Monday, April 08, 2013

Nigel Farage - class act or just a barrel load of laughs?

From Brother Ivo:

The country-wide tour by Nigel Farage brought him to within a couple of hundred yards from Brother Ivo’s door last week, so it seemed rather churlish not to take advantage of the opportunity to hear a speaker who undoubtedly puts most professional politicians into the shade when it comes to charisma.

Political meetings have gone out of fashion since the hurly-burly days when hundreds would turn out to see the likes of Lloyd George, George Brown or Enoch Powell in a public meeting. In those pre-soundbite days, you had to be willing to take on hecklers and answer impromptu questions. Today, news reports of closed meetings for many a Cabinet or shadow minister are more often notable for a clique of supporters and Spads with printed banners 'doughnutting' around the speaker - as if the public actually cared what they had to say.

Nigel Farage has no such problem. His cheeky chappie schtick is polished, well-rehearsed and brilliantly delivered even when it is clear that this is the fifth time he has delivered it that day. If you have not caught the flavour of it, HERE is a good montage of what he offers on tour.

Brother Ivo was fortunate to have Simon Heffer as the warm-up act, so the evening was thoroughly enjoyable for all, including the ex-Conservative Mayor (whom Brother Ivo sat next to), and a group of Conservative Future members which he identified to me. They were young, had probably never seen a class act like this before, and plainly enjoyed the evening.

Having young people present was not the only unpredicted feature. There was a good smattering of people from ethnic minorities and some of them were identified as candidates in the imminent Council elections. The Twitter response may be full of accusations that UKIP is quasi-racist, but the meeting was less 'hideously white' and masculine than the LibDem Parliamentary Party. No group received more warm and fulsome praise from the speaker than the Ugandan Asians who have made such a success of their opportunities in this country.

Nuremberg it wasn’t. Mr Farage explained that he was consciously following Paddy Ashdown’s political strategy of encouraging countrywide candidacies for local elections to build a base upon which a parliamentary campaign strategy would be built. Interestingly, he claimed that substantial funding was in place. He made easy capital about the other parties spending a fortune to find out what the man-in-the-pub thinks, while he himself just goes into the pub and asks them.

He covered all the obvious talking points: sovereignty, EU unaccountability, immigration, grammar schools, political correctness, welfare reform - it seemed like a rather belated echo to Michael Howard’s ill-founded dog-whistle campaign 'Are you thinking what we’re thinking?' The big difference being, however, that while Michael Howard received the plain answer 'No', Mr Farage appears to be receiving an altogether more affirmative answer. Sometimes you just need better timing.

Brother Ivo distrusts crowd responses, and constantly cautioned himself that populism has a poor history of happy outcomes. And yet, as Mr Farage eviscerated the entire political class with the same directness and wit that he famously deployed against Herman Van Rompuy, it became clear that what was being presented was not the disordered ravings of a demagogue, but articulation of the honest concerns of many ordinary people. He is more Michael Foot or Tony Benn than Mussolini. There is passion and wit but little personal malice. Harold Macmillan once chided Oswald Mosley with the observation that when Englishmen march in the streets they do it in flannel trousers and tweed jackets, not black shirts. And that certainly captured the mood of the meeting.

The cheerful scorn of the three main parties and their leaders is dangerous to them, and they underestimate the appeal of the Farage tour at their peril. No matter how well-scripted Ed Miliband’s jokes about the Bullingdon Club may be, we all know that he himself is a privileged millionaire. The revelations about Chuka Umunna’s opinions of ordinary folk only confirm what even Labour voters suspect, and Mr Farage is not slow to point out that more Labour expense cheats have gone to prison than Tories. One continues to sit in the Lords.

Traditional Labour voters notice these things as much as disaffected Tories. Such scandals are low-hanging fruit for a politician of Mr Farage’s skill, and it may be no idle boast that his party can attract the disillusioned from across the political spectrum. Brother Ivo suspects that the scuttling sound of Labour re-positioning itself on welfare has as much to do with the fear of UKIP as any thought-through policy review.

