Nigel Farage: I was never scared of being out on a limb

As discontent grows about Europe's financial and political crisis, could this be the Ukip leader's big moment?

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Ukip leader Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage signing books after speaking at a Ukip meeting in Windsor. Photograph: Antonio Zazueta Olmos/ Antonio Olmos

A recent psychological study suggested that survivors of shipwrecks and lightning strikes tend, after a short period of post-traumatic stress, to be possessed of an unusually positive outlook on life, with enhanced self-esteem and far lower levels of anxiety than they previously experienced. It is as if their cheating of fate has offered them a powerful surge of joie de vivre, even a slight sense of invincibility. Sitting in the back of Nigel Farage's Volvo, as we are driven from a long lunch in Tunbridge Wells to a town hall gathering in Windsor, at which the UK Independence party (Ukip) leader is due to speak, I'm struggling to dispute any of those findings.

Farage's election-afternoon aircraft crash in 2010, from which he memorably emerged doused in petrol, bleeding from a head wound but with his Ukip rosette intact, seems among the most plausible explanations for the apparently irrepressible optimism that has since fuelled his restless crisscrossing of the home counties and beyond, spreading his cheerful gospel of European doom. At one point, musing on this crusade, he talks of the thrill of "Billy Graham moments", in which suburban doubters are spontaneously converted to the cause; his zeal for all aspects of the mission overflows.

In the car, Farage's earlier enthusiasm for our pub lunch of local roast lamb, a couple of pints and a bottle of rioja – "I have to say I am enjoying this enormously," he announced several times as he tucked in – is now matched by the palpable pleasure he seems to take in the passing hedgerows, drenched in summer rain. As we crawl towards the M4 in Friday night traffic in a car driven by his aide-de-camp, Ray Finch, a Liverpudlian former Labour activist and prospective Ukip MP, Farage gestures delightedly toward the landscape. "Have you ever seen England looking quite so green?" he asks, with the kind of ardour that might move younger men to verse. Or: "Look at that! Everything is just growing almost before your eyes!"

Having read Farage's autobiography, Flying Free, you could begin to believe that the politician has received almost a dangerous dose of the psychologists' theoretical survival euphoria. He has, after all, walked away from not one act of God, but many; Farage is the insurance broker's worst nightmare made flesh. His crash was the latest in a series of near-misses that included a spell in intensive care aged 21 after being thrown in the air by a car, only to fall to earth on his head; a battle with cancer a few years later, to which he lost a testicle; not to mention the innumerable scrapes and reversals that have characterised his political career. By the time, in 2006, that he had to rescue the party he had helped to invent – after the ill-fated membership of Robert Kilroy-Silk – by taking emotionally to the conference stage to claim the leadership, he already looked a lot like the last man standing.

As a boy, Farage attended Dulwich College, south London, not far up the road from where we are driving, and he mentions how he was raised on the tales of Ernest Shackleton and PG Wodehouse, both alumni of the school. From the explorer, he seems to have gleaned a rare instinct for self-preservation; from the writer, a keen sense of the absurd, not least in relation to his own life.

You don't have to spend long in Farage's company to realise that he possesses that profoundly useful political weapon shared with Boris Johnson: he is unembarrassable. A discussion of the Leveson inquiry – Farage's phone was inevitably on the list of those apparently hacked – leads him to groan dramatically at some of the headlines that resulted from invasions of his privacy – "They are not good stories – but I was young!" he says, in mock defence. (He denies in particular, the claims made to the News of the World in 2006 by a 25-year-old Latvian woman named Liga who allegedly took him to her home, staggering drunk, from a pub in Biggin Hill where, she claims, they made love seven times after which Farage was "snoring like a horse".) Having long been accustomed to being the butt of other politicians' jokes, however, Farage is relishing what may yet become the last laugh. Unlikely as it sounds, the future, he has begun to believe, could well belong to him.

