The idea that Britain’s ambassador in Washington should be summarily sacked and replaced by Nigel “Thirsty” Farage might have looked like a good idea to some out there on the right, and the more impressionable among the tabloid press, but when the Mail makes to hedge its bets and leave the door open to turning downright hostile about the whole thing, you know that this is not going to be a runner.
Squeaky failure finger up the bum time
Promoting the affair to front page lead, the Dacre doggies tell their readers this morning of the “Extraordinary bid by Trump and UKIP chief to oust Brtiain’s ambassador to the US … FARAGE FARCE IN WASHINGTON”. The supporting article lays bare Farage’s dishonesty and duplicity - as well as the sheer amateurishness of it all.
“Mr Farage yesterday insisted he had been ‘astonished’ by Mr Trump’s intervention, adding: ‘It was like a bolt from the blue’ … But sources close to the Ukip leader say Mr Trump’s explosive tweet was pre-planned, with Mr Farage standing ready to answer his phone in the early hours when contacted by the BBC for comment”.
Well, well. As if we needed to guess - Mr Thirsty knew what was going on, and then pretended to be surprised when what he knew would happen did indeed happen. Exactly how that fits him for a diplomatic posting I will leave to others, especially as the Mail also notes “The key link man is understood to be is Steve Bannon, the publisher of the Right-wing Breitbart news website who is now the president-elect’s chief strategist”.
Anything coming out of Breitbart should be treated with immediate suspicion, if not contempt. Bannon, a white supremacist of no discernible principles, “has been close to Mr Farage for more than two years. The Ukip MEP’s ex-chief of staff and friend Raheem Kassam runs Breitbart in the UK”. Likewise anything to do with Raheem “Call me Ray” Kassam, another individual who cannot be trusted any further than he can be chucked.
The Mail also makes sure to tell readers “Downing Street insisted Britain would not be pushed around by Mr Trump. A spokesman for the Prime Minister said that ‘as a basic principle, we appoint our ambassadors’, adding that there is ‘no vacancy’ in Washington.
He said Mrs May regards Sir Kim, who spent years as Britain’s representative in Brussels, as ‘an excellent ambassador who is doing a fantastic job’”.
And while Farage carries on whining about “career politicians”, no-one should forget that he is, er, a career politician. It should also be remembered that, when Barack Obama suggested Britain should remain in the EU, Farage accused him of meddling in our internal affairs. Now that someone who is more to his liking - and who is white - meddles in our internal affairs, all that is forgotten and it’s fine and dandy.
The Mail’s equivocation suggests that the inmates of the Northcliffe House bunker sense this may well blow over. Add to that Donald Trump’s ability to change his mind on a whim, and you can see why. Theresa May should stand firm and tell Mr Thirsty to shove off.