As if the image of Nigel “Thirsty” Farage and his fellow saloon bar propper-uppers at UKIP could not sink lower, it has now been revealed that, such has been their desperation to cling on to the European Parliament (EP) group status which opens the door to More And Bigger Paycheques For Themselves Personally Now, the Kippers have tried to do a deal with a joke party.
Squeaky alliance finger up the bum time
You think I jest? “Germany’s leading satirist, who represents a joke party in the EU Parliament, has said he was approached by the UK Independence Party (UKIP), desperate to form a fresh alliance hours after their anti-EU parliamentary group collapsed”. As I pointed out last week, UKIP’s group in the EP was reduced to six countries after a Latvian MEP walked out.
But, to get access to more speaking time, and, most importantly for UKIP, more money, you have to have MEPs from at least seven countries in your group. Mr Thirsty faced the awful possibility of having to cosy up to Marine le Pen and the French Front National, who make no bones about their casual bigotry and forthright excursions into anti-Semitism.
Someone at UKIP has figured out that one country that is not represented in their group is Germany, whose MEPs include one Martin Sonneborn, representing Die Partei, “who was elected to the EU Parliament in May’s elections standing on a satirical platform which included the rebuilding of the Berlin Wall”. But, as to whether the UKIP approach was genuine, “Sonneborn insisted he was not joking”.
There was more: “Farage’s question was serious ... Several people from his group called my office manager”. As to whether he could work with the Farage fringe, he replied, perhaps not totally seriously, “I also like to stand in front of pubs drinking beer, so there's another thing that unites us”. He also favoured the UK leaving the EU: “It doesn’t belong to the continent, just take a look at the map”.
Clearly Sonneborn is there at the EP, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, to take the piss, hence campaign slogans like “Hands off German willies: no to the EU penis-norm”. He told the Guardian “of his desire to win over Farage’s party for an ‘alliance of idiots and fools’”. His response to Farage was that he would take part “if they rename the fraction Sonneborn’s EFDD”.
Terms like “surreal” and “bizarre” do not quite do justice to this situation. It has not helped that an EFDD spokesman did not deny the approach, saying only that “We’re not making any rash promises but we [are hoping to reform the EFDD on] Monday or next week”. That suggests Mr Thirsty is so desperate for that extra cash that he is prepared to form an alliance with a comedian.
To those who said all along that Farage was the comedy turn: you were right.