This spring and early summer, as the desperate news from Brussels and Strasbourg escalated, and bailout followed crisis summit followed austerity package, Ukip's poll ratings have proved as fecund as the inundated English countryside. Some soundings have placed Farage's party third in the UK, ahead of the Lib Dems, with a projected 13% of the national vote should an election be called. All have given Ukip at least a 6% rating, more than enough to make David Cameron's Conservatives, from whom they are taking most of their support, unelectable.

In discussing the implications of these figures, Farage, a former commodities trader, wears the look of a man who knows he has cornered the market for good news. The worse the political scenarios are painted in Europe, the stronger his party's stock grows. In a political circumstance in which all three main parties find ways to resist a promised referendum on Europe, which a majority of the population might arguably demand, his position can only strengthen. As he says, with no particular pleasure: "The current European story can go on a long time, barring a total disaster, because there is still such a will to prop up both the euro and the union. What will kill it in the end, in my view, will be the huge and growing differential between the French and German economies, those at the core of the project. In the end, that will fracture, but it could take years and years of agony for everyone else."

Farage is astute enough to know that in the meantime he has a chance to seize his political moment. He is, however, also acutely aware of the two main obstacles he faces in that ambition: a sense that his party is a single-issue pressure group (a fact he seeks to challenge by offering a range of policy ideas on everything from defence to education) and, more pressingly, the impression that it looks increasingly a one-man band (which other Ukip candidate can you name?).

This evening's event, he says, one of more than 1,000 such meetings he has addressed in his time in Ukip, is part of a campaign to overcome those issues. Last night, he had a sparky crowd of 200 in Eastleigh, near Portsmouth (potential by-election territory depending on the fate of Chris Huhne); Monday sees him in a social club in Dudley (where supporting British jobs for British workers will no doubt be a theme).

"It's like Bob Dylan's never-ending tour," I suggest, though arguably Dylan might balk at sharing a bill with ventriloquist Roger De Courcey at Aylesbury rugby club, the scene of one of Farage's livelier recent outings. "I had no idea it was going to be me and him," Farage recalls. "But he was amazing. He did a stand-up routine and only then did he produce the bear. The bear gave him licence to say anything. And he did so!"

Even without a stuffed dummy on his knee it would be fair to say that Farage himself is not shy of forthright observation. His conversation is punctuated by occasional broadsides against the media in general and the BBC in particular, which he perceives as institutionally Europhiliac. Social media, and especially YouTube, have proved far more reliable allies in his quest to spread his insurgent message. One aspect of the generally ludicrous rules of debate at the European Parliament is that speeches are restricted to exactly a minute or two of rhetoric, a timeframe perfect for viral video. Farage, who leads a Eurosceptic group of 35 MEPs in Strasbourg, has become a master of the two-minute tirade.

His interventions into the generally anodyne flow of Eurotalk take aim at everything the union stands for and are generally delivered with gusto to a comic backdrop of urbane and disbelieving faces. Farage's speeches have gained a strong following in countries across the continent where the emperor's clothes are looking particularly translucent. As Ray points out from the driver's seat: "No sooner has Nigel sat down after a speech than they are on to me in Slovakia or wherever about the translation." For a recent dismantling of Spain's President Rajoy ("the most incompetent leader in all of Europe – and that is saying something"), Farage claims more than 1m YouTube hits in Spain alone. Though my search puts the figure at closer to 250,000, few other MEPs could claim comparable impact.

Farage got into his rhetorical stride in 2004, when he greeted the new Commission by discrediting each of its unelected members in turn. This one a convicted embezzler, that one a former communist apparatchik. Traditionally, such British dissent has brought looks of weary resignation; of late however, as the edifice seems more rickety, and Farage angrily warms to his themes – of an Italian government having to borrow at 7% interest in order to bail out the Spanish government at 3% interest ("You couldn't make it up!") – a greater unease has crept in.

