As last night’s ITV Leaders Debate got under way, one thought came to mind: had Nigel “Thirsty” Farage really stuck to his claim not to have gone near the falling-over water before 1800 hours? His performance, with its mix of strange facial expressions and occasionally bizarre rants, suggests that he may not have achieved this particular objective. The sweaty demeanour suggests likewise.
Sweaty and overtired finger up the bum time
The HuffPost captured one of Nige’s wobblies, observing “Nigel Farage Just Malfunctioned During The Leaders’ Debate”. Mr Thirsty also interrupted Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood, barking “The books aren’t balanced. We’ve got a £90bn deficit. What’s going on here? Let me get real. Please”. And, as Gary Gibbon of Channel 4 News pointed out, the UKIP leader had difficulty making sense on other issues.
“Nigel Farage lamented a Britain that is littered at the top of politics with the products of private schools. Keen-eyed observers of the profile of Nigel Farage we transmitted will recall he is a product of one of those himself” noted Gibbon. The head Kipper made a lot of noise, but was ultimately in one-trick pony mode: it was the foreigners. Nicola Sturgeon observed that there was nothing he wouldn’t blame on them.
But it was when he coupled his attack on foreigners (but not his German wife, of course, and definitely not his forebears, who were French, hence the, er, foreign-sounding surname) with claims about “Health Tourism” that his opponents expressed a mix of disbelief and disgust. As the Guardian reported, “He went on to claim that 60% of the 7,000 people diagnosed with HIV every year in the UK were born abroad”.
You heard that right. Mr Thirsty went on “you can come to Britain from anywhere in the world and get diagnosed with HIV and get the retroviral drugs that cost up to £25,000 per year per patient. I know there are some horrible things happening in many parts of the world, but what we need to is put the National Health Service there for British people and families who in many cases have paid into this system for decades”.
Gibbon conceded that this scaremongering would play well with the UKIP base, which, if that kind of thing impresses them, they certainly are. Leanne Wood told Mr Thirsty that he ought to be ashamed of himself. Mil The Younger Tweeted later that the comments were “disgusting … He should be ashamed. The fact he isn’t says so much”. Corporal Clegg Tweeted that it was “simply vile and desperate. Politics of the lowest form”.
Many people wouldn’t frame a debate about the NHS in that way, no matter how many sherbets they’d imbibed. So the question has to be asked, had the UKIP leader been frequenting a nearby Rub-A-Dub, and as a result, did he appear in that debate while Elephants Trunk and Mozart? Are we expected to believe that he always behaves like that? And if he does, is that a good selling point for his party?
Was he in an overtired state? As Private Eye might have put it, I think we should be told.
Farage, a "foreign" name? Only because he himself claims an exotic "Huguenot" ancestry.
What's amiss with plain English "Farridge" — which seems to have been good enough for his grandparents, and even his own pronunciation at school?
Even if it were "Farage", that too is good English. It was crude cattle fodder, a rough mixture of barley, oats and any other grain left over. Also known as bulling, dredge, muslin and (from the Latin) farrago.
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