While the Russia connection threatens to blow up in the faces of the Trump gang, and a host of other politicians across Europe, one former party leader may have thought himself well out of it. But for Nigel “Thirsty” Farage, his following of the money is once again catching the attention of media outlets. And with UKIP falling from favour in the polls, very few of those outlets are going to be constrained in reporting on him.
Squeaky Kremlin finger up the bum time
Farage now has his weekday show on LBC, a regular and no doubt well-paid newspaper column, and of course regular pundit appearances on Fox News Channel (fair and balanced my arse). He has his MEP’s salary, not that he seems to stop by at the European Parliament very often, and will score a significantly-sized pension if he remains as an MEP until 2019. But his financial picture was not always so rosy.
As former UKIP Press Officer Jasna Banzak has claimed, Mr Thirsty was on his uppers when he became one of UKIP’s first MEPs in 1999. And despite success in the 2009 European Elections, the Kippers polled a miserable 3.1% in the following year’s General Election and for some reason Farage did not lead the party into that contest. It is also rumoured that UKIP had its candidates pay much of their own costs.
Then everything changed, and the name in the crucial frame was Julian Assange. UKIP was the only party explicitly campaigning against the use of the European Arrest Warrant (EAW) in Assange’s case. Yes, the Kippers opposed most things Europe related, but the EAW was one of those EU moves that even the Europhobic press grudgingly acknowledged as useful. Assange became UKIP’s cause célèbre.
Assange’s lawyer Mark Stephens met Farage’s fellow MEP Gerard Batten. Farage later spoke to Stephens. And then Farage happened to turn up at the Ecuadorian embassy, just after arriving back from Washington DC, where he had met members of the Trump gang. And Assange was only the start: what the likes of Steve Bannon and the Breitbart crowd wanted, so did Nige. Like Muslim bashing. Like gay bashing.
That last was despite UKIP having an MEP who was openly gay. Farage was now also hot on Christian issues. And along the way he had linked up with Arron Banks, whose Russian wife Ekaterina Paderina has been suspected of spying. Banks may have donated to UKIP. But the suspicion persists that the Russian connection managed to chip in too. Julian Assange is now regarded as a Russian asset.
This may be one of the reasons that Farage and his pals were kept well away from the mainstream Vote Leave campaign during the referendum. Now he’s dancing to the tune of the Alt-Right in claiming that Scary Muslims (tm) are behind everything in Europe and elsewhere that can be shoehorned into the box marked “terrorism”. The same tune Trump dances to. And Breitbart. And the common denominator appears to be Russia.
Nigel Farage has followed the money. This has benefited him significantly. The question now has to be whose money he has been following. Was it Russia, Nige? No pressure.