jumping the shark
jumping the shark

JUMPING THE SHARK

Do you remember the 1970s American TV series “Happy Days”? Cult viewing among those of my generation, its star was Henry Winkler who played the part of the Fonz who provided a popular catchphrase of the time, namely “Fonz is Cool”.

As viewing numbers decreased, an episode saw the Fonz jumping over a shark while on water-skis. And over time the phrase “jumping the shark” has come to describe someone or something once widely popular making a misguided attempt to get their following back, but only showing have irrelevant they have become.

Which brings me to Nigel Farage, widely reported as rebranding his Brexit Party to take advantage of the split in the Tories as to how to combat Covid 19. Farage was of course the king pin of UKIP, which topped the poll at the 2014 Euro elections. He then did likewise at the 2019 Euro election, only this time he was now leader of the Brexit Party.

Yet in the run up to the 2019 December General Election, Farage was persuaded not to put up candidates in seats where there was already a sitting Tory MP. To me this was his jumping the shark moment, as it clearly exposed the Brexit party as being nothing more than a group of former right-wing Tories. His and his party’s credibility was lost for good, as was shown when the results came in. Just 2% voted for Brexit across the country, while even their Great Grimsby candidate could only poll 7.2%.

So really, even if Farage does decide to enter the national political arena once more, he is a busted flush. The battle remains between a Labour Party on the side of the people, and a divided Tory Party bumbling from one crisis to anther under an old Etonian Prime Minister clearly out of his depth. Anything else is just a pointless sideshow.

 

Tim Mickleburgh.

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