Tuesday, 28 March 2017

The Fourth Age of Farage



Do you think that Nigel Farage is missing the limelight? Now if your answer to this question was a snort of derision followed by guffaws followed by 'of course he is,' then you are clearly wrong. The correct answer is: Nigel Farage is not missing the limelight since he retired because he has scarcely been out of it ever since he took leave of us. If he had been riding off into the sunset someone would have to ask serious questions about whether or not the Earth really is an oblate spheroid after all.

Farage was at it again over the weekend and just yesterday as the man who now has his old job made a speech setting out Ukip's demands for Brexit. Yes Ukip, the party with no MPs and which will soon, thanks to Brexit, have no MEPs either, is setting out its demands of the government's negotiation with the EU. These negotiations will commence some time in June or possibly a little later once they get around to them. The clock will be ticking by then and, after the long delay before Article 50, they will be in control. They are still of the opinion that our leaving can be stopped, not least because of all of the competing demands of various parties, which cannot possibly be reconciled.

But back to Ukip. Now I have largely ignored Ukip in recent months, since the referendum actually and since Farage made an arse of himself on referendum night by conceding defeat, then rescinding his concession, then claiming victory and then claiming credit for it. Truly this is a man who just had to be a good friend of Donald Trump.

But as of the morning of June 24th Ukip became a pointless party, even assuming that you ever saw much point to it anyway other than scaring the wits out of David Cameron and forcing him to concede the referendum he eventually lost, although nobody, least of all Farage, made Cameron make such a hash of his 'negotiation' or of his campaign to keep us in.

Then late last week Douglas Carswell quit the party, supposedly on the grounds that Ukip has achieved what it set out to do, but largely because they were about to chuck him out. Carswell, who should never have left the Tories as I argued at the time, never really got on with Farage because he disagreed with him and this is not allowed. He also failed to defer to him and this is not allowed. And he thought him a bumptious oaf. This is not allowed because if Ukip were to have rules against bumptious oafs it would not be a proper nationalist party (see the SNP) and would have no members and so would not, strictly speaking, be a party at all.

Fortunately Ukip is well on the way to not being a party on the grounds that Douglas Carswell outlined. What, really, is the point of a party that has achieved what it set out to do and so is having to reinvent itself, albeit not terribly successfully. It has as its leader Paul Nuttall, a man set up to fail and indeed who did so in Brexit supporting Stoke only recently. Thus Nigel Farage may well soon have to ride to the rescue yet again. You can see him secretly yearning for this to happen whilst of course denying any such intent in much the same way that he denied wanting a knighthood. He will be asked the question of course and will deny it using the standard and accepted form of words. I have no ambitions in that direction. But of course if the party or the country were to call on me to do my duty then I would have to consider it. Anyway, the pictures of me supping a pint and wearing that gormless smile I use on these occasions are developing a sepia tint. And Donald Trump hasn't offered me a job yet so I am at a loss for anything to do.

Ukip nearly died on the last occasion when Farage quit and actually stayed quit for a year or two and so it is only a matter of time before he is back. Or there is an alternative idea. He could start a new party only this time he should dream up a better name for it and one that is not so prone to making it pointless. Or he could always do what his friend Donald did and stage a hostile takeover of a venerable party already in existence. If entryism worked for Chauncey.......

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