Friday, 5 January 2018

Choosing who represents us

There’s no obvious reason why the EU’s negotiator, Michel Barnier, should not have agreed to meet Nigel Farage.  After all, he’s met with other politicians from the UK, and he is perfectly clear in his own mind that, whoever he might meet for a briefing and/ or exchange of views, there are only two parties to the negotiations themselves, namely the EU and the UK Government.  There is a danger, of course, that once he starts agreeing to meet people who have no influence on, or input to, the negotiations that he might find a very long list of people who’d like to have their tupp’orth.
There is one key difference, though, between the meeting Barnier held with Ken Clarke, Nick Clegg and Andrew Adonis in October and the forthcoming meeting with Farage.  They were clear that they were meeting Barnier to "get a better understanding" about what was going on in the negotiations; Farage seems equally clear that he’s expecting to be doing the talking rather than the listening.
Farage claims that he is going to be representing the 17.4 million who voted to leave.  It’s a claim which is specious at best.  If those 17.4 million had wanted to have a UKIP politician representing them in negotiations, they could have voted for UKIP in the election last year.  They still wouldn’t have got Farage as their representative, of course – he’d already resigned the leadership for the nth time at that point.  That’s academic, though – because only 600,000 voted for UKIP to represent them – the rest of that 17.4 million (all 16.8 million of them) specifically voted for someone else to represent them.
He does, of course, formally represent an electoral region as an MEP – a job he’s been campaigning for 20 years to abolish and which he increasingly performs on only a part-time basis – but most of the people who voted him into that job have clearly turned against his party since the last election in 2014, since there were fewer people across the whole of the UK who voted for his party in 2016 than in his electoral region alone in 2014.
Why someone who has turned his back on any pretensions of leadership and wants his only political post abolished as soon as possible still gets the attention which he does is something of a mystery to many, but it seems to be fostering delusions about the extent of his importance and influence.


Jonathan said...

You are quite right to nail Farage for delusions of importance. And it is understandable that Barnier has (mistakenly) given Farage some of his time. Among the political class there is the idea that manifestations of the popular will occurring in many countries at once are connected. Timing-wise this is true. Causation-wise - not so clear.
Farage turned up in the US where I half live. He offered to take over from the British Ambassador in Washington! Mutual British-American misunderstanding then kicked in. Just as many/most Brits think Trump is bad (because they think he does un-British things) so the Americans thought that Farage was good because he was just like the American populist Right. Fox News gave him a Contributorship, nice money for occasional spouting on Fox TV.
But Farage is not like the American populist Right or Trump. Farage does not worship God, he does not understand or respect the US Constitution, their Founding Fathers or the Bible. He is not an idealist with American-style ideals, which Americans are, and told Americans he would get 17.5m Brits on the streets if the Brits voted constitutionally to reverse Brexit. Farage revealed himself as a Daily Mail nihilist. Fox News dropped him.
PS - careful of Farage, though. Farage went into the ring with Carwyn Jones on TV. Farage was match-fit and sharp (more important than being accurate, in a TV debate). Carwyn the defending local boy was out of condition, unprepared and arrogant. Farage whupped him. Bad for Wales. We do need some local heroes with some fight in them.

Anonymous said...

He also took Clegg out in a one to one on LBC.Both Carwyn Jones and Nick Clegg did not understand that Queensberry rules don't apply and that although they would be able articulate a good case Farage has short little jabs that initially sound good and work well on that sort of medium.

The other problem was it was all about defending the EU ( and there are in my opinon a number of things that need reforming)and no one seriously thought the vote would be lost so the Leavers never had to articulate what Leave looked like as a proposal and to defend it.