Farage explains the prevailing consensus among European politicians as an example of "the natural thing for human beings – to want to be popular with their peers. No one wants the whole class to hate them; it's just about our biggest fear in childhood and it's the same with politics".

What makes him different? "I was never scared particularly of being out on a limb," he says.

There is something seductive, too, about being a contrarian, particularly, you imagine, when you have grown up as stubbornly conventional as Farage – the son of a stockbroker who followed his father into the City. At one point, inevitably, we discuss his favourite characters from the golden age of sitcoms, a land from which he sometimes seems to have emerged fully formed; "Margo and Jerry [from The Good Life] really were so real, weren't they?" he suggests. "Dad's Army works for every generation. And I confess I am an 'Allo 'Allo! fan. Can't beat it really… "

Although Farage is not above making the odd politically incorrect reference to Poles and Greeks, he studiously stops short of being beastly to the Germans, not least, you imagine, because he is married to one, Kirsten Mehr, a former bond dealer. What, I wonder, does his second wife and mother to two of his four children make of his insistence on divorce from Europe? "Well," he says, "like most Germans she thought it was a good thing for example that East Germany was reintegrated and they looked at their pay packets each month and thought, 'We are not going to complain too much because these people have been through a rotten time.' But then just as you have finished that process you are being asked to make the same sacrifices for the people of Greece and Portugal, with whom, to be perfectly honest, you have not much in common at all."

It would be easy for Farage to make cheap capital from German expansionism, but he tends, to his credit, to resist arguments based on tribal fears. "The German political class are the dominant masters of Europe," he says, "and I don't think ordinary Germans want them to be. They have spent 65 years wanting to be liked again and all this is seen to be reversing that process. The Germans have come to this highly reluctantly. It was never a grand plan."

Farage's problem is that for all this nuanced analysis, many of his flag-waving supporters are less libertarian optimists than simple Little Englanders. They hear what they want to hear and sometimes he seems to encourage them to do so. In his book, he offers an unapologetic paean to Enoch Powell, one of his political heroes. Questioned about that passage, he suggests that "though Powell was clearly wrong on race, he was right on so many other things", a distinction he does not make anything like so directly in print. Farage is adamant in his assertion that the "multicultural experiment has failed" but equally so in his belief that "Ukip's potential with the black vote in this country is huge".

How so?

"In Brixton market they still believe in the Commonwealth, they think there is something of value in the relationship between Jamaica, or wherever, and the UK, and do you know what? I do too!"

If he dances this fine line between nationalism and something more extreme among supporters at home, the difficulties become even more complicated in Europe. "A big danger we face," he suggests, "is that Euroscepticism across the continent will now move sharply to the left and to the right. So you will have Eurosceptic parties that are also Islamophobic or antisemitic or totally anti-free markets and broadly communist."

He has to be extremely careful whom he chooses to befriend. "I am enormously friendly with the guy from Finland, Timo Soini [of the True Finns]. But elsewhere," he admits, "it is not so certain."

Has he had overtures to align with the Front National in France?

"It's a good example," he says. "We have never had any truck at all with the old man [Jean-Marie Le Pen]. We are libertarian, not authoritarian. But then Marine Le Pen comes along, who I think is very different…"

In what way?

"I don't think she brings any of that stuff with her. She is much more socially liberal. Her father damaged her election campaign enormously… but still, we have no allies in France…"

He has spoken to Marine Le Pen?

"Oh absolutely. I've sat down and talked to her to understand who she is. Of course I have. What pleases me, though, is that in the big magazine articles lately about the rise of the far right in Europe, they list all sorts of parties, but they don't list Ukip. Ten years ago, they tried to. I think that has been a bit of a success for us."

