Nigel Farage gets too much air time (continued)

There is obviously a risk of giving Nigel Farage, leader of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), rather more column inches on this blog than he deserves in the wider scheme of British and European politics. However, it is important to talk about his appalling and gratuitous rudeness since this is often the reason he gets coverage.

Farage has no compunction about tearing into EU and European Parliament figures with no respect for either their or, indeed, Farage’s own, dignity. Jolly old Nige seems to believe it’s perfectly all right to be as offensive as he likes with no thought for either how he comes across to the outside world or whether what he is saying about his targets actually stands up to scrutiny.

The most extreme example of the Farage tendency happened in Wednesday 24 February 2010 when he notoriously told Herman Van Rompuy, the President of the European Council, who was actually sitting near Farage in the European Parliament chamber at the time, that he (Van Rompuy) had “all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk”. Farage then went on to dismiss Van Rompuy’s home state of Belgium as a “non-country” and criticised the President’s pay packet. Farage further claimed that no-one in Europe had ever heard of Van Rompuy.

This, of course, says more about Nigel Farage than Mr Van Rompuy, who happens to be a former Belgium Prime Minister. He is also a distinguished economist whose first appearance in the European Parliament impressed the vast majority of MEPs.  Please see the post on this blog for further information.

As the clip on Van Rompuy shows, Nigel is ignorant and offensive but never witty. Most of us will relate to a public speaker who performs with a lightness of touch while at the same time showing thoughtfulness. Farage is merely rude – quite a different matter.

Sadly the Farage approach in Europe appeals to the British media and achieves coverage in the UK, coverage which is often sympathetic to the UKIP leader. In a way this surprises me since Farage does not carry on the British parliamentary tradition of robust debate coupled with intellectual depth.

Farage, in fact, has no depth. He does, however, stand out from the European Parliament crowd. There are 27 EU member states all debating in the European Parliament chamber in their own mother tongue. This in itself does not make for the kind of strong discussion the British are used to. Moreover, most MEPs are from countries where the parliamentary system is far less confrontational than our own and do not therefore indulge in the kind of loud and noisy behaviour seen in the House of Commons.

The Van Rompuy story is not the only example of the Farage factor. Former leader of the Socialist and Democrat Group Martin Schulz had to put up with similar treatment on becoming President (Speaker) of the European Parliament. And there are more.

Yes, Nigel Farage does stand out in the European Parliament. He does not, however, do so in a dignified and intellectually rigorous way. Quite honestly, Nigel Farage is an embarrassment for the UK. He is most certainly not an asset. His rude and offensive antics are not by any stretch of the imagination worth the amount of air time he currently receives.

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6 Comments

Filed under Labour Party

6 responses to “Nigel Farage gets too much air time (continued)

  1. Sean O'Hare

    I fear you are obsessed with an unwarranted belief in your own importance and that of the European Parliament. You, the EP, van Rompuy or Barroso count for absolutely nothing as far as most people in the UK are concerned. The only thing the EP and its MEPs mean to me, and everyone I talk to, is that you are an unnecessary and costly burden on the taxpayer. Labour, LibDem and the majority of Conservative MEPs are a complete joke. You all spend your days voting on matters that are either utterly inconsequential or have already been decided by the Commission. In the latter case if you voted the wrong way you would be told to do what the Irish were told “Vote Again and get it right this time!”.

    When Nigel Farage, other UKIP members and occasionally a Conservative MEP tell the EP the truth about the EU they are met, by you and the rest of the dumb arses, by blank stares and howls of derision. Now that it what I call rude. The federalists are on a course to economic and democratic destruction and NF is simply trying to get this through to them. Without saying something slightly outrageous they pay him no attention whatsoever.

    As for NF getting too much air time. Have you actually looked at the statistics? Even the Green Party, who got a third of the votes that UKIP took in the last GE get more air time than UKIP – except on the RT channel perhaps.

  2. maryhoneyballmep

    Dear Mr O’Hare, I think you really ought to take a closer look at what the EU and the European Parliament does. You will find that the EU really does have an influence on your life and that of all the people you speak to who claim to know so little

  3. Case

    I am not embarrassed to have Mr Farage represent the UK. He may be brusque at times but I for one am glad he is there standing up for our sovereignty and out democratic rights.

  4. Cass A Nova.

    After reading your reply to Mr O`Hare Ive found the need to make a comment of my own,
    Do you really think that people dont do their homework on the pros & cons of the EU before commenting?,
    You are correct in your statement that the EU does have a profound influence on our lives, For instance the decimation of our fishing industry springs to mind, or how about the 80% of our laws we have had to adopt which has left our justice system with no teeth?, Perhaps the wonderful organised crime gangs from various member states which weve inherited due to the preposterous open boarders policy float your boat,
    Seeing the likes of Greece, Ireland, Italy & in fact most member states being deliberately decimated by the incompetent power crazy elitists in Brussels so they can wield more control quite frankly I find repulsive,
    The fact you are making petty inane comments regarding Nigel Farage tells me you are all for the British sovereignty being given away & are willing to chastise somebody for being patriotic & for putting the country first,
    Its time you face facts that as UKIP is a legitimate political party they have every right to relay their messages with the public in any way they so wish, For you to object to a level playing field is giving over a message that you are suffering from “sour grapes” syndrome or you are just not pro democracy,
    Perhaps you should do your own survey with your constituents regarding our EU membership & you might find that you are in fact the one thats out of touch with the populas.

  5. I think you will find even though Nigel Farange MEP can be alittle rude and direct in his comments most people find this refreshingly direct, compared to listening to the endless long winded self congratulation speeches by Barroso and many MEPs. People tire of the EU babble talk,and its patronizing tone to Europeans. More straight talking would do the EP and MEPs alot of good.

  6. Keating Willcox

    I have never heard a better speaker than Nigel, with the possible exception of J Gillard PM of Australia. I think everything that Nigel predicted has come true. His foes are the enemies of democracy and the foes of us all. I am from the states, and I wish only that Nigel find his identical twin and send him here to help us get back on track.

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