So what did Brother Ivo see at his first foray into a political meeting in years? A David Owen (without the arrogance)? A Ross Perot? Nadine Dorris’s future party leader if Mr Cameron does not set aside pettiness? A rival to Boris? Britain’s premier 'throw-the-bums-out' candidate? Probably a little of all of these.

He certainly did not see a well-researched programme for government, or a Cabinet-of-all-the-talents in waiting. What he did see was perhaps not a king-maker for the next election, but almost certainly a king-breaker, and that can be the scariest creature on the political landscape for any of the party leaders, none of whom attracts as much affection or instinctive identification in the electorate as 'our Nige’.

They will certainly not want him alongside them in any leadership debates.

(Posted by Brother Ivo)


Blogger DeeDee99 said...

Nigel talks to ordinary people in their own language. He's one of us; he doesn't lecture or sneer at ordinary people; he takes any question and he answers it directly - however 'foolish' or repetitious it may be.

He also has principles - which are sadly lacking in LibLabCON - and he believes in what he is saying.
His rhetoric hasn't been crafted following a dozen focus groups and manipulation by Spin Doctors or SpAds.

He's wipe the floor with Cameron, Miliband and Clegg in any Debate. Which is why they will conspire to keep him out. But all that will do is reinforce the impression that LibLabCON are scared of Farage and have no answers to UKIP's simple message: that we should become an Independent, Sovereign and Self-Governing Nation again.

8 April 2013 at 08:57  
Blogger Preacher said...

Let's face it most of us are sick & tired of career politicians, who promise much & deliver nothing but their own adendas & broken promises. Or re-iterate the promises they made with a sometime/never future date to deliver, IF they are re-elected.

It seems the three main parties are as spooked as a pack of hyenas, when a Lion shows up at the party by the growing popularity & straight talking of Nigel Farage & UKIP.
Worth a try? well we've nothing to lose & if it fails we will be no worse of. Certainly the wasted vote card can no longer be played & it could herald a new accountability to the voters in British politics. sometimes the outsiders can be the best bet, 66/1 was a good return for the few who picked the winner of the National on Saturday!.

8 April 2013 at 10:01  
Blogger English Pensioner said...

Once politicians stood for parliament because they believed that they could do something for the country, and they stuck to their beliefs through thick and thin, regardless of whether their views were in favour or not.
Now most politicians stand for parliament because it is a good career, particularly if you play your cards carefully, follow the opinion polls and don't upset anyone.
Nigel Farrage belongs to the first group and is respected by many for that, even if they don't always agree with his views.
Cameron, on the other hand is respected by few as we have no idea what he believes in other than Cameron.
Yes, I'll support UKIP.

8 April 2013 at 11:41  
Blogger Man of Kent said...

Yes he could be a king breaker but is that a bad thing ?

I was impressed with the composition of his audience in Gravesend ,just as you were in the
West Country.
I,in my 80th year,was sitting beside a very impressive student about 20 from Essex.[ukip member]
There were a fair smattering of 'ethnics' ,many ex labour, didn't spot anyone who might be described as LibDem. A broad cross section,who loved what they heard.
I guess there were about 200 including those standing at the back.

The next day went to listen to Dan Hannan who made an excellent case for not splitting the Euro Sceptic vote.A very polished performance in front of an open meeting audience of 50 or so old and bold conservatives like me.

The problem is that in the Commons LibLabCon are all Euro federalists apart from some 100 Con sceptics and a few others on the Lab benches.So no appetite for a referendum other than the Cameron version.

As Nigel says there is not room for a cigarette paper between them.

8 April 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Angharad said...

I have a good deal of respect for Nigel Farrage even tough I don't always agree with all his views.

Most politicians today are chasing their own agenda, but Farrage is one of the few who speak for the people with sincerity, he does not patronise or blind us with 'political speak'. The main parties have shown us they cannot run this Country, so my next vote will be for UKIP.