Is he still conscious of that extreme element in the party? "No," he says. "It isn't there. When we started out, we picked up all sorts of flotsam and jetsam. But then if we walked into Tunbridge Wells Conservative Club now and sat down, we would likely find views there far more unpalatable than anything you are likely to hear from our supporters…"

Farage was never a Conservative – "I am much more of a radical economic liberal" – though he was an admirer of Thatcherite policy, if not her "brutal" style. Of late, he has been struck by the emergence of unlikely fellow travellers; Tony Benn has always shared his distrust of the undemocratic fundamentals of the European project, but in recent TV debates Farage has been surprised to find himself apparently in league with the likes of Bob Crow (the rail union leader) and Ken Livingstone. On the issue of Europe, he believes he can attract supporters from across the spectrum, but the thrust of his wider policy – pro-grammar schools, pro-hunting, anti-defence cuts and also anti-war – seems tailor-made for disaffected Tories.

He is sentimental, above all, for the steadfast, mythologised Britain of Keep Calm and Carry On. For several years, he took a group of friends – "Farage's Foragers" – on bibulous holiday expeditions to the battlefields of France and Belgium. He is already planning a 100th anniversary trip to commemorate the retreat from Mons back to the Marne.

Will they do it on foot?

"No," he says. "The plan is to drive between nice little country chateaux."

Farage resists too much deep introspection, but reading between the lines of his memoir you would guess a lot of this military yearning is rooted in a tense relationship with his father, a drinker and president of the local Territorial Army, who left the family home when Farage was five.

Was he ever tempted to join the TA himself?

"Of course I was tempted," he says. "But I had started in the city, the hours were extremely long, at the time I was still playing quite competitive golf and you just can't do it all…"

Damaged vertebrae from the crash have put paid to his golf, so his recreation these days centres on sea fishing. The last couple of Sundays, he has gone out late in the evening to favourite beaches between Rye and Dungeness.

What does he think about?

"No thoughts, total and utter fanaticism about catching that fish, and 40 years of doing it." He applies that kind of mindset, he suggests, to his campaign for a referendum. Can he imagine 20 more years of it?

"No. But I would think in the next four to five years we will either win the big question as far as we are concerned, or we will succeed in realigning a segment of the British political scene."

An alliance with sceptical Conservatives?

Nigel Farage speaks frankly to the European Parliament about the appointment of Herman van Rompuy, first full-time president of the European Council.

"It's not completely impossible there will be some SDP-type moment, a coming together of different people over this one issue. Eventually, this question will have to be resolved."

Somewhere between Chertsey and Runnymede, he gestures outside again. "The wildflowers this year are just astonishing aren't they? The poppies! Whole fields of crimson! Some of these seeds can stay dormant for 50 years and then they get rain like this and up they come!"

In Windsor, at a hotel opposite the castle, Farage is greeted by an audience of perhaps 150, a surprising number of whom are in their 20s and 30s. At the back of the hall, they are doing a brisk trade in Herman Van Rompuy tea towels in homage to Farage's infamous YouTube denunciation of the president of Europe as a "man with the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk … and the question we all want to ask is: who are you?" ("Google him and you get me!" Farage says with a snort. "I've ruined his life!")

The role of Roger De Courcey this evening is taken by a dapper young Ukip councillor, Tom Bursnall, who recently caused a stir in Windsor by "crossing the floor" from the local Tories. Bursnall knows his audience and gets them in the mood with a few quips about the European Court of Human Rights and a proposed quota of traveller sites that Brussels wants to impose.

Before you can say Dale Farm, Farage is then into his stride with a speech that mixes comedy with righteous anger and hits all the local hot buttons: wind farms (a nonsense), restrictions on trade (an outrage), cuts in defence (unpatriotic) and dwells on some of the more egregious hypocrisies not only of "Rumpy Pumpy" Van Rompuy and his pals, but also those of David Cameron and his Notting Hill cronies.

