Has Brexit Party leader and self-styled Brexiteer-in-Chief Nigel Farage been converted to the cause of Remain? This is certainly the view of top political commentator Bobby Tubbs, of the South Oxfordshire Weekly Free Gazette and Advertiser. “How else are we to take his recent utterances on the subject of Boris Johnson’s ‘Surrender Deal’, sorry, new EU withdrawal deal?” the paper’s Political Editor asks in latest column. “You’d think that, as it represents a far ‘harder’ form of Brexit than Theresa May’s deal, which has already been rejected by parliament three times, and seems designed to pander to the far right, Farage would be all in favour of this deal. But apparently not.” Indeed, based upon his recent public utterances Farage, it seems, would rather have another extension to the leave date from the EU than see this deal become law. “OK, now I know there is a certain warped logic to these pronouncements in that Farage would rather ‘No Deal’ than any deal, as this would represent a ‘clean break’ from the EU,” says Tubbs. “Nevertheless, in view of the fact that the ‘Benn Act’ effectively rules out a no deal scenario, you’d think that Farage would support the next best thing: Boris’ deal.” But it seems that Farage has also now embraced the ‘Benn Act’ – how else, asks Tubbs, are we to construe his criticism of Jean Claude Juncker’s declaration that there would be no further postponement’ now that a new deal was on the table?

“According to Farage, it is outrageous that the EU should be, in effect, pre-empting the ‘Benn Act’ and impinging on the sovereignty of the UK parliament, which still has the right to reject the deal<” explains Tubbs. “All of which certainly makes him sound like one of us remainers!” But what could explain this apparent ‘Road to Damascus’ conversion? Various theories have been floated, ranging from the simplistic – he was kicked in the head by a horse – to the bizarre. Among the latter is a theory that Farage has somehow been ‘converted’ by EU officials in an attempt to sabotage Brexit. “They’ve clearly got at him while he was in Brussels, at the European Parliament,” opines Harold Potz, secretary of the Nigel Farage Fan Club. “I tried warning him about going there, but as an MEP, he insisted on attending sessions out of dedication to the interests of his constituents. That and the allowances he got paid for attendances.” Potts believes that Farage might have been kidnapped while in Brussels and subjected to brainwashing techniques in order to alter his views on Brexit. “Trust me, those Eurocrats as worse than ISIS for converting and radicalising people,” he claims. “Turning Nigel Farage would be an act of genius – who would ever suspect him of being a Remain agent? With his brilliant skills of oratory, he could easily persuade fellow leavers to the Remain cause!”

Another theory currently gaining traction in pro-Leave private Facebook groups is that the Labour Party has, quite literally, cast a spell on Farage, in order to discredit him. “They are desperate to neutralise the threat he poses to Labour by wooing working class voters away from them – just look at how well the Brexit Party did in traditional Labour areas during the European elections,” says Brexit campaigner Dick Bucket. “They clearly recognised that they couldn’t best him in terms of rational argument, so they have instead decided to enchant him!” According to Bucket, the Labour Party has unleashed supernatural forces upon Farage, drawing upon its leader’s connections to the New Age community. “Corbyn’s always been into all that organic fruit and vegetable crap and we all know that is only a couple of steps away from Wicca, ley lines and all that mystical shit,” he says. “Not only that, but he has all those connections with South America – Venezuela and so on – and those tribes who practice all sorts of magical stuff. I’ve heard that, thanks to his connections, Corbyn has some pretty powerful juju!” Bucket has claimed that several recent shadow cabinet meetings have involved senior labour figures dressing in loincloths and wearing facepaint, performing frenzied ritualistic dances as Jeremy Corbyn, wearing a magnificent feathered headdress performs magical rites designed to possess Nigel Farage’s soul. “The rites were meant to include animal sacrifices,” reveals Bucket. “But obviously, a snowflake like Corbyn wouldn’t countenance that sort of thing, so instead he plunged his ritual knife into an aubergine.”

Not surprisingly, all of these theories have been rejected by Tubbs, who believes that, in the main, they are being disseminated by Farage’s supporters as a smokes screen to hide the real reason for his sudden enthusiasm for delaying Brexit. A reason, Tubbs claims, which is far simpler than any of the conspiracy theories. “The reality is that Farage has a vested interest in keeping the Brexit band wagon rolling. After all, if the UK does leave the EU, then the entire raison d’etre for both him and his Brexit Party will vanish, (not to mention the fact that he’ll lose access to the lucrative EU gravy train as he’ll cease to be an MEP),” he contends. “That’s the problem with single issue political movements: once their aim has been achieved, their purpose has been served and the electorate turn their attentions elsewhere. Farage has already seen it happen with his previous party UKIP, which was centred solely upon winning that referendum. Once the ‘Yes’ vote had prevailed, UKIP’s support collapsed.”

Indeed, while UKIP still exists, it is now a fringe party flailing around trying to establish a new identity. “Its last leadership contest eventually degenerated into two blokes bashing each other around the head with frying pans,” claims Tubbs. “Last man standing was declared the winner.”
The Brexit Party, Tubbs argues, now faces a similar problem: its focus has been upon the actual mechanics of the UK leaving the EU and ensuring that the referendum vote is ‘honoured’. “Once that happens, it will all be over for them and, if he is to remain in politics, Farage will have to find himself a new vehicle for his ambitions,” he says. “Until he figure out what that will be, expect to see him continue to spin out the Brexit process for as long as possible.”