Can you name a single Australian politician who has given up income and a real job, is articulate and witty, cannot be silenced by his own party and is loved by taxi drivers for his determination to reverse the power shift from ordinary people to big government?
Britain has such a politician in Nigel Farage, co-founder of the UK Independence Party (UKIP).
Frowned upon by the political elites, but popular with the public, Farage is willing to tackle off-limits subjects such as global warming hysteria, immigration and the rise of militant Islam. He is master of the media soundbite and is never more in his element than when he is confronted by a hostile interviewer.
The 48-year-old Nigel Farage is a roguish London banker who attributes his success to having worked particularly hard “until lunchtime for 20 years”, before co-founding UKIP in 1993. His party is passionately opposed to the European Union’s usurpation of Britain’s right to make its own laws.
Under Farage’s charismatic leadership, UKIP has catapulted from nowhere to national prominence. Earlier this year, UKIP overtook the Liberal Democrats as Britain’s third party after its support rose to 9 per cent nationally.
UKIP has been helped by the decision of Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron to welsh on his infamous “cast iron” guarantee made in 2007 to give Britons the “in-out” EU referendum long demanded by UKIP.
Feared by the insipid career politicians he derides, Farage describes UKIP’s Conservative, Labour and Liberal Democrat rivals as social democrat parties run by college kids with no experience of the real world. The defiant smoker proclaims that you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between them and, what with Britain being practically ruled by the EU, it makes little difference whether the Conservative Party or Labour holds office.
Farage defends old-fashioned patriotism as being a good thing, on the basis that truly democratic nation-states are best equipped to look after their own interests. Moreover, they are generally good neighbours and rarely start wars.
UKIP seeks a five-year freeze on immigration to replace the EU’s open-borders policy, which has seen nearly five million people settle in the UK since 1997. This has made the UK one of the most overcrowded countries in Europe, exacerbating the numbers of youth unemployed (now over one million), overburdening Britain’s social services budget and outstripping authorities’ ability to provide local infrastructure.
Farage opposes moves to introduce same-sex marriage. At the recent launch of UKIP’s campaign for the November by-election in the bellwether seat of Corby in Northamptonshire, he said, referring to British Conservative Prime Minister David Cameron, “And perhaps worst of all, he’s proposing re-defining marriage which does not go down well with rural England.”
Farage argues the British must do more to halt the Islamification of their country. He says, “Our schools [should] teach people of the values of our Judeo-Christian culture, the good that it’s done and all that it’s represented over centuries — because I’m getting a bit tired of my kids coming home from school being taught about every other religion in the world, celebrating every other religious holiday, but not actually being taught about Christianity.”
He has vigorously defended the right of Christians who have lost their jobs for wearing the cross. He says: “People in these islands have been wearing crosses to show their faith on and off since the Roman times. Though some wear them as an accessory, to the vast majority of those who wear a modest crucifix either around the neck or as a lapel badge it is no more than a small and discreet statement to the world that the wearer is a practising Christian.
“For those of faith and those of no faith it is part and parcel of our British culture and as such part of the fabric of our Nation.”
He also points out that are now over 20 police forces in the UK that turn a blind eye to the operation of Sharia courts and Sharia law in the country. He says, “If you’re not prepared as a nation from the top down to stand up for your cultures and values, then [they] will be threatened.”
UKIP has an official policy to ban the wearing of the full-face veil in public places. Farage says, “The covering of the face in public spaces in public buildings [is] a symbol of an increasingly divided Britain. The real worry is talk of Sharia law becoming part of British culture.”
Farage also opposes the double standards of the UK’s human rights laws, which grant more rights to terrorists than to ordinary people.
He says that Britain’s prison population needs to be doubled to ensure that criminal sentences are actually served.
A libertarian-conservative, Farage says that profit is not a dirty word. He seeks to abolish inheritance taxes and introduce a flat-rate income tax that would stimulate enterprise and economic growth and provide opportunities for the poor to escape the welfare state’s poverty trap.
UKIP vehemently opposes costly and unproven renewable energy schemes, especially windfarms, and defective policies based on the global warming hysteria.
As a result of Farage’s determined stand on British sovereignty, most Britons now want a referendum on EU membership. Westminster politicians now manage (rather than govern) their own country, as a staggering 75 per cent of British laws are made by the European Union parliament.
The British have virtually no say in these laws because they elect only 8 per cent of the Members of the European Parliament (MEPs).
Ironically for a defiantly eurosceptical party, UKIP now has 12 MEPs (including Farage who took his seat in 1999). They are reviled by the EU set, whose dour faces provide the perfect foil to Farage’s provocative and witty “made-for-YouTube” oratory.
Tempe Harvey is a Queensland writer.