Hey everyone I don’t know if he was inspired by St George’s day but I do find it most peculiar that the walking publicity machine that is Nigel Farage chose the day before England’s national saints day to launch his party’s national campaign for the forthcoming European Elections with a poster campaign which opponents have described as racist.
Whatever you may think of Farage, his party or his politics there is no doubt this was a huge political gamble which supporters will claim to be a masterstroke and opponents such as myself and every other democrat in these islands will see as misinterpreting the mood of the nation.
One thing however cannot be denied which is that he has got or at least Middle England talking about him on the day on which more than any other that he wants it to. This or so he thinks allows him to play the patriotic card for Harry, England, and St George, and to hell with nasty Jonny foreigner and his greasy little friends.
It is this kind of attitude which it makes it difficult for me to identify with a United Kingdom which is not really united and which put exclusion of others at the heart of an insular, parochial land which has an alarming tendency to look to an imaginary mythical past rather than face the issues and challenges of the present and the future.
Farage is an interesting character who tries to paint his United Kingdom Independence Party as the voice of the silent majority. Personally I am always suspicious when people present themselves in this way especially when in reality they are more likely to be a poster boy for prejudice. You see it is my view that far from Farage identifying the problems in Britain in 2014 I believe that it is Farage and those who share his views which I quite frankly consider to be odious who are the problem in Britain at this time.
From of Scottish perspective Farage looks isolated and irrelevant. Many, if not most political commentators in Scotland think of nasty Nigel as a figure of fun only relevant in home counties of chocolate box Britain. This is the Britain you used to see in the time of my primary school years of the late 1960’s and early to early mid 1970’s depicted in magazines aimed at the middle classes. Nigel they say is a fringe politician with no support base in Scotland nor is he likely to gain one in this campaign. To those of this attitude I say four words be on your guard. As I said earlier in this post Farage is nothing if not a publicity machine and the fact he has been able to keep his party to the forefront of politics at least in England says a lot for his mastery of the dark art of exploitation of people’s fears. Be under no illusions, this is a man to whom Scotland cannot afford to give a foothold.
One of the reasons why we have been more successful in negating his influence is not because we have a glorious multi party system but because our political class most of which is on the centre left of the spectrum has been extra vigilant. There is however no room for complacency, Farage knows that he could have a fertile breeding ground amongst the less educated sections of the unionist community here and unlike England most of his potential supporters will not come from the Conservative shires but from the Labour supporting industrial heartlands of West/Central Scotland particularly a disenfranchised protestant working class in the shape of the loyal orange order.
This represents a far greater threat to Labour than it does to the SNP as the vast majority of orangemen are staunch unionists who have a seething hatred for SNP and come to think of it they aren’t too keen on the Liberal Democrats either. Well in there little world not only is Home rule Rome rule but Euro rule is also some kind of Catholic conspiracy. Well it stands to reason, only Britain is protestant except it isn’t it’s Anglican and only Britain is white. Having grown up a child of an inter-faith marriage I have known some of these people and they genuinely believe the world is out to get them. It is this type of Labour voter who for many decades now have been voting Labour as a tactic to stop the SNP and delay the likelihood of independence who are most at risk from the seductive appeal of the Farage factor.
Make no mistake this man speaks the language of this demographic. These people are extreme British nationalists who are the only Labour voters on earth who believe that Enoch Powell was one of the good guys and who when they heard Gordon Brown and Douglas Alexander described as Labour loyalists gloated that they were top boys for being loyal to the cause. By this it can be taken to mean that they believed both Brown and Alexander to share their views in supporting the aims of loyalist community in Ulster. Now whatever I may think of Brown and Alexander as politicians, which by the way
is not a lot I steadfastly refuse to tar either of them with the sectarian or racist brush. I do have to say though, Brown’s British jobs for British workers comment was a bit too close to the Farage lexicon for my liking.
So though Farage has been kept at bay in Scotland so far, we need to remember not to take this fact for granted. Having said that however I am confident that we can stop this poster boy for prejudice from driving us up the wall. Speaking personally I don’t want his exclusionist brand of xenophobic nationalism we are a nation of immigrants and have been since our earliest days. Mr Farage and his party may try to play the patriotic card but surely if the United Kingdom is to survive without or without Scotland and a yes voter I hope it will be the later then for the sake of what all the more traditional unionists refer to as the British values of understanding, free speech, and fair play, it is time to get rid of this joker once and for all.
Love And Best Wishes