He rails against the elites. He denounces the establishment. He goes to the lavatory … on Tuesday he does Buck House, and has buttered scones for tea … but, as Clive James might have said, I digress. The image being relentlessly pushed by the Brexit Party of its leader Nigel “Thirsty” Farage is that he is a man of the people, in tune with all those ordinary folk that the other political parties have allegedly ignored.
Squeaky you've been rumbled finger up the bum time
But, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, there was only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. Nigel Farage comes from a privileged background, he’s a former City trader and insider, and he’s elite through and through. All that this week’s events have done is to show that to the world - well, those who are watching.
That Mr Thirsty was not the mere proletarian he likes his fans to imagine was already well known, thanks to people like Lily Allen, who snapped Nige at a garden party hosted by Evening Standard owner Evgeny Lebedev. The Great Man, resplendent in comedy striped jacket and ridiculous Union Flag shoes, was pictured chatting to Lebedev … and Rupert Murdoch, another member of the establishment who pretends otherwise.
Also “breaking bread”, as Ms Allen put it, was Liam Fox, disgraced Tory politician of no known principle. No man of the people, no outsider, and it was the same this week. After Nige showed what a humourless soul he is after getting the milkshake treatment in Newcastle-on-Tyne on Monday lunchtime, news emerged of another elite event.
As BuzzFeed News has now told, Farage was at the Ritz Hotel last month - not quite your bargain B&B - and “privately sought money and help for his new Brexit Party from fringe right-wing figures including a millionaire Putin cheerleader and a self-proclaimed ‘influencer’ who has posted a string of anti-Islam remarks online”. There was more.
Nige's kind of venue
“Farage was among the guests at the event, which was described by the organisers as a ‘tea party’ and not a Brexit Party fundraiser. But in a five-minute speech, he asked the small group for ‘any help, any support, whether it’s verbal, whether it’s getting your friends involved, whether it’s giving us money, whatever it is, we need all the help we can get’”. It’s all £25 donations, is it? Electoral Commission, take note.
And then, just to put the lid on it, came news that Mr Thirsty was taking yesterday afternoon off - as he had a prior appointment. A Royal prior appointment, no less. As ITV political editor Robert Peston observed, “@Nigel_Farage has taken time off campaigning to attend HM the Queen’s garden party at Buckingham Palace. What PR people call ‘the optics’ interesting for him and the home team”. Now there’s a thing.
Of course, the diehard Faragistas will ignore such diversions. They don’t care. They have imbibed so much Kool-Aid that, whatever their hero does, it’s all right by them. But hopefully others will begin to realise that Nigel Farage isn’t a man of the people. He’s a humourless establishment grifter, a spiv, an unprincipled opportunist.
If he were to be given power - and responsibility - he’d shit himself and run away. Under the upmarket presentation and silly outfits, he’s no different to the rest of the far right.
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