David Calling

Nigel Farage and the Future of Britain

Elections will be held in a couple of days for the European Parliament in Brussels. Nobody really gives a toss. Nobody knows or cares what goes on in that parliament. I did a straw poll asking people who is their representative in Brussels, and nobody knew. I have no idea who represents me.

And yet these elections matter, because an outsider is cracking the hardened mold of British politics.  His name is Nigel Farage.  He has founded, formed and now leads the United Kingdom Independence Party, UKIP for short.  Initially a pressure group for getting out of the European Union, UKIP has blossomed into a political party. Some polls show that it will obtain a higher vote than the conventional political parties. Farage has achieved this break-through by force of character. He speaks his mind about the loss of national independence, the perversion of democracy, the replacement of English law and custom with foreign law and custom, uncontrolled immigration, gay marriage, corruption, and the way the world is going generally. People haven’t heard anything like this before; they have had it forced upon them that only bigots think like this and if they are wise they will shut up and hide. And Farage has a sense of humor too.

UKIP flourishes because the personalities and politics of the Conservative and Labour parties have lost touch with the country. Confronting Farage, they have no idea what to do except bad-mouth him as a racist, nationalist, and crackpot among crackpots. The media follow suit. The press campaign against Farage is personal and poisonous. Such toadying up to the hack leaders of the main political parties goes to show that journalists are also out of touch with public opinion.

The likelihood is that UKIP will cause a sensation in the European election, and nothing will then happen.  The established parties have too tight a hold on power for Farage to break it.  Even if he fails, he will have dramatized today’s great issue: What sort of country does Britain want to be?

David Pryce-Jones — David Pryce-Jones is a British author and commentator and a senior editor of National Review.

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