Farage, in his element, plays his audience like the angler on the Dungeness beach and eventually reels them in with an unashamed appeal to finest hours and the bonds of Commonwealth. His first question, as if on cue, comes from the secretary of the local Conservative party who, while acknowledging that Farage has just iterated everything in which most Tories believe, wonders why he cannot make his points within the party rather than without. This allows Farage to extemporise on tribalism and the new politics of dissent, to present himself in his favourite role as the rebel in a blazer, before having to bat away further questions about travellers and Dale Farm.

He ends the evening surrounded by his people, signing tea towels, grinning from ear to ear and discussing the coming European meltdown with all the passion of an evangelical preacher. Farage is not naive enough to imagine that he should be preparing for government any time soon, but he has survived enough crash landings to know that out of catastrophe comes opportunity.

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  • Strummered

    21 July 2012 10:21PM

    I really hope that Nige does his bit to fuck over the Tory party by stealing many of their votes - He'll be doing the country a favour.

  • chry5anth

    21 July 2012 10:22PM

    This is hilarious: the one party - a party of backward, right-wing xenophobes and homophobes - the one party which can seriously steal part of the Tory vote, thus causing the Tories to have even fewer votes and less power at the next election (coalition with UKIP is an impossibility), and the Guardian chooses to promote its leader.

    I think this is brilliant.

  • GW74

    21 July 2012 10:24PM

    i haven't read it and never will. let me guess - he's a twat?

  • madasballoons

    21 July 2012 10:37PM

    The dumb right wing party led by a dummy.
    Still, as long as he upsets the tories, that's ok.

  • skipperD

    21 July 2012 10:45PM

    question you should have asked him - does he pay UK tax?

  • wiganandproud

    21 July 2012 10:46PM

    The link on the home page asks whether Farage could help make his party the third largest in the UK. I think the question should rather be whether Nick Clegg could help make his party the fourth largest.

  • Lonelysven

    21 July 2012 10:52PM

    Curious Farage wants to increase defence spending despite Europe having its most peaceful demilitarised periods in its history. I suspect if ever gains power he will build a fleet of Dreadnoughts to give Johnny Foreigner on the continent a good thrashing.

  • CatholicMotherOf8

    21 July 2012 10:54PM

    Thank God for the UKIP. If it weren't for parties like it and Nigel Farage, we would easily forget just how important the EU has been in keeping far-right and far-left xenophobia in check by promoting cooperation among European states. It was people with ideas little different to those of the UKIP that dragged Europe into WWI and WWII. In short, the EU for all its boringness makes us appreciate just what fanatis these people are.

  • DwightVandryver

    21 July 2012 11:04PM

    Excellent article and Farage is a great guy leading a visionary party. For how long must we put up with the lacklustre Labour, Tory and LibDem parties? They've had their day and have delivered nothing. The time is right for UKIP to have a positive influence.

  • Beanfield85

    21 July 2012 11:05PM

    I find it very amusing that Farage has made a living out of condemning "the EU gravy train" while sitting in the first class buffet carriage drinking pint after pint of delicious EU gravy.

  • MATTANTI

    21 July 2012 11:05PM

    Knew it wouldn't take long for the hard left dimwits and their xenophobia bs to appear.

  • vastariner

    21 July 2012 11:08PM

    He will never be forgiven by the elites for being right on the euro.

  • Threlly

    21 July 2012 11:08PM

    Nigel Farage.
    Fruitbat hat-stand.

  • NorthMiner

    21 July 2012 11:10PM

    A revolting reactionary, the like of which has been largely condemned to the dustbin of history. He can grub around for votes on the fringes of politics for the rest of his worthless life for all I care, and all the nation cares; he'll never amount to anything more than an attention seeking throwback to the last century.

  • Plumtart

    21 July 2012 11:11PM

    I find it very amusing that Farage has made a living out of condemning "the EU gravy train" while sitting in the first class buffet carriage drinking pint after pint of delicious EU gravy

    No point sitting in the luggage van is there..............?

  • Tychy

    21 July 2012 11:16PM

    It's not that Farage is massively charismatic - it's more that everybody else in the political class is so hopeless...

