Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Nigel Farage is easy to laugh at… that means he’s dangerous

 

Ambassador Dimitrov was very, very cross with Ukip’s “unacceptable” and “extremely serious” “propaganda leaflets” suggesting that millions of Bulgarians were about to flood into Britain. He would have been much more cross if it had been at a lunch at which Ukip’s leader was regaling reporters with his full-on cheeky chappie routine worthy of the man he himself described as “that late, great comedian Bob Monkhouse”: stand-up with an electoral twist.

Naturally Nigel Farage slipped out for a fag before a speech so politically incorrect you were on tenterhooks about what he would own up to next. Describing his TV interview after becoming an MEP, when a Meridian reporter asking whether he would be corrupted by the champagne lifestyle of Brussels – and he had replied: “No, I’ve always lived like that,” he added, in the inimitable vernacular of the snug bar: “I must confess I was downwind of a couple.”

He positively revelled in the news that one of Ukip’s county councillor candidates ran an enterprise boasting the “best lap-dancing club in the Midlands”. He said that if it was legal he was “absolutely delighted” the party was being represented by a “free-market entrepreneur” in the tradition of Peter Stringfellow – before admitting that he had, while in Stras-bourg, “unwittingly” visited such a venue with “a Fren-ch presidential candidate”. It wasn’t Sarko, he assured us. Once inside the place, Farage added: “I thought this is pretty good. I like this.”  And yes, he had probably visited such “establishments” back in  the Eighties.

Good taste is so not Farage’s way that – preoccupied with Eastleigh where the party recently came a triumphant second in the  by-election – he even joked about Stephen Milligan, the town’s  early-Nineties MP who died in what John Major called at the  time “rather sad” sexual circumstances.

And yes, Farage was anti-Leveson despite himself being a victim of a News of the World exposé about which his press officer told him was “not too bad” because it said he “was hung like  a donkey” and that he “did it  seven times”. “Which isn’t true,”  he added as an afterthought.

Farage would surely be a spin doctor’s nightmare – as with  his candid admission that his  county council election manifesto plan was only an “aspiration”.

His most evasive answer was classic Farage. Had he talked to Nadine Dorries about joining Ukip? “I’ve had discussions with all sorts of people in pubs all over Westminster,” he said, adding that many of them, “I can’t remember.”

Sometimes, however, you can’t help thinking that underneath all this he is really one of the country’s most calculating – and menacing – politicians. It’s not so much the crazy claim that David Cameron is a “social democrat” or the warning that Labour will be “grievously” hurt by Ukip in the local elections and that his party may win the European elections next year. It’s more that he already knows the detail that there are only 8,000 postal votes in Portsmouth South, the next possible by-election... and that may help Ukip win.

The Monkhouse joke he delivered was how when he told people he was going to be a comedian “they laughed at me. But they’re not laughing now.” The same, he wanted us to think, goes for Farage.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Life and Style
Six of the 76 Goats' cheese samples contained a significant amount of sheep's cheese
food + drink
News
i100
News
Russell Brand arriving for the book launch in East London
peopleRussell Brand cancels his book launch debate due to concerns about the make-up of the panel
Arts and Entertainment
JK Rowling will not be releasing a 'romance' novel anytime soon
books
Life and Style
tech

Of all the computers Apple has ever made there’s only one that Steve Jobs had to sell his car to finance

Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

2nd Line server support - Microsoft certified

£25000 - £30000 Per Annum: Clearwater People Solutions Ltd: Our large organisa...

Year 4 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS2 Teacher required...

Year 1 Teacher

£120 - £150 per day: Randstad Education Leeds: Qualified KS1 Teacher required...

Year 5/6Teacher needed - Roath, Cardiff

£100 - £105 per day + plus free travel scheme: Randstad Education Cardiff: The...

Day In a Page

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?

A crime that reveals London's dark heart

How could three tourists have been battered within an inch of their lives by a burglar in a plush London hotel?
Meet 'Porridge' and 'Vampire': Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker

Lost in translation: Western monikers

Chinese state TV is offering advice for citizens picking a Western moniker. Simon Usborne, who met a 'Porridge' and a 'Vampire' while in China, can see the problem
Handy hacks that make life easier: New book reveals how to rid your inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone

Handy hacks that make life easier

New book reveals how to rid your email inbox of spam, protect your passwords and amplify your iPhone with a loo-roll
KidZania lets children try their hands at being a firefighter, doctor or factory worker for the day

KidZania: It's a small world

The new 'educational entertainment experience' in London's Shepherd's Bush will allow children to try out the jobs that are usually undertaken by adults, including firefighter, doctor or factory worker
Renée Zellweger's real crime has been to age in an industry that prizes women's youth over humanity

'Renée Zellweger's real crime was to age'

The actress's altered appearance raised eyebrows at Elle's Women in Hollywood awards on Monday
From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

Disney plans live-action remakes of animated classics

From Cinderella to The Jungle Book, Patrick Grafton-Green wonders if they can ever recapture the old magic
Thousands of teenagers to visit battlefields of the First World War in new Government scheme

Pupils to visit First World War battlefields

A new Government scheme aims to bring the the horrors of the conflict to life over the next five years
The 10 best smartphone accessories

Make the most of your mobile: 10 best smartphone accessories

Try these add-ons for everything from secret charging to making sure you never lose your keys again
Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time against Real Madrid: Was this shirt swapping the real reason?

Liverpool v Real Madrid

Mario Balotelli substituted at half-time. Was shirt swapping the real reason?
West Indies tour of India: Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Hurricane set to sweep Windies into the shadows

Decision to pull out of India tour leaves the WICB fighting for its existence with an off-field storm building
Indiana serial killer? Man arrested for murdering teenage prostitute confesses to six other murders - and police fear there could be many more

A new American serial killer?

Police fear man arrested for murder of teen prostitute could be responsible for killing spree dating back 20 years
Sweetie, the fake 10-year-old girl designed to catch online predators, claims her first scalp

Sting to trap paedophiles may not carry weight in UK courts

Computer image of ‘Sweetie’ represented entrapment, experts say
Fukushima nuclear crisis: Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on - and may never return home

Return to Fukushima – a land they will never call home again

Evacuees still stuck in cramped emergency housing three years on from nuclear disaster
Wildlife Photographer of the Year: Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize

Wildlife Photographer of the Year

Intimate image of resting lions claims top prize
Online petitions: Sign here to change the world

Want to change the world? Just sign here

The proliferation of online petitions allows us to register our protests at the touch of a button. But do they change anything?