While his successor Paul Nuttall, aka the “Bad Bootle Meff”, was trying to whip up hatred against followers of The Prophet on The Andy Marr Show (tm) this morning, pitching such pearlers as claiming Beth Din tribunals were fine, but Sharia ones were not, because there were fewer Jews than Muslims in the UK, former UKIP Oberscheissenführer Nigel “Thirsty” Farage was back in the news, and for all the wrong reasons.
Squeaky double jeopardy finger up the bum time
Farage has been inexplicably handed a regular show by broadcaster LBC, and there he has made a name for himself saying things that he may later come to regret, such as asserting that Swedish city Malmo was the “rape capital of Europe, if not the world”. But it was his attack at the end of last year on murdered MP Jo Cox’s widower Brendan where Mr Thirsty slipped up big time - and which has returned to bite him.
Farage claimed that Cox, who has dedicated himself to opposing extremism, would “know more about extremists” because he supported Hope Not Hate. This was, he concluded, because that group pursued “violent and undemocratic means”. That, as I pointed out at the time, would have been news to Hope Not Hate, as well as being a defamatory and malicious smear. It has now landed Farage with a libel action.
Look who's back in the news
Hope Not Hate asked Mr Thirsty to retract and apologise. It was ignored. So Hope Not Hate have crowdfunded a legal action, lodging a claim for between £50,000 and £100,000 in damages. The case certainly appears to be an open and shut one: unless Farage can back up his assertion, he’s in the shit. And all because he, like his soulmate Katie Hopkins, didn’t have the common sense to chill out and say sorry.
And if that were not enough trouble for him, Farage has also come back under the spotlight for his clandestine visit to the Ecuadorian embassy - presumably to see long-term resident Julian Assange of Wikileaks infamy. As The Observer has told today, the suspicion that Farage is the channel by which the Trump Gang and Assange communicate has been raised once more - after leave.EU became the subject of an expense probe.
Carole Cadwalladr muses “Robert Mercer, the billionaire hedge fund owner, bankrolled the Trump campaign and his company, Cambridge Analytica, the Observer has revealed, donated services to Leave.EU. If this issue forms part of the Electoral Commission investigation, this isn’t just a case of possibly breaking rules by overspending a few pounds. It goes to the heart of the integrity of our democratic system. Did Leave.EU seek to obtain foreign support for a British election? And, if so, does this constitute ‘foreign subversion?’” Arron Banks claimed Cambridge Analytica had been key.
OH WHAT A GIVEAWAY
Ms Cadwalladr also noted “A fundamental principle of British democracy and our electoral laws is that foreign citizens and foreign companies cannot buy influence in British elections via campaign donations”. The whole Dark Money episode is back for discussion - and, worse for Farage, Assange has risked the Streisand Effect by snapping abusively at Ms Cadwalladr, rather than engaging brain and keeping schtum.
Nigel Farage now has two potentially sticky problems to face. But if you don’t think before shooting off your mouth, and swim with the sharks, you can expect nothing less.