8 April 2013 at 12:09  
Blogger Nick said...

I would rather listen to Nigel Farage than most other politicians. That's not just because of his political views but because he doesn't BS everybody and doesn't take BS from anybody (including BBC interviewers).

Whether you like his views or not, he BELIEVES in them. It seems unusual these days to find a politician who believes in anything other than the usual PC drivel and tripe we hear from most of them. As someone who has become terminally cynical about our political system, I find him somehow refreshing.

8 April 2013 at 12:14  
Blogger Julia Gasper said...

Cramner writes"populism has a poor history of happy outcomes."
That's democracy ousted then, is it?
Back to good old elitism, oligarchy and dictatorship.

8 April 2013 at 12:48  
Blogger Flossie said...

RIP Margaret Thatcher. She may not have got everything right, but I always felt she was on our side.

Nigel Farage is a worthy successor.

8 April 2013 at 13:25  
Blogger Brother Ivo said...

Sister Julia,

Brother Ivo rather had in mind certain European populists whose outcomes left millions of dead.

8 April 2013 at 13:29  
Blogger Manfarang said...

Yes Margaret Thatcher did get some things right.One of them was being on the Yes side in the 1975 EEC Referendum.
I saw Nigel Farage on TV misrepresenting that campaign which he was too young to vote for and clearly he did not then have a full understanding of what the vote involved.People knew what they were voting for at the time.

8 April 2013 at 13:56  
Blogger John Wrake said...

I did vote in the 1975 Referendum and like Lady Thatcher, I voted yes. Your claim that people knew what they were voting for at the time is ridiculous, since the 'vote yes' campaign and the then Prime Minister lied to the public about the implications. Her vote that time was, perhaps, the reason for her robust later opposition to European integration, as she recognised the deceit which had been practised on the electorate. She was not alone.

8 April 2013 at 15:30  
Blogger John Wrake said...

I did vote in the 1975 Referendum and like Lady Thatcher, I voted yes. Your claim that people knew what they were voting for at the time is ridiculous, since the 'vote yes' campaign and the then Prime Minister lied to the public about the implications. Her vote that time was, perhaps, the reason for her robust later opposition to European integration, as she recognised the deceit which had been practised on the electorate. She was not alone.

8 April 2013 at 15:30  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Nigel is a British buccaneer, a man of sincerity with oodles of common sense, as tough as old boots, but not uncaring,and having courage and vision. He gave up a well paid career for a cause he truly believes in, which is why the career politicians are afraid of him, as he is a man of principle, insight, with the common touch.

Few Christians seem to be aware that the entire basis of the EU, its constitution is based on the man worshipping atheistic philosophy that flows from the murderous French Revolution, with a strong dash of Marxism thrown in. Its thought patterns and laws are directly opposed to Christianity, so how can we, as Christians be free, living under its footprint. That is why its laws increasingly trip up Christians and those people trying to live lives of conscience, guided by Judaeo-Christian teachings.

Nigel and Ukip are not perfect, and certainly not Saints, just as Margaret Thatcher was no saint. However he and the now slowly maturing party, Ukip, represents our best hope of once again being a free and prosperous nation , I believe. That is why this individual Low Church Anglican Christian, who in "retirement" is a student Anglican Reader with one year to go before hopefully, graduating and being licensed, as well as recently becoming the Ukip candidate for the County Council elections, has been out there this morning, with other volunteers putting Ukip leaflets through Suffolk doors. I am doing this because, I am a Christian and a patriot, and wish to serve Christ first, and the public second, not because I seek any publicity or advantage for myself.

8 April 2013 at 15:46  
Blogger G. Tingey said...

You are total idiot.

Communism is a classic religion.
Like chritianity & islam it has its (untrue) holy books & schism & sects & heresy - & kills millions, attemting to fit humanity into a non-existent "ideal" mould ....

Now piss off.