  • jamboree23

    21 July 2012 11:18PM

    Lets be honest - the guardianistas won't like him since he and his ilk have been proved 100% right about the whole bloody shebang. I like him for this reason alone and look forward to helping propel them to being the UK's largest return to the EU parliament in 2014. Which given how discredited the three main parties are, and how kafkaesque (yes, an anti-european who knows such words!) the whole idiotic european project has become, I'd say is something of an inevitability.

  • jamboree23

    21 July 2012 11:28PM

    He receives a pay cheque from the EU - they don't pay any tax whatsoever. But it's really interesting to see how the left's new smear involves tax details. Despite their own darlings usually not deigning to involve themselves with such matters, Livingston, Carr etc

  • eublues

    21 July 2012 11:37PM

    The old ones are the best: the EU brings peace in Europe - actually it was NATO. Oh yes, and 3 million British jobs depend on the EU, when two-thirds of our trade with the rest of the EU is IMPORTS.

  • Hebblethwaite

    21 July 2012 11:41PM

    "Farage's speeches have gained a strong following in countries across the continent where the emperor's clothes are looking particularly translucent." Not so much translucent as non-existent, surely?

  • YourProductHere

    21 July 2012 11:41PM

    CatholicMotherOf8
    21 July 2012 10:54PM

    Thank God for the UKIP. If it weren't for parties like it and Nigel Farage, we would easily forget just how important the EU has been in keeping far-right and far-left xenophobia in check by promoting cooperation among European states. It was people with ideas little different to those of the UKIP that dragged Europe into WWI and WWII. In short, the EU for all its boringness makes us appreciate just what fanatis these people are.

    I think if you can confuse the reasons for WW1 & WW2, or suggest that UKIP bear much relationto either, you are probably too confused to comment on much. Theres no point in blaming the messenger simply because your European dream cannot work.

  • IggyCash

    21 July 2012 11:42PM

    UKIP are going to do well in the next European Parliament elections but they will continue to perform poorly in General Elections as the first-past-the-post system hurts them.
    However. a decent UKIP performance in the General Election will take votes from the Tories and that can't be a bad thing.

  • octopus8

    21 July 2012 11:43PM

    It's not that I like Europe - it's more that I loath Ukip.

  • YourProductHere

    21 July 2012 11:43PM

    eublues
    21 July 2012 11:37PM

    The old ones are the best: the EU brings peace in Europe - actually it was NATO. Oh yes, and 3 million British jobs depend on the EU, when two-thirds of our trade with the rest of the EU is IMPORTS.

    Well NATO was a symptom of the actual reason, a massive extistential threat to the East. But your central point is taken, the EEC/EC/EU was and is utterly irrelevant to keeping the peace

  • TedStewart

    21 July 2012 11:45PM

    I was never scared of being out on a limb

    That was just as well then!

  • MickGJ

    21 July 2012 11:46PM

    i haven't read it and never will. let me guess - he's a twat?

    Believe me, I have your best interests at heart when I advise you against starting a round of the "guess who's a twat" game.

  • YourProductHere

    21 July 2012 11:48PM

    chry5anth
    21 July 2012 10:22PM

    This is hilarious: the one party - a party of backward, right-wing xenophobes and homophobes - the one party which can seriously steal part of the Tory vote, thus causing the Tories to have even fewer votes and less power at the next election (coalition with UKIP is an impossibility), and the Guardian chooses to promote its leader.

    I think this is brilliant.

    I suppose it depends how much longer you think a democracy which is stitched up between three parties, all of whom are viewed as the 'least worst' by most of their voters, and in which turnouts are steadily declining, can continue to function.

  • justabouthopeful

    21 July 2012 11:54PM

    The EU is great, in fact the greatest political achievement in history. The right to travel, live, work, study in any of 25 countries gives us citizens of these countries greater freedom than any people on earth have ever had. Cooperation and common purpose are essential for the future. I believe I have far more in common with the vast majority of poles or greeks or french than I do with Farage, or those others who seek to drive us back behind arbitrary borders with their petty nationalism.

