In an age where politics move further and further towards a theatrical performance, pop culture personalities and actors coming to the forefront of modern political discourse should come as no surprise. In London, Laurence Fox has come to throw his hat in the ring as a candidate for the Mayorship. The Yorkshireman in 2020 founded his own political party called the ‘Reclaim Party’ whose ideology purports to be a form of populist libertarian conservatism.
Fox’s so far short political career has been fuelled by scandal and lawsuits. Starting when the electoral commission was unable to register the name “Reclaim”. Following this Fox announced that he would enter the London Mayoral elections to contest the incumbent Labour candidate Sadiq Khan stating that he wishes to fight against “fight against extreme political correctness“. It is still unclear what he exactly means by this. Nigel Farage has also encouraged Londoners to vote for Fox. This is also not a surprise considering the similarity of both of their politics.
One of the most notable positions taken by Fox is his opposition to measures to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic. Fox states that lockdown measures have been an intrusion on the personal freedoms of people. When Fox is discussing the freedoms that have been “taken away” from people he forgets to mention why they were put into place in the first place.
With well over 128,000 dead from COVID-19 so far, Fox at the time was occupied with trying to open pubs and ending the lockdown. Fox also said that he would like to adapt a “tough New York approach” on crime. Londoners know that the current approach of the Metropolitan Police is one that already goes beyond being tough and that an increase in police is not the solution to London’s crime problem. It again comes as no shock that Fox has plans to be “tough” with London’s criminals but has no plans or ambitions to feed its children or house its homeless.
So far from what Fox has been saying his “movement” appears to be a mix of hatred of the Black Lives Matter movement and social distancing precautions for the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s worth mentioning that Fox includes little in the way of economic policy or any other policy. It begs the question who is Fox’s target audience? Who are these policies for?
The answer seems to be simple. It’s himself. Fox’s political career has proved to be nothing more than a series of stunts to fuel his own ego and ambition with no concern of thought for the everyday lives of actual Londoners. In terms of economic, infrastructure and health policy there is nothing. Fox portrays himself to be a defender of a brand of sensible Liberalism, his career has been a defence of his own personal interests.
Given the current state of the opinion polls it currently seems unlikely that Fox’s reactionary politics will garner much support from the people of London. At the time of writing it appears that Fox only has support from 1% of Londoners.
Ben Ughetti, is a member of the YCL’s East of England branch