8 April 2013 at 17:29  
Blogger IanCad said...

The Conservative leadership has much to answer for.
They will be directly responsible for the election of a Labour government.
UKIP, and Farage in particular, are getting an easy ride.
They are running on discontentment and fear and soon the tail will wag the dog.

Interesting that you should mention the Ugandan Asians.
My uncle is in an Edinburgh hospital suffering from terminal brain cancer.
He was instrumental in getting quite a few persecuted Asians out of the clutches of Idi Amin and was himself jailed by the brute.
He still gets Christmas cards from some of those whose lives he likely saved.

8 April 2013 at 17:57  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

We are going to hear a great deal more from Nigel Farage and UKIP come the Romanian / Bulgarian invasion. Of particular interest will be the conduct of the Roma. These people are hated in Eastern Europe and for good reason - they are a race of thieves. Can we expect all but the most crippled and aged to arrive here ? Who can say but we would be fools not to plan for that possibility. Hopefully, this mass migration of undesirables will be the final straw for the people of the UK. At least one hopes so that is the case before Turkey jumps aboard. Now, there are MILLIONS of those fellas…

Watch out for operation “Disparage Farage”. All three mainstream parties will be in on it. You can’t get a cigarette paper between them for nothing, you know…

8 April 2013 at 18:27  
Blogger Office of Inspector General said...

Gregory, definite marked decline in your Tourettes of late, what !

8 April 2013 at 18:29  
Blogger David Hussell said...

Inspector General.

Spot on ! Yes the final attempt from the three aging, failed "main" parties to shore up their sad, weak, and almost identical positions on that failing empire, the EU, could well be, as you suggest, a "disparage Farage" campaign, which will of course, run off his broad back like water off the proverbial duck's back. Indeed the three establishment parties my even be, as we blog, trading notes regarding suitable weapons for such futile purposes. Who knows? However the public are not stupid and will see it for what it is. Furthermore any attempt from the BBC to block Farage from participating in a leadership head to head debate will further expose the fear and weakness of those treacherous parties. Ultimately truth will out. " By their fruit ye shall know them ".

8 April 2013 at 19:04  
Blogger Mrs Proudie of Barchester said...

" By their fruit ye shall know them ".

Goodness! That's exactly what Archdeacon Grantly says with reference to Mr. Slope...

8 April 2013 at 23:03  
Blogger Manfarang said...

John Wrake
Didn't you read any of the NO campaign leaflets or listen to what Enoch Powell had to say on the subject?

9 April 2013 at 10:48  
Blogger Manfarang said...

David Hussell
I notice Nigel Farage is such a man of principle that he is quick to take his MEP salary from something he says he doesn't believe in.

9 April 2013 at 10:55  
Blogger David Hussell said...


That's an old, tired point that appeals to the "perfect" people of this world. I know that I am far from perfect, that's one of the reasons I'm a Christian, and a pragmatist, all at the same time. Burke was the expert. I'm just a follower.

Try, if you can, to be realistic. How else does he launch the rescue package ? Are you offering to bankroll him ? Farage is no saint. He does, of necessity, deal with the possible, not the impossible. He is a man of the realpolitik, not dreams. He uses the EU "parliament" to point to its absurdity. He uses the only stage truly available to him at present, as a temporary expediency. If you want to be pure, live in a monastery. If you want to try to help influence the world a bit, be prepared to roll up your sleeves and get your hands soiled, occasionally, for a greater good.
Your approach is the same weak one that points to Mrs Thatcher's less than perfect, "cutting a deal", with Pinochet, to save democracy in The Falklands. Or again, Churchill dealt with murderous Russian communists. Purity is for undergraduates. The mature and useful, in terms of getting good, moral, things achieved, do sometimes get down in the earth, and fight for what is right. Pragmatism is useful.I rest my case. Good luck with the purity.

9 April 2013 at 15:25  
Blogger Manfarang said...

David Hussell
Just go on making strategic and tactical errors I have no problem with that.

13 April 2013 at 12:47  

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