  • JongeMatador

    22 July 2012 12:03AM

    "And I confess I am an 'Allo 'Allo! fan. Can't beat it really..."

    Christ on a bike, anyone who votes for him after he said that deserves ten years locked in a Gulag with Piers Morgan.

  • NegativeStateRelief

    22 July 2012 12:11AM

    Thank God for the UKIP. If it weren't for parties like it and Nigel Farage, we would easily forget just how important the EU has been in keeping far-right and far-left xenophobia in check by promoting cooperation among European states. It was people with ideas little different to those of the UKIP that dragged Europe into WWI and WWII. In short, the EU for all its boringness makes us appreciate just what fanatis these people are.

    Does that mean the rest of the world are in danger of being invaded by the EU which they are not part of?

  • Valten78

    22 July 2012 12:14AM

    There is some real bullshit BTL here.

    I'm not a UKIP voter and there is very little in their manifesto I agree with, but I've seen nothing to indicate they are homophobic or xenophobic. One of their top members David Coburn is openly homosexual.

    If you intend to oppose UKIP you're going to have to do better than simply playing the bigot card. It just makes the left look like they have no real arguments.

  • chry5anth

    22 July 2012 12:14AM

    I suppose it depends how much longer you think a democracy which is stitched up between three parties, all of whom are viewed as the 'least worst' by most of their voters, and in which turnouts are steadily declining, can continue to function.

    Sorry, how does UKIP remedy that?

    The argument, UKIP's argument, that the EU represents a sovereignty or democracy deficit in the UK, I just don't buy. Our accession to the treaties has been by Parliament, by our elected legislature: nothing, NOTHING is stopping Parliament de-acceding, from ANY treaties, other than its reasoning that it would be better not to. Surrenderings of sovereignty are themselves sovereign and fully reversible.

  • padantnic

    22 July 2012 12:21AM

    Whatever you may think of Farage he does know how to steal the Tory vote; and with Cameron at the helm this task has been made so much easier for him. The fiasco of HS2 (High-Speed Rail 2) is a typical example; Cameron's tactic was to win more votes in the north of England then he would lose in the traditional Tory heartland of the shires. This has backfired as the majority of the north neither want HS2 or want to pay for it; and the UK has seen past the nimby argument to see the reality of the 'Great Train Robbery' taxpayer's ripped off yet again-this time to the tune of £38billion!

    Meanwhile core heartland conservatives have pledged never again to vote for the party and many Tory associations has refused to donate funds. To alienate the very people that voted for your party for generations is foolhardy; to do so when another hungry new party is capable of seducing your electorate is plain political suicide.

    HS2 will destroy the Tory party for generations unless Cameron does not only do a u-turn, but also incinerates HS2 beyond the point of future resurrection. I have never voted Tory in my life, nor will I but I do genuinely feel sorry for those that have, The sense of betrayal must be unbearable and their pain is so very evident.

    If Cameron does not wake up to this reality UKIP could become a real threat to the conservatives rather than an irreverent sideshow.

  • chry5anth

    22 July 2012 12:24AM

    There is some real bullshit BTL here.

    I'm not a UKIP voter and there is very little in their manifesto I agree with, but I've seen nothing to indicate they are homophobic or xenophobic. One of their top members David Coburn is openly homosexual.

    If you intend to oppose UKIP you're going to have to do better than simply playing the bigot card. It just makes the left look like they have no real arguments.

    Firstly I have no intention of opposing UKIP. I think we should celebrate UKIP because they're a threat to the size of the Tory vote.

    As regards your positing homophobia and xenophobia are puerile or inaccurate reasons to oppose UKIP, I would completely agree it would be a poor argument on my part - even were it true of UKIP - which let us agree, is totally uncertain.

