But I could stand one pint with him, quite possibly even a pint and a half. With Messrs Nicholas Clegg, Edward Miliband and David Cameron, however, I would cross continents to avoid taking even a fluid ounce. The other leaders – and I do think we must refer to them in the same breath as Farage, just because it annoys them so hilariously much – look about as convivial as haemorrhoids. They have spent the week of the local elections looking like pompous arses, while the affable semi-berk Farage has led Ukip to the biggest surge by a fourth party in England since the second world war.

I haven\’t got an earthly what it all means, but that feels rather appropriate: it appears there\’s never been a better time to trade on one\’s lack of expertise. The Farage story might be subtitled Cometh the amateur hour, cometh the man. And standing with his pint and a fag amid the wreckage of the economy, Farage is perfectly entitled to ask where exactly the experts have got us.

Of course, that such a man should emerge as a power player in British politics tells you something fairly horrifying about the state of British politics – but that\’s certainly a column for a political commentator less amateurish than myself. Farage may be small – but so, in comparison with their postwar predecessors, are the other party leaders. The difference is that Farage knows he is small, whereas the others do not wear their delusions of adequacy lightly.

24 thoughts on “Snigger”

  1. So Much for Subtlety

    Farage may be small – but so, in comparison with their postwar predecessors, are the other party leaders.

    Nice. However it is not really that Farage is small. It is that he is not “bright” in the conventional sense. He is not the sort of sophisticated Oxbridge metropolitan with intellectual pretensions. He knows one thing, but it is a good thing. He has the right gut instincts, at least as far as the Tory voters are concerned. He may not be able to express it well, but he knows what he does not like. At this moment, it seems to be enough.

    All Cameron knows is that decent chaps like him ought to be in charge. Apart from that, he is adrift.

    Never has the quality of European politics been so low. We ought to be praying for a military coup. A Junta of Colonels could not be worse.

  2. The electorate is catching on to the fact that the major political parties no longer work for us. Labour no longer seeks to represent the bulk of the working classes, it represents the narrow sectional interests of public sector employees and people who don’t feel like working for a living. Cameron’s Conservatives stand for a constituency that doesn’t exist, Guardian reading metropolitan trendies who might be tempted to vote Tory for some reason. The Liberal Democrats stand for illiberalism and subverting British democracy via the EU. All three of the old main parties are now dominated by career politicians with worryingly little real world experience and who hold the common British man or woman in contempt, be they Brown’s bigoted woman or Dave’s fruitcakes and racists. All three are determined to give the country more of what it doesn’t want – higher costs of living because of the climate change scam, more mass immigration, more EU.

    UKIP is different. In the long run they may or may not turn out the same way as the other parties, but for now at the very least the other parties deserve to be punished, and UKIP is an excellent tool for inflicting that punishment.

  3. “…but for now at the very least the other parties deserve to be punished, and UKIP is an excellent tool for inflicting that punishment.”

    Cameron! Milliband! Clegg!

    Oi, you, matey, you

  4. “theophrastus // May 4, 2013 at 12:08 pm

    Vote UKIP, get Labour.”

    No, a vote for UKIP will remove the BMP [British Marxist Party] as well.

  5. Vote UKIP, get Labour – initially.

    But then the Tories will realise where the went wrong and can’t fudge it with possible vague plans about future referendums. So they will come back all guns blazing next time. Labour will also realise the strength of feeling that led UKIP to get 25% of the vote in these local elections and want to capture it, so though they might not set out hard plans to pull out of the EU, they will probably hold back on plans on closer integration.

    All in all, a good sign for less EU integration. Probably not exit from EU as there are just sooooooooo many agreements, contracts, laws, etc that need to be reversed. At the very least, we can hope for less gold plating by the UK civil service of EU laws.

  6. The electoral arithmetic is clear: vote UKIP at the general election, and Millipede will be PM.

    And the Conservatives – for all their deficiencies – are better than Labour…eg free schools, welfare reform, public sector cuts…

    UKIP offers one good policy – withdrawal from the EU – with an financially incoherent ragbag of reactionary populism.

  7. theophrastus – you pays your money and takes your choice.

