Nigel Farage loved that we laughed at him – he sailed our mirth all the way to Trump Tower. So why are we still not taking him seriously?

While Theresa May stares at the phone wondering if President Pussygrabber will ever call back – and what on earth to say if he does – Farage rides the Trump Tower escalator in glory. So far as access to and influence over the incoming president, he towers over Boris and this shell-shocked pygmy government like a Rotarian, beer-sodden Gulliver

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The Independent Online

How this has happened must be delegated to the cool judgment of history, if it has happened at all. It may be a mirage – one conjured by an addled mind to torment it even further that quickly dissolves when looked at straight on.

 

But at this moment, Nigel Farage appears the most powerful British politician on earth.

Admittedly, he isn’t beating much. A secluded Theresa May faces the dispiriting reality that she is no closer to having a clue how to navigate the labyrinth between here and Brexit than she was back in July.

If she and the Chancellor, Philip Hammond, have anything on speaking terms with a coherent economic policy, they keep it to themselves.

Nigel Farage jokes about Donald Trump groping Theresa May

Blatantly, she and Boris Johnson, the alleged Foreign Secretary, have no foreign policy whatsoever. Staggering at an arthritic snail’s pace out of Europe, relegated to ninth in line for the ritual phone call from the US President-elect, the chilling uncertainty of isolation seems the only certainty Britain has left.

It’s hard to discern what a forgivably reclusive PM is doing, other than struggling to project calm strength from a position of bowel-melting weakness.

With Farage, it couldn’t be easier. He is starring in “Mr Toad Goes To Washington”, a reworking of the Jimmy Stewart movie about the archetypal little guy from out of town whose cussed refusal to bend beneath the will of a corrupt political elite wins heartwarming reward.

While Theresa May stares at the phone wondering if President Pussygrabber will ever call back – and what on earth to say if he does – Farage rides the Trump Tower escalator in glory. In the penthouse, he is received with hugs and thumbs-up selfies as more than an honoured guest and sod-the-opinion-polls guru. According to one of Nigel’s old compadres from Ukip, which withers in his absence as he exponentially grows, Nigel is Trumpworld’s go-to guy on US relations with Britain and the EU. Believe that or not as you choose. From all we know of Trump, it sounds eerily plausible to me.

If Farage isn’t quite the de facto Foreign Secretary, why would he limit himself to such a trifling role? So far as access to and influence over the incoming president, he towers over Boris and this shell-shocked pygmy government like a Rotarian, beer-sodden Gulliver.

This may, as I said, be a hallucination. After his inauguration on 20 January, Trump might prove less unlike his predecessors when it comes to interacting with US allies than the initial signals imply.

But you wouldn’t bet on that from his appointment of Steve Bannon, previously chairman of Breitbart News, as his most significant adviser. That suggests his administration will be exactly the kind of repository for mega-maverick far right-wingers into which Nigel Farage would comfortably slot. 

According to one of the “Brex Pistols” (as Farage and his mates wittily style themselves), Bannon assures them President Trump will discuss any policy proposals concerning Britain with Farage before he talks to Theresa May.

Trump, with so few political friends, evidently worships Farage as an inspirational bestie. If he does become an Oval Office player, either in a formal job or likelier floating about as a colourful eminence gris, how long would it take a humiliated May to accept the realpolitik and crawl to him for help?

For now, she sticks bravely with aloof contempt. A spokesman points out that Trump said he wants a Reagan-Thatcher relationship with her (as if Trump’s word on anything is a reliable indicator of what he thinks now or will say in five minutes). “I don’t remember there being a third person in that relationship,” added this spokesman of the 1980s lovefest.

I suppose these people have to say something. Personally, I’d have avoided any phrase which brings to mind the Prince of Wales’ first marriage. If Farage is Camilla in this threesome, it doesn’t bode so well for May.

Frankly, it doesn’t bode too spiffingly for any of us if Donald Trump intends to treat this transatlantic marriage as one of purest convenience, and starts making the amorous ship-to-shore calls to Farage before the honeymoon yacht is even out of dock. 

But there comes a point when you have to accept that, for at least four years, we are stuck in this darkly surreal parallel universe. 

There also comes a time when the snarky chuckling at Nigel Farage needs to cease. Had it stopped a few years ago – had the political and media classes acknowledged his deceptively haphazard brilliance and responded to it – we might have avoided Brexit and whatever domino effect it had on America last week.

Instead, he was allowed to surf the wave of metropolitan mirth all the way to his exalted position, adroitly perched on the right hand of the next US President.

But Farage isn’t the dummy. We were the dummies for being distracted from the threat by the boating jackets, the Latvian barmaids and the silly ass rictus grin. Any residual doubt about that, and about the identity of recent history’s outstanding British politician, evaporated on his triumphal ascent on the Trump Tower escalator to the new pinnacle of global power.

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