Tendance Coatesy

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‘One Party After Another: The Disruptive Life of Nigel Farage’. Michael Crick. Review.

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 ‘One Party After Another: The Disruptive Life of Nigel Farage’. Michael Crick. Simon and Schuster. 2022.

Nigel Farage appeared to have disappeared from the national political scene in December 2019. His Brexit Party had propelled candidates from the national populist right to 29 seats, including MEPs Claire Fox of the former Revolutionary Communist Party now, the Spiked Network, and one time Tory Minister of State and ultra Ann Widdicombe, a supporter of Golliwogs and Gay Conversion Therapy, in the European Parliament that May, had stood 635 constituencies in the December General Election. In contrast to the European poll topping score of 30,52% the Brexit Party had got 642,303 votes (2,0 %) and no MPs.

“‘The Victory for Boris was hugely helped by us, and is far better than the Marxist Corbyn and a second referendum” Michal Crick continues, “He claimed his decision to stand down in 317 Tory constituencies had stopped a hung Parliament.” That may not have been the case. It can be argued, as this book does, that in some Northern and Midlands seats standing against Labour divided the pro-Brexit vote between his Rally and the Conservatives. But one would say that if not the ‘Kingmaker’ the all too long reign (2019 – 2022) of a British Berlusconi, charlatan, crook and deeply right-wing clown, was ushered in with the help of Nigel Farage’s decades long Brexit campaigning. The confusion that led some sections of the left (and not just the one-time Marxist Spiked ‘anti-woke’ populists) to believe that a People’s Brexit from the ‘populist left’ could emerge from the Leave vote in the 2016 Referendum is another legacy of Farage.

Michael Crick’s One Party After Another, is a meticulous biography. That is to say, at 592 pages, excessively detailed. At Dulwich College “He had a thing about the National Front and would run into the classroom to chalk NF on the board, but obviously that was his initials as well.” “He was a deeply unembarrassed racist” David Edmonds recalls, “He used words like ‘wogs’ and ‘Pakis’.” After having got involved with the UK Independence Party (UKIP) and on its National Executive Committee he took some of his national comrades to a Mayfair Strip Club, “He was completely blotto. As I left, I saw Nigel’s head was wedged between one woman’s breasts. He confessed later he had no idea how he got home.”

The sparkling sherbets and the birds aside, it is surely the life-long racism that stands out. A controversial moment, when ‘King and Empire’ Farage is said to have suggested overturning a ban on running ex-National Front members as UKIP candidates, assuring his colleagues, “nig nogs will never vote for us”, is recounted at length.

Time at the London Metal Exchange pushed to the background and a serious illness Farage was “propelled into politics”. With “hatred of the European Union” bubbling up inside, that pushed him into the direction of the organised Euro-sceptic right. Crick covers the doings of UKIP. It starts from barely more than a hard right micro-party to rivalry with Germanophobe James Goldsmith’s deep-pocketed Referendum Party. We hear of the forgotten UKIP leader, Alan Sked who nurtured resentment against the biography’s subject, (Sked was last seen in alliance with George Galloway in the All for Unity alliance that stood in the 2021 Scottish Parliamentary election, getting nowhere). The volume covers their antics in the European Parliament, something perhaps Crick knows more about than anybody else alive.

The heart of the story is Farage’s election to the European Parliament in 1999 to the Dulwich scholar’s leadership of the party in 2006, and the decisive alliance with dodgy businessman Arron Banks in the 2016 poll, ‘The Bad Boys of Brexit’. It continues right up to the creation of the private business called the Brexit Party, passing by the enduring servile admiration and intimacy with the US loud-mouthed right, Trump upwards. The rest is history.

It is well to be reminded that by the 2015 General Election UKIP had become the third party in British politics, with 3,811,009 votes. Not one won a seat in the House of Commons. Nigel Farage failed in South Thanet: Tory Craig Mackinlay, 38,1% Nigel Farage UKIP 32,%, Will Scobie, Labour, 23,8%. An “old chum”, and former Kipper, Mackinlay crowed, “People here have shown there is no need for Nigel Farage and no need for UKIP”.

If you wish to plough through the exhaustive, fluently unravelling, chapters of One Party After Another, you will not discover much overt criticism of Farage – no doubt Michael Crick considers his weaving and dodging speaks for itself. Nor is there any new political insight into the rise of British national populism or hints on how its opponents might wage a successful counter-strategy. There are no proper comparisons with the leaders and development of such Euro-sceptic large (and domestically elected) hard right parties as the Rassemblement National, the Fratelli d’Italia or the Lega Nord, except in their capacity as part of the same alliances/groups of MEPs as UKIP or the Brexit Party in the Brussels and Strasbourg Parliament. But you will find the concluding response to this, hanging, stench full, in the air, “nobody can dispute that Nigel Farage achieved his goal of leaving the European Union. Without ever being a Westminster MP.” It is said that the leader of what is now Reform UK is a hit playing on the boards of GB TV.

Then there is this:

Written by Andrew Coates

August 6, 2022 at 5:57 pm

One Response

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  1. Andrew Coates

    August 7, 2022 at 10:58 am

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