By far the most valuable public service the BBC provides is merely to exist so that it may be accused of bias. In a complex, noisy and fragmented world, if the BBC were not around to be called out for an “agenda” it palpably does not have, it would be much harder to work out who is demented and definitely not worth listening to.
Joining, remarkably belatedly, that by no means exclusive club is Nigel Farage, who has now declared the BBC “the enemy”. There, in an illustrious realm, he joins Harold Wilson and Margaret Thatcher at the moments the plot began to escape them both, the Scottish independence campaign, the Jeremy Corbyn fan club, most of the key lieutenants of the #FPBE community (if you don’t know what it is, honestly don’t bother finding out), and anyone with any kind of vested interest in anything to do with the Middle East.
Why is Nigel Farage so angry? Well, mainly because Nigel Farage – a career politician for 30 years and leader of a political party that is currently polling at about 20 per cent – needs to not be seen as an actual politician, which is the very thing he is.
So there is nothing more outrageous that the BBC could possibly do than invite him on the Andrew Marr Show, and have Andrew Marr ask him some awkward questions, like he does to absolutely every other politician, every other leader of every other party, because therein lies a risk that the gossamer-thin mask might slip.
Nigel Farage has said he wants his Brexit Party to tear down the two-party system, to remake British politics. But Nigel Farage doesn’t want to be asked any questions about, say the NHS, and his previously expressed his wish to replace it with an insurance system, even though he will stand 650 candidates at the next election, and as such wants to run the NHS. He will scream outrage if you bring up his having heaped praise on Vladimir Putin, even though he wants to control the country’s foreign policy.
All Nigel Farage wants you to ask him about is the insurgency of his own brand new party, which he calls the “biggest change in British politics in decades”, even though his own, single-issue, pro-Brexit party is about to do almost exactly as well in the EU parliamentary elections as it did in the last one. And actually, when it comes to the popularity of Nigel Farage, and the size of his electoral constituency, which tops out at 35 per cent in EU elections, and significantly less than that in Westminster ones, nothing in the slightest has changed.
And it’s easier to scream outrage than to dwell on what Nigel Farage actually has to say, which is nothing at all. For the entire duration of his interview with Andrew Marr, from the very first second to the last, words fell from his mouth like excrement from a horse’s backside. Not a syllable was uttered that wasn’t filth.
Theresa May “never even asked for a free trade deal” with the EU is his current schtick, as if the UK’s failure to leave the EU with a deal is Theresa May’s fault. He knows as well as anyone that the free trade deal she “never even asked for” would and could not involve any kind of deal on customs, and so would do nothing to address the Irish border problem, or the carnage at Dover problem, the two big problems that the actual grown-ups in the actual room – somewhere Nigel Farage has never been in his life – have to contend with.
He screams “betrayal” by a “political class” that has to tried to strike the very bespoke British deal with the EU that he himself called for before the referendum, but which has been repackaged as an act of betrayal now.
He claims the moment the UK leaves with no deal, the EU will be “banging down Britain’s door to do a tariff-free deal”. This is the same towering falsehood he and others banged on about for months leading up to June 2016 and could not possibly have been more vividly shown to be drivel in the long, miserable years since.
Of course, none of this is a surprise. Nigel Farage has been a public fraud and phoney for decades. It is only recently that he has been calling the tune. His is the only story that is emerging from these weird elections, because the other pipers have lost their breath. The Tories are not campaigning at all. Labour is trying to be all things to all people, trying not to be eaten alive by the Brexit beast, that would have posed an unimaginable headache to any Labour leader, but the biggest one of all to Jeremy Corbyn, who has been a professional liar on Brexit since he first launched Labour’s campaign, three years ago at the Ministry of Truth.
That Nigel Farage is fighting with the BBC is the most damning indictment yet on the rest of them. His real quarrel should be with Labour and the Tories, but they would rather just leave him to it, a course of action they will surely regret.
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