J'accuse...! Nigel Farage, Cynical Rabble-Rouser
Before we go any further, I feel compelled to admit something - I'd actually quite like to go for a pint with you.
That's not to say we'd have a lot in common. Hell, we'd probably not agree on anything. Yet, I do think you'd make for entertaining company and some fierce discussion.
As much as it may pain my bleeding-heart Remoaner soul to say, there is something uncannily endearing about the caricatured, walking-talking meme you've become.
Maybe it's your cocksure public school bellow. Or your more-than-passing resemblance to Kermit the Frog. Please don't take that as a personal slight. In many ways, it's one of your saving graces.
It would be unjust not to express the smallest modicum of respect for you: you spent the best part of your adult life fighting an uphill battle: you’ve survived testicular cancer and a plane crash. Last year, you finally achieved your goal. So for that I respect your determination and single-minded tenacity. It's just a shame for the rest of us that the end was irreparably fucking up our country.
In your defence, there is a difference between you and most of your merry band of bigots over at UKIP. I don't believe you're actually as nasty and narrow-minded as them. But that's why you're most guilty.
You're guilty of cynically and manipulatively misleading people to fulfil your own selfish crusade. Like all populist rabble-rousers, you spotted discontent, honed in on it and eventually exploited it to serve your own ends.
Although it was rather discourteous of him, Will Self wasn't far wrong when he declared you and your stateside buddy Trump as "a pair of grubby little opportunists riding the coat-tails of history."
This leads onto the second charge against you, that of fuelling xenophobic hatred towards immigrants. We all saw that poster. We all also saw the anti-migrant, Nazi propaganda footage that it perfectly resembles.
the most damning charge of all is the sheer recklessness and irresponsibility of pushing us towards Brexit with absolutely no plan of what to do next
That you are not an abhorrent loony like Tommy Robinson makes it worse: you released that poster as an intentional effort to turn people against immigrants; to make people start blaming all their problems on the Polish hairdresser round the corner: to pass the buck onto the Romanians who just moved in next door and put up with piss-poor wages just to try and get a better life for their families.
You even told your supporters: 'Go out and persuade people, bully people, go down the pubs, the clubs, your family and get them to vote to take back our country." All from on top of a bright purple bus bearing the slogan: "We want our country back." Newsflash for you Nigel - your country hasn't gone anywhere. It's still right here.
Your fantasy is to be strolling through, say, Walmington-on-Sea, picking up a pound of Cumberland sausages and a pot of Bovril; spending lazy afternoons sipping yeasty bitter before you head out onto the village wicket to hit a half-decent 30 runs before going home to listen to the wireless. This is your fetishised fantasy Britain, a golden age of Britishness that never existed.
This sentimentality and playing on the entrenched bigotry of older generations will cost my generation. You knowingly betrayed the best interests of Britain's young people.
The EU isn't perfect. Most of us know that, but for the sake of free movement for work and travel, the enrichment of sharing cultures and increased unity on the continent, couldn't you have put up with slightly dimmer light bulbs and straighter bananas?
For this you have jeopardised and limited the opportunities of young people in this country. As a father I would have thought you to be more sensitive to that.
However, the most damning charge of all is the sheer recklessness and irresponsibility of pushing us towards Brexit with absolutely no plan of what to do next and the knowledge that you would have no ability to control the outcome. You've behaved like a captain who purposefully steered his ship towards an iceberg and then jumped off at the last minute.
I accuse you of having intentionally cultivated animosity towards immigrants in the UK.
I accuse you of being a cynical, rabble-rousing populist and having created deep societal division in the UK.
I accuse you of being entirely responsible for starting the ball rolling that is now plunging our country off a cliff and into crisis.
P.S. About that pint, let me know if you're up for it.
With apologies to Emile Zola. We also accuse:
- Dominic Cummings and Vote Leave.
- Theresa May and the Tory right.
About the author
Despite sharing the company of Rimbaud, Voltaire and co. for the third year in a row, Alec's real passion lies in writing. When the French degree permits it, he can be found scribbling away for a variety of publications, including The Spectator's Coffee House blog, Spiked-Online and - oh, how could he forget? - Disclaimer Mag!
A self-professed bon vivant, Alec is currently busy sunning himself in the South of France, whilst gleefully perusing the bountiful array of vin on offer. He's also been known to dabble in unscrupulous cheese-pairing.
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