Whisper it… Nigel Farage may be on the verge of killing off one of the most successful political parties in the history of the world.

The British press has warned for months of a potential “extinction-level event” for Prime Minister Rishi Sunak’s Conservative Party in the upcoming general election, with Sir Keir Starmer’s left-wing Labour Party long being projected to take control of the Commons. However, there was no real suggestion that the Tories would not even still be seen as the principal opposition party in the aftermath of the election.

Yet, just days after making his shock announcement of a return to frontline politics, reclaiming his position as the leader of the Reform party and throwing his hat in the ring to become the MP for Clacton, a YouGov poll released on Wednesday showed that Nigel Farage catapulted his five-year-old party to within striking distance of toppling the Tories as the second-largest party in the country.

The survey, which was conducted on Monday and Tuesday — mostly done in the immediate aftermath of Farage’s return announcement — found that Labour continues to enjoy its wide lead at 40 per cent, followed by the Tories at 19 per cent and Reform UK trailing by just two points at 17 per cent.

Sky News reports that this represented a two-point bump for Farage’s party since just last week, suggesting that with four weeks left in the campaign, Reform has the chance of surpassing the Conservatives in terms of total votes in a general election — an outcome that would have seemed unthinkable just weeks ago.

The polling industry in Britain — like the United States — does not have the greatest track record of accurately understanding the mood of the public, and particularly the populist-minded public. Notably they totally failed to predict the Brexit referendum, and Britain has had several shock-result General elections in recent years.

Even so, the latest survey suggests that the country may be on course for a political realignment of a scale not seen in over a century and whatever the actual results may be, it is clear the sands are shifting. And this is no small matter: indeed, one of the big two parties in the UK’s two-party-system has not been relegated in over a century, when the Liberals were replaced by left-wing Labour.

Yet even then, the downfall of the Liberal Party, an amalgam of Whigs, Peelites, and reformist Radicals prominent for around six decades, would pale in comparison to the potential demise of the Conservative Party, which has been the dominant political party in Britain for most of the past two centuries, with its historic analogue The Tories stretching back even further.

Such has been the stranglehold the Tories — as they are still colloquially known — have held over British politics that they have been described as the most successful political party — in terms of retaining power — in the history of democratic politics worldwide , having led the UK for 65 non-consecutive years in the 20th century and having controlled Westminster for the past 14 years of this century.

Although the Party has proven itself resilient, having come back into power in 2010 after spending over a decade in the ‘political wilderness’ following Labour Party PM Tony Blair’s landslide victory in 1997, the scale of the defeat facing the current Conservative Party looks to dwarf Blair’s. Some estimates — conducted before Farage’s return — predicting that the Tories may only be left with as few as 66 MPs in the 650-seat House of Commons, a potentially catastrophic fall from grace after securing a landslide victory of its own in 2019 in which they won 365 seats.

Yet other factors still apply. In contrast to their defeat in 1997, the Conservatives are not facing a charismatic Labour leader as they did with Blair, with current leader Sir Keir Starmer being widely regarded as one of the more “boring” opposition figures in recent memory. Instead, the projected defeat of the Tories this year is seen as an act of self-immolation, having not only abandoned its core principles of low taxes — imposing the highest tax burden since the Second World War to pay off the debt accrued during their coronavirus lockdowns —  but also of having betrayed the public on the key promise of Brexit; reducing immigration.

Rather than fulfilling election pledges to cut migration to the “tens of thousands”, the Tories have allowed record-breaking waves of foreigners into the country since leaving the European Union, with net migration hitting an all-time high of 764,000 in 2022. Although initial estimates saw net migration decline slightly last year to 685,000 with the arrival of 1.2 million people, previous years have been significantly underestimated, meaning it is likely last year will be revealed to have also been a new record once final numbers are in.

For all the polling, and popular disappointment in the Tories, challenges remain for Farage and his Reform party. Perhaps the greatest single obstacle is the UK’s electoral system, first-past-the-post voting system, which has the benefit of being simple and easy to administer but means the number of votes cast very rarely maps to the number of seats won, particularly for new, insurgent, or small parties.

This makes very likely that even if in the era-defining upset of the Reform UK party getting more votes than the Conservatives nationally, it is extremely unlikely they could win as many individual parliamentary constituencies for Parliament. Still, even to fall behind Farage in vote share could signal the end of Tory dominance and push the country towards a 1993 Canada-style political realignment in which another Reform party overthrew the establishment ‘conservative’ party and eventually saw the rebel leader become Prime Minister.

Mr Farage, after having already cemented his place as one of the country’s most impactful post-World War political figures after delivering Brexit, said on Wednesday: “We’re just getting started.”

Follow Kurt Zindulka on X: or e-mail to: kzindulka@breitbart.com

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