Tuesday, 14 May 2019

Nigel Farage Reemerges as a Trump-like Force in British Politics

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Nigel Farage’s Sunday interview on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show summed up the political situation in the U.K. quite nicely. In the parlance of today’s internet, Farage “destroyed” the hapless Marr, batting away irrelevant question after question, while staying on point for his agenda — getting Great Britain out of the European Union and dismantling the broken British political system.

“Do you still believe that worrying about global warming is the stupidest thing in human history?” the overmatched Marr asked.

“I believe that if we decide, in this country, to tax ourselves to the hilt, to put hundreds of thousands of people out of work in manufacturing industries, given the fact that we produce less than 2% of global CO2, that isn’t terribly intelligent,” Farage said, before quickly turning the interview back on Marr.

“But as I say, here we are, with one of the biggest changes in politics that’s ever occurred, and you’re not even interested. What’s wrong with the BBC? What is wrong with the BBC?”

Marr attempted to turn the interview toward gun control. That too, was a disaster for him. Farage quickly cut off the interviewer, saying, “This sums it up. Do you know I’ve been going around the country speaking at packed rallies every night and do you know who’s not there? The BBC. And from this line of questioning I can see why. You’re just not interested, are you?”

It didn’t get better from there for Marr. To use sports metaphors, it was Ali versus Liston; it was the 1940 NFL championship game which ended Bears (Farage) 73, Redskins (Marr) 0.

It was like Donald Trump vs. CNN.

When Farage launched the new Brexit Party in mid-April in an effort to fight for seats in the upcoming European election, in which Great Britain was not supposed to partake, it seemed like much ado about nothing. If and when Brexit finally does occur, those British members of the European Parliament would be sent home to the U.K., after all. Why fight this election at all?

“What we’ve seen over the last two weeks is the willful betrayal of the greatest democratic exercise [Brexit] in the history of this nation,” Farage said at the time, adding, “We are lions led by donkeys.”

The latest poll from YouGov shows the brand new Brexit Party leading the way with 34 percent saying they’ll vote for the new party. That 34 percent easily beats the Tories (10 percent) and the Labour Party (16 percent) combined.

Farage for one, believes a Brexit Party victory in the European elections would have a positive effect on Brexit even if MEPs are never seated. Prime Minister Theresa May and the Parliament may have to reconsider the one Brexit option they’ve been dreading all along. A no-deal Brexit.

When asked what a Brexit Party victory in the EU elections would mean, Farage said, “This puts no-deal back on the table.”

Doomsayers from across the political spectrum have maligned the idea of a no-deal Brexit as “dangerous” and “terrifying.” The fearmongers have claimed that food and medicines wouldn’t be delivered and that shipping and travel between Great Britain and the EU would become chaotic in the hours after a no-deal Brexit took effect.

But in reality, both the U.K. and the EU are prepared for a no-deal scenario. The stickiest wicket for a no-deal scenario does not appear to be trade or travel, but the possibility of creating a hard border between Northern Ireland, which remains in Great Britain and the Republic of Ireland, an EU member. But neither section of Ireland wants a return to a hard border, and it seems implausible to think the EU would impose one on the two countries simply out of spite.

In March, parliament nixed the idea of a no-deal scenario, apparently buying into the notion that a no-deal Brexit would do irreparable harm to the British economy. But Farage believes a Brexit Party sweep could put the option back in play. “Parliament has taken it off the table. Our voters say, ‘Put it back on the table,’ and if we win, we will demand representation with the government at the next stage of negotiations,” Farage said.

The European elections on May 23 will be the true indicator of whether Farage is being heard by British citizens, not the polls. But in speaking to people in plain words, without obfuscation, Farage is being Trump-like, taking his case directly to the citizens of the U.K. and not allowing Theresa May, parliament, and, definitely not the media, to set the narrative.                           

One last bomb from Farage’s interview with the BBC: “This is absolutely ludicrous. I’ve never in my life seen a more ridiculous interview than this. You are not prepared to talk about what is going on in this country today. You’re in denial, the BBC’s in denial, the Tory and Labour parties are in denial. I think you’re all in for a bigger surprise on Thursday week (EU elections) than you can even imagine.”

Image of Nigel Farage (right): Screenshot of BBC's Andrew Marr Show

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