Nigel Farage has already made it clear just how his style of politics will shape an “independent” UK – by abhorrently whitewashing Jo Cox’s killing in one speech.
Speaking after it became clear that a Brexit was the inevitable result, the UKIP leader said:
The dawn is breaking on an independent United Kingdom. […] this will be a victory for the real people, for the ordinary people, and for the decent people. We have fought against the multinationals, [and] the merchant banks.
He then went on to say:
We fought against lies, corruption and deceit and today honesty, decency and belief in nation I believe is now going to win.
This, in itself, has to be one of the most preposterous statements he has made to date – decency, from a man who released a campaign poster depicting fleeing refugees that was akin to Nazi propaganda. As The Canary previously said about UKIP’s “Breaking Point” poster:
Farage said that the “huge streams” of migrants had entered Europe with no security checks. Context is something Nigel is blatantly not very versed in. The picture UKIP hijacked for their xenophobic, last-ditch campaign effort was actually from an event in October of last year. A controlled event where thousands of refugees were being escorted by police and the army. Crossing the border between Croatia and Slovenia. To go to organised reception centres. To be “security checked”.
But the most heinous element of his speech came later. Referring to the Brexit victory, he said:
We will have done it without having to fight, without a single bullet being fired.
To make such an analogy just a week after the killing of Jo Cox, who was shot three times and repeatedly stabbed, has to be a new low for Farage and UKIP.
He later backtracked and “apologised” for the language, given the context.
Perhaps he was caught up in the fervor of victory. Perhaps he was “completely tired out” – as he claimed to be when making racist remarks about Romanians. Or perhaps he’d already had a celebratory pint of English ale. But from a seasoned public speaker, who knows how the game of politics works, there is no excuse. His comments were wholly abhorrent and unnecessary.
But what next for UKIP – the party that was formed solely on the basis of leaving the European Union?
It could appear that they have just done themselves out of a job, as leaving the EU in theory leaves them without anything to campaign about. Unfortunately, this thinking would be naive and foolish at best.
Farage has now cemented his position as the party’s leader, and if rumours are to be believed, he may even garner a seat in government under a new Prime Minister. Farage has denied being interested in this.
But it runs deeper than just one man. At the last election, the party had clearly made inroads into traditional Labour strongholds. Furthermore, if we had an electoral system of Proportional Representation (PR), they would now have 82 MPs. This would make them the third largest party.
For the time being at least, UKIP aren’t going anywhere. It is unlikely that they will form an alliance with the Tories – more likely, they will now push hard for leverage to see an EU exit deal that they, and their members, want. They will probably also join the push for electoral reform, to ensure that they have the representation they are (sadly) entitled to in Parliament.
From a left-wing perspective, a wake-up call to “post-truth politics” is needed. And quickly. Too many have been duped by Farage’s casual racism and xenophobia being dressed up as anti-Establishment politics. A counter-message needs to be devised, and sent out en masse, across former Labour strongholds.
Make no mistake, however. Nigel Farage and UKIP are here to stay. A fact that should worry us all – but a fact that should embolden the left to fight back. And quickly.
While Farage may claim this is a “new dawn” for the UK, if the left can counter his message effectively enough, then he and his party can be banished into the darkness. Forever.
Image via Screenshot.