    What I get a sense of, is their supporter base is made up of Tories disgusted with the Conservative party's appearing to have moved to the left: go onto the Telegraph fora and you'll see what I mean. Every issue becomes for them a frothing conflation of anti-Islam, anti-gay, anti-black, anti-'socialist', anti-human-rights, anti-immigration urgency.

    These voters are deeply backward and UKIP's platform represents an appeal to that sentiment, whether or not it is an explicit appeal. Consider: their one ostensible policy rationale - that the EU is anti-democratic, does not hold up. Our accession to the EU treaties was sovereign, any resulting surrenderings of sovereignty were sovereign, and nothing prevents Parliament de-acceding in a trice, other than that Parliament believes it better not to.

    But yes I agree, many on the left, and right alike, appear to have little depth of argument. Mine was a simple point: support UKIP, help weaken the Tories.

  • heedtracker

    22 July 2012 12:27AM

    Farage was never a Conservative – "I am much more of a radical economic liberal" – though he was an admirer of Thatcherite policy, if not her "brutal" style.

    Roll on Independence Scotland!

  • 000a000

    22 July 2012 12:30AM

    The man who will decide the next election with his decision to back The Tories after Cameron's EU referendum pledge (I suspect he won't).

    Either way, both Cameron and Miliband will offer an EU referendum, and the UK will vote to exit.

    Whether you are from the left or the right, we will all owe Farage a debt of gratitude for extracting us from the EU nightmare.

  • starwalker

    22 July 2012 12:41AM

    For the first time ever, I intend to vote UKIP. Farage and his party, seem to be the only ones who are saying as it is. Truth is a rare commodity in politics.
    His youtube clips are nothing short of political warrior-ship....seems to have a sense of humour too.

    I think he will not only steal voted from the Tories, but also from the disaffected Liberals and Labour voters as well.

  • 000a000

    22 July 2012 12:45AM

    how important the EU has been in keeping far-right and far-left xenophobia in check by promoting cooperation among European states.

    Farage, who is married to a German and who is prepared to speak up against the appalling overruling of democracy in Greece.

    He is more European and less xenophobic than those who praise the EU without thought for the fact that Europe consists of different countries working together, not people who can be crushed and moulded into the model the EU wants.

  • Papercastle

    22 July 2012 12:48AM

    That's quite an impressive lunch (roast meat, beer, wine). Certainly sets you up for an enjoyable afternoon. I don't think many workers - British or European - have lunches like that nowadays. More's the pity. It's a sandwich and a soft drink consumed quickly, while still working, for most of us. I'd vote for UKIP if they brought in 2 - 3 hour lunches, with quality food and wine ..... well, no, I wouldn't; but I would like a system of work where people can start at 9am, stop at 12, enjoy a lovely lunch, start again at 2. Would the country grind to a halt? Would there be less jam jars / widgets? I don't think so. But there would be a much happier population. More productivity. Less crime. No, I don't have the stats to back that up - let's give it a try for 6 months and see what the evidence is.

  • MikeBarnes

    22 July 2012 12:50AM

    About time somebody came along to try and split the ring wing vote in this country. The Tory party have had a free run at millions of people for too long. People make fun of 'monkeys in red rosettes' winning seats up north, well it's exactly the same in the shires, any chinless twat in can win a seat as a Tory.

    Keep up the good work Sir Nigel Farage, split the right in half! 2010, never again. Lets keep them out of power for a generation.

  • Lonelysven

    22 July 2012 12:55AM

    Yes if you believe hundreds of years of war in Europe was caused by bad guys, that the relevance of the EU is not apparent.
    If you believe war manifests itself through nation state economic rivalry than you are more likely to favour the institutionalised world of the EU than 18-20th century systems of balance of power politics, the UKIP favour, which led Europe to the destruction again and again.

  • devandy

    22 July 2012 1:01AM

    He can buy all the fucking light aircraft his per diem allows him. Tit.

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