No Policies? No Problem. The Patchwork Brexit Party Is Crushing Its Opponents. – The New York Times

Yet if politics can sometimes make odd bedfellows, the Brexit Party is taking that principle to the extreme, running candidates from all over the political spectrum. The party has even recruited as candidates three former members of the Revolutionary Communist Party and its successor groups, which defended deadly bombings by the Irish Republican Army in the 1980s and 1990s.

Mr. Farage has defended his heterodox candidate slate as the seed of a nonpartisan pro-democracy movement. Analysts are dubious, however, saying he is more likely looking for ways to lure disaffected pro-Brexit Labour voters and provide a counterbalance to his history in the anti-immigration, largely right-wing 2016 Leave campaign.

“It’s rational party competition,” said Alan Wager, a research associate at the U.K. in a Changing Europe, a research institute. “It’s wearing the clothing of idealism and optimism, but it’s not an optimistic or idealistic message really.”

John Malcolm, 75, a lifelong Conservative voter sitting beside his wife, seemed to speak for many in the crowd in Willenhall when he said he did not terribly much care whom the Brexit Party would send to Brussels.

“I wasn’t looking for someone to represent me in Europe,” he said. “I’m looking for this party to do extremely well to show what we think on this issue to the other parties.”

Voters have used the European elections for protest votes before, but the Brexit Party, born in the wreckage of Mrs. May’s deal, is unusually empty of formal policies. Its candidates rarely venture beyond its signature issue and populist themes, leaning on phrases like a “clean Brexit” but mostly dodging questions about what that means — what arrangements they would make for Britain’s borders, its airlines or its financial services industry, for example.


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