Monday, 4 November 2019
It’s an election, so it is Farage-bashing season once again. Like others I have had my doubts about the former leader of Ukip, now boss of The Brexit Party but despite part-time pretenders to the title, he is undoubtedly, indisputably Mister Brexit. Without his tenacity and courage we would never have had the binary in/out referendum in 2016. And yes, courage; ask yourself if you could even come close to putting up with the inestimable amounts of sheer bile directed at him.
He has been the butt of the entire leftist canon of comedy for well over a decade. He has been portrayed as a Nazi, a bigot, an islamophobe, a con-man, a fraud and a philanderer among many more equally slanderous and unfounded charges. He has been spat at, egged, milkshaked and threatened with far, far worse. His rallies have been disrupted by violent troublemakers – the knuckle-dragging thugs of Momentum and Antifa and others all too ready to jump to their leftist masters’ commands. His personal integrity has been impugned at every turn and still the man is there, backing what he believes.
The political and media world has been far too ready to take at face value the charges against his motives. He has rich backers; he is a tool of the global elite; he is a vainglorious attention-seeker. The latter may be true, after all a recent study shows narcissism on the increase, but in the absence of any leader with half his following he has some vindication for a certain level of self-validation. But that only makes him exactly the same as the majority of those who have sought office and probably puts him a long way behind Boris Johnson if narcissism were a contest.
Now Nigel has done the apparently unthinkable and has announced that he will not contest a seat in this election. Very wise, I’d say, given the opprobrium that would be heaped upon him, but this isn’t enough to deflect the critical flak. Some are even calling him a coward, saying he wants to wreck Brexit, saying that a vote for his party is a vote for Corbyn. This is the dark work election strategists do – frame your opponent as anything but what he really is. If he says it’s red, concoct a reason why that is in some way a condemnation of his very soul, even if, when you actually look, it really is red.
Use whatever fits your own narrative; attack the man, not the ball. It seems that nobody who is against him has the intellectual capacity to entertain for even a second that he is sincere, dedicated and true to his mission. Damned if he does and damned if he doesn’t. If he stands he will be charged as pursuing personal ambition, not standing he is portrayed as running away. The big noise right now is that he is in some way acting against Brexit and some fantasists have suggested that this was the plan all along; that he has been bought off by shadowy forces.
Theories abound and dark conspiracies are being dreamed up and promulgated. The Russians, naturally have a hand in it, as do all the people accused of backing Farage over the years. Clandestine alliances have been formed, broken and reformed in a matter of hours. Every political pundit has an opinion and none of them are favourable. This election is about more than just Brexit, say the parties, but it isn’t. It isn’t at all.
Give the man some credit
It isn’t about the economy, nor the environment as Andrew Marr insisted yesterday. It isn’t about immigration, education or any of the things governments usually interfere in. This election is about one thing and one thing only and on this one issue, no matter what you think of the man himself, you have to, surely, give Farage credit for understanding the EU. If he wants to torpedo the PM’s withdrawal agreement, imagine for a second that he has good reason. And if you can’t bring yourself to see one honest thing in his actions; if you are so bound to your ideological programming, just ask yourself, would you trust Boris Johnson?