    For this former Conservative voter, choosing the slightly lesser of two evils just isn’t appealing any more. I’m no longer willing to hold my nose and vote for a party that will implement broadly the same agenda as Labour albeit with positive-but-minor tinkering to our wretched state schools and so on.

    If that means Miliband becomes PM for a while, so be it. We can’t go on with a fake conservative party turning the socialist ratchet slightly more slowly every other government or so, the sooner the fake tories are extirpated the better.

    David Cameron’s party has done nothing to earn my vote, in fact they have deliberately and with malice aforethought raised my cost of living while sneering that people like me who care about Britain are clowns and closet racists.

    Let them eat fruitcake.

  8. Steve>

    The problem is that short of a sea-change in politics, we’re stuck with centrists because that’s where the most swing votes are won, and it’s the swing-voters which win elections.

    The big problem is that Cameron’s actually not bad at all, as politicians go. He’s about as good as we can hope for with the current system. Without a major change in voting patterns, any alternatives are either no better, worse or unelectable.

  9. It’s not so much a problem of centrists. It’s a problem of effectively indistinguishable centrists.

  10. If that means Miliband becomes PM for a while, so be it. We can’t go on with a fake conservative party turning the socialist ratchet slightly more slowly every other government or so, the sooner the fake tories are extirpated the better.

    That’s what I was saying to deaf ears before the last election, but everyone else was like “we’ve got to get rid of the Labours”. I said repeatedly that Cameroon would be hardly different, and marginally less enthusiastic Progressivism was not worth voting for. But, you know, got to get rid of the Labours.

    I wanted a Labour win. Brown wallowing in the detritus of New Labour rule. What have we got? “Right wingers” haven’t fixed the economy. “Austerity” didn’t work. It’s all the fault of “free markets” and if Labour had won, etc etc. Total fucking disaster.

  11. Ian>

    That’s what centrist means, surely, at least in this context?

    I have to say, I completely disagree about the last election, as well. The policies may be much the same, but Cameron is miles better than Brown. I also think you’ll find that whilst the Graun readers may by the nonsense you mention, most people in this country aren’t that daft.

  12. Dave,

    Centrist just means somewhere near the centre. What I was getting at is that they’re all in precisely the same spot on that imaginary graph. There really isn’t any choice at all.

  13. Well, centrist is relevant. The context I was talking about, though, is the pursuit of voters. In that context you can call it what you like; the point remains that the main parties will end up almost indistinguishable because they’re chasing the same voters.

    In any case, we are, in this country, almost all in broad agreement about the way things should be done. We’re not happy with the implementation, and some of the details are a bit off, but in general things are about right. Why would we have a party which proposes major changes?

    All we need is a bit more integrity in our politicians and we’ll be doing OK.

  14. Having met David C, I can assure you he is very pleasant company, so on the key issue of who to have a pint with, I have to disagree with you there.

  15. Anyone who imagines that the Conservatives and Labour are indistinguishable must be politically deaf and blind.

    And many adult choices involve choosing the lesser of two evils.

    If the UK Indignation Party is your answer, you’ve asked the wrong question.

  16. When Blair got in, his government enacted the economic policies that Major would have done.

    When Cameron got in, he enacted the economic policies that Brown would have done.

    Where is the substantive difference between the 2 parties?

  17. Ian B – the Conservatives are implementing radical reforms of education, the NHS and welfare – all of which Labour would undo. The Conservatives are promising a referendum on EU membership, and Labour (which loves EU regulation) isn’t.

    Diogenes – if Labour gets in, they will borrow more…

  18. ‘Centrist- my arse.

    Put the late mad lefty Ted Kennedy up against the late Margaret Thatcher and she is to the left of him.

    Or, for a more recent example, Obama and Cameron.

  19. Isn’t the Conservative reform of welfare continuing the reform begun under Labour?

    It seems unlikely Labour would undo it, given that they began it, and they would have to pay for removing it.

    As for the Conservatives promising a vote on the EU, didn’t they all do that? And then, didn’t they all retract again when the Lisbon Treaty came up?

    So that leaves some changes to the NHS and schools. Is that it?

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