were reporting there for super Tuesday, I know that you’re in with the former president of United States Donald Trump, is that something you might consider taking up a job in the Trump Administration if he were to be re-elected?

I was in Maralago last Monday with him, an extraordinary man I mean he’s the most resilient human being I’ve ever met in my life. He’s also one of the funniest, he’s genuinely funny when you’re with him and is he still funny? He seems quite angry these days no look at that CPAC speech 35 minutes of that speech he could have been a stand-up comedian. He was telling stories it was extra I would have paid to go to the theatre to hear it. He’s going to win; he’s going to win. Of course, for me the easy option is to up sticks and go to America you know. I get a show tomorrow on American talk radio probably, get one on telly I could do with all that the money, would be a lot better than it is here of course.

I’m very friendly with I’ve been loyal to Donald Trump since the summer of 2016, I’m friendly with many of his family members his entourage and they trust me. I’ve never betrayed them I’ve never let secrets out you know so, it is, in a sense a very tempting world but end of the day you know I’m English, I’m British I quite like Cricket.

I quite enjoy things about this country, I’ve got children, I’ve got grandchildren on the way this summer, I’ve got parents who are still alive so my stake here is considerable and I care about the future of the country. The only job in America that would really tempt me would be with a Starmer Administration that has no connections to Trump who’s going to win you know.

Nigel Farage on: Trump & America

They need somebody in the middle of that in Washington to help them. You want to be UK ambassador to the US?

They’re going to need someone, well you’re putting that out there, what if it’s not me who’s it going to be because whatever David Lamy thinks of Donald Trump or says about him or Sadiq Khan or whoever it may be the fact is you know we are still the biggest investor in the USA from overseas, they’re our biggest investor here, the trade links are huge but could be so much better and NATO is a very important organization.

If you don’t have Britain and America together the thing may fall to pieces so the stakes on that are very high. Am I going to immigrate to America no, I’m not. I’m not tempting though it is.

If I was asked to do a job that might help the national interest I would. I doubt Labour will ask me, I very much doubt they’ll ask me, their prejudice against me would be too great, but you know what it might just be the right thing for the country.

Nigel thank you so much for joining Spectator TV and if you do end up spending more time in the States you have to promise that before you go, you’ll come back and we’ll do a proper immigration debate? I promise I will.

Donate red banner 2

Donate to Reform Nation Media