Nigel Farage, Donald Trump’s Brexit darling, is keen to be seen as a man of the people. The triumphant Brexiteer, with the pint of beer and the broad grin, is seen everywhere from your local pub to the vulgar, gilded surroundings of Trump Tower, pretending to be ‘one of us’. Pretending to be decent.
The truth about the man is somewhat different.
A wealthy former city trader, Nigel Farage is currently the temporary leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP). Elected as a Member of the European Parliament with the sole aim of eradicating his own position, he has spent years making inappropriate comments laced with sexism and racism and failing to attend the European Parliament meetings he is paid handsomely for (only one MEP has a lower voting record than he does). When he has turned up, he has voted in favour of protecting tax avoiders and against consumer protection laws and support for female entrepreneurship.
Farage is in his third stint as UKIP leader as the party continues to fail to be able to nominate or retain anybody in the position. The media coverage he gets suggests he is a successful politician but the fact remains that he has stood for, and failed to gain, a Parliamentary seat in the UK seven times.
In his long-term campaign to get Britain out of the European Union, Farage has made many enemies, being criticised for ‘unparliamentary conduct’ in insulting the first President of the European Council, saying he had the “charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of low grade bank clerk”. While some praise him for his ‘plain speaking’, others see him as unpredictable and self-interested, willing to tolerate any unpleasant consequences in pursuit of his ultimate, anti-EU goals.
Farage and Brexit
Farage, naturally, was a firm ‘leave’ campaigner in the build-up to the vote on whether Britain should remain a member of the European Union. Within hours of his campaign’s win, he spoke on national television, admitting that one of his campaign’s promises (that money that had previously gone to the EU would now be invested into the NHS) was actually untrue. But, by then, it was too late. The vote had been won by the leave campaigners and much of Britain was left bereft.
Farage, key in campaigning for this change for many years throughout his career, instantly stepped down, failing to take any role or responsibility in assisting the country towards this change. Lighting the blue touch paper, he stepped away into brief oblivion.
He stated, “What I said during the referendum campaign is I want my country back. What I’m saying today is I want my life back. And it begins right now”
He kept his MEP role (and its associated cash).
Other than the Brexit win, the rest of Farage’s political career has been characterised by an attitude of relaxed complacency. He is self-interested and self-promotional, dismissing anybody who stands in his way.
His multiple attempts at becoming a British Member of Parliament have failed. And yet, he was the first British politician to meet up with the new president-elect of the United States after his successful election campaign. The grinning photograph in a garish gold surround says everything we need to know about the two politicians and their smarmy bromance. Privilege, and shared, outdated attitudes of prejudice, white supremacy and discrimination against multiple minority communities, are their keys to a successful international political relationship. What they discuss when bonding over a whisky or a glass of champagne does not bear thinking about.
Tipped for Ambassador to the United States of America
Farage is the man that Trump wants to become Britain’s Ambassador to the United States. Not only is it highly irregular for a President to suggest who a different country’s ambassador should be, Farage would not be a popular choice amongst even the right-wing British government. He is seen as a loose cannon, a bit of a disgrace, and certainly a potentially embarrassing risk.
Essentially a far-right pundit, Farage is worming his way into American politics the way he did here in the UK. US citizens should be aware of his history and his attitudes before tolerating his growing relationship with their president-elect. His campaigning in Britain has contributed to a decrease in the value of the pound and an increase in hate crimes, and the similar rise in hate crimes in the US is not a coincidence. Both are representative of far-right politicians making the expression of hateful views socially acceptable.
And now, as Farage reportedly plans to relocate to America, Americans should be scared. Now he has ‘taken back control’ from Europe, his ambition to become an economic migrant in the most powerful country in the Western world may be realised.
Photo: Gage Skidmore/Creative Commons