Nigel Farage has resigned. But the arrogance and hypocrisy he stood for will not depart with him. His speech to the European Parliament on the day after the Brexit vote was teeming with his usual swill. Dan Leger writes:
Farage’s gloating oration in Brussels followed the victory by anti-EU forces in the U.K.’s ill-considered Brexit referendum. In the speech, Farage repeatedly insulted his fellow parliamentarians with a sneering arrogance that will do little to help Britain build new international relationships.
“I know that virtually none of you,” he said, “have ever done a proper job in your lives, or worked in business, or worked in trade, or indeed ever created a job.”
Remember, these are the words of a full-time politician and former commodities trader, professions not known as drivers of employment.
Farage complained that he hadn’t been taken seriously when he first became a salaried and expenses-collecting member of the Euro Parliament he so despises, 17 years ago.
“You all laughed at me. I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?”
The problem with people like Farage and Donald Trump, writes Leger, is that they have made hate acceptable in modern politics. And while the likes of Farage and Boris Johnson have exited stage right, exposed as the buffoons they are, there will be others who will follow in their footsteps:
Any fool can see through Trump, the preening egotist and shallow showoff. And most can see through Farage’s lies and smugness.
But what if a candidate emerges who isn’t an obvious buffoon, but with similarly toxic ideas?
Seventy-five years ago, German fascists cited “Blut und Boden,” “blood and soil” in their program of race hatred. A similar call might work with American or British nativists, invoking the idea that people who share ethnicity and territory should band together to keep the “others” out.
In the wake of the Brexit vote, racial incidents are rising across the U.K., with harassment of immigrants and outsiders. A pro-Europe MP was murdered by a white supremacist right before the referendum.
At Trump’s mass rallies, racist and misogynistic insults are routinely hurled around by the candidate and his supporters.
If Farage, Johnson and Trump are harbingers of the future, we have much to worry about.