Donald Macintyre's Sketch: Nigel Farage makes hay while the goldfish cling to the comfort blanket... and other mixed similes

 

Never mind how historic an electoral breakthrough this is. Nigel Farage is way ahead in the phrase-making stakes.

We’ve had the fox in the Westminster henhouse. We’re braced for the kitchen sink he’s promising to hurl at marginal constituencies. But on Monday he surpassed himself with an arresting mixed simile.

The main parties were like “goldfish that have just been tipped out of the bowl onto the floor, desperately gasping for air and clinging on to the comfort blanket that this is a protest vote”, he said.

Farage was not gasping for air. You could tell he had arrived politically when he didn’t actually take any questions at his victory “press conference”. And from the sleek Land Rover Discovery that drove him away.

 

And because on the way out, after promising to show that Ukip wasn’t “a one-man band” and that “you will see less of me” over the summer, he was immediately engulfed by television crews who seemed strangely uninterested in the “bright, able” new MEPs from whom he would be selecting spokesmen on issues from defence to immigration.

Ironically, the media scrum eerily recalled the heady days of Cleggmania in 2010. And of course he generously name-checked the LibDem leader, to whom he was “extremely grateful” for the two TV debates, and who – there are times when Farage likes to do a bit of punditry – he found it “very difficult to believe... will lead the Liberal  Democrats into the next election”.

For all his effort to detoxify his party – yes, he freely admitted, the selection of all his council candidates had not been quite what it might have been – the Ukip leader still does scary pretty well.

Read more: Clegg faces fight for survival
French VF victory based on anguish, rage and denial
Cameron to use Ukip victory as warning for Brussels
Ukip sets target of 20 seats for 2015
Labour MPs call on Miliband to promise referendum
Calls for Lib Dem unity after calls for Clegg to go
Conservatives bid to ward off Ukip threat
Ukip top poll as Europe moves to right
Far-right parties flourish across Europe
 

Having won a Scottish Euro seat, he promised the pro-Union Ukip would create a “whole new dynamic” ahead of the independence referendum, as if the “no” campaign did not have enough problems already.

And in declaring that the “people’s army is marching” to the Newark by-election, he greeted the party’s candidate, Roger Helmer, with a handshake, grin and what can only be described as a slightly sinister double-eyed wink.

Was it mere coincidence that Ukip picked for Nigel Farage’s triumphant appearance the same Westminster hotel where a Very Senior Tory allegedly attacked his own activists as “swivel-eyed loons”?

The new MEPs on the stage were not swivel-eyed. Indeed, the male and suited majority looked a bit, well, conventional. But is this wise? Could becoming boring actually dent the party’s astounding popularity? Is it time to bring back Godfrey “sluts don’t clean behind the fridge” Bloom? 

That said, it was Farage’s day all right. If this is just a flash in the pan, you couldn’t  help thinking as the cameras popped in the InterContinental  on Monday: “Some flash. Some pan.” 

Sport
formula oneLive lap-by-lap coverage of championship decider
News
Boxing promoter Kellie Maloney, formerly known as Frank Maloney, entered the 2014 Celebrity Big Brother house
people
Arts and Entertainment
tvStrictly presenter returns to screens after Halloween accident
News
video
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebooksNow available in paperback
News
peopleFormer civil rights activist who was jailed for smoking crack cocaine has died aged 78
Arts and Entertainment
Jerry Hall (Hand out press photograph provided by jackstanley@theambassadors.com)
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Carrie Hope Fletcher
booksFirst video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Arts and Entertainment
Damien Hirst
artCoalition's anti-culture policy and cuts in local authority spending to blame, says academic
Sport
premier leagueMatch report: Arsenal 1 Man United 2
Arts and Entertainment
Kirk Cameron is begging his Facebook fans to give him positive reviews
film
News
i100
Life and Style
Small winemakers say the restriction makes it hard to sell overseas
food + drink
Arts and Entertainment
Jason goes on a special mission for the queen
tvReview: Everyone loves a CGI Cyclops and the BBC's Saturday night charmer is getting epic
Sport
Jonny May scores for England
rugby unionEngland 28 Samoa 9: Wing scores twice to help England record their first win in six
Life and Style
fashionThe Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
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

Reach Volunteering: Financial Trustee and Company Secretary

Voluntary Only - Expenses Reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: A trustee (company d...

Recruitment Genius: Senior Project Manager

£45000 - £65000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is a fantastic opportunity...

Recruitment Genius: Shopfitter

Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: This is an opportunity to join a successful an...

Recruitment Genius: Digital Sales Account Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: A Digital Sales Account Manager...

Day In a Page

Mau Mau uprising: Kenyans still waiting for justice join class action over Britain's role in the emergency

Kenyans still waiting for justice over Mau Mau uprising

Thousands join class action over Britain's role in the emergency
Isis in Iraq: The trauma of the last six months has overwhelmed the remaining Christians in the country

The last Christians in Iraq

After 2,000 years, a community will try anything – including pretending to convert to Islam – to avoid losing everything, says Patrick Cockburn
Black Friday: Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Helpful discounts for Christmas shoppers, or cynical marketing by desperate retailers?

Britain braced for Black Friday
Bill Cosby's persona goes from America's dad to date-rape drugs

From America's dad to date-rape drugs

Stories of Bill Cosby's alleged sexual assaults may have circulated widely in Hollywood, but they came as a shock to fans, says Rupert Cornwell
Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

Clare Balding: 'Women's sport is kicking off at last'

As fans flock to see England women's Wembley debut against Germany, the TV presenter on an exciting 'sea change'
Oh come, all ye multi-faithful: The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?

Oh come, all ye multi-faithful

The Christmas jumper is in fashion, but should you wear your religion on your sleeve?
Dr Charles Heatley: The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

The GP off to do battle in the war against Ebola

Dr Charles Heatley on joining the NHS volunteers' team bound for Sierra Leone
Flogging vlogging: First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books

Flogging vlogging

First video bloggers conquered YouTube. Now they want us to buy their books
Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show: US channels wage comedy star wars

Saturday Night Live vs The Daily Show

US channels wage comedy star wars
When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine? When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible

When is a wine made in Piedmont not a Piemonte wine?

When EU rules make Italian vineyards invisible
Look what's mushrooming now! Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector

Look what's mushrooming now!

Meat-free recipes and food scandals help one growing sector
Neil Findlay is more a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

More a pink shrimp than a red firebrand

The vilification of the potential Scottish Labour leader Neil Findlay shows how one-note politics is today, says DJ Taylor
Bill Granger recipes: Tenderstem broccoli omelette; Fried eggs with Mexican-style tomato and chilli sauce; Pan-fried cavolo nero with soft-boiled egg

Oeuf quake

Bill Granger's cracking egg recipes
Terry Venables: Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back

Terry Venables column

Wayne Rooney is roaring again and the world knows that England are back
Michael Calvin: Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Abject leadership is allowing football’s age-old sores to fester

Those at the top are allowing the same issues to go unchallenged, says Michael Calvin