Well this is a bit of a pickle, isn’t it?
The majority of the UK electorate (small majority, but majority nonetheless) have voted to leave the European Union, the pound is now the worst performing currency on the planet, we have a leader of the opposition who quite a few people picked, and a Prime Minister who nobody picked. A snowball of events which are largely underpinned by the rants and ravings of one man in particular – Nigel Farage.
Regardless of your political persuasion, there is one thing which pretty much all of us can agree about this ‘gentleman’ – term used loosely, very loosely indeed – and that is how impressive his meteoric catapult into the public eye has been. It seems like it was only the other day that we first encountered him as the bloke who was screaming ‘Who are you?’ to the other bloke in the European Parliament; yet somehow he is now sharing stages with the Republican candidate of the United States’ Presidential Election. As tempting as it is to go off-topic and moan about Trump for a little bit, I shall restrain myself. Lets just stick with one buffoon at a time. Plus, Trumpy deserves an ego-massaging blog post all to his self.
Back to Farage. In the weeks and months since the EU Referendum and his conveniently-timed annual resignation, I’ve spent a good amount of time thinking about the impact that this man has had in recent times. I mean, lets be honest, you’d be forgiven for thinking that he actually led the Brexit campaign – lucky for BoJo. But what’s more interesting to me is how this has happened; and however I look at it, I seem to come to the same conclusion – however unpopular it may be.
Ready for it? Here goes
The mainstream British media made Nigel Farage.
Lets rewind a few years, when the first we really heard of Farage and UKIP was when the likes of ‘Have I Got News For You’ were making jokes about him. Jokes. He was the perfect template of a beer swilling, fag smoking, pissed off, middle aged, middle class white bloke. Comedy gold. However, these jokes got him more and more air time. And the more air time he got, the worse the bullshit was that came out of his mouth – and the more air time he got… ad infinitum.
It certainly is true that some of his grievances did resonate with the British public – and not only the aforementioned pissed off white men, but quite a big range of the electorate. His was a personality the public recognised – unlike those of the more ‘typical’ MPs. But lets just sit back for a second. Now we have pockets of the country voting for Nigel Farage and UKIP based upon everything they have heard off the back of the British Media’s Number One Joke.
And this isn’t the first time this has happened. You may remember from a few years back the case of the equally publicised Nick Griffin – the former leader of the BNP, a party so vile that thankfully we the nation has repressed the knowledge that it even exists. But he had the same treatment too. The media commented on how ridiculous he looked in candid photos, and he really was the butt of every joke imaginable. Thankfully, however, he didn’t take his media platform by the balls and run with it and he is now lost to the vague and distant memories of the nation. Farage, however, has. And look where we are.
This isn’t to say that Brexit and the ensuing drama is all Farage’s fault. Not at all. But nobody could deny that he played a massive role in the referendum outcome. And now he’s disappeared quicker than a rat up a drainpipe – whispering ‘sweet nothings’ into the ear of Trumpy over the pond.
So the next time the satirical programmes and slightly-out-of-the-mainstream media presents us with another caricature on a golden platter to laugh at and poke with a stick, lets keep them precisely that. A joke. Not a bloody revolutionary.