Wednesday, 5 December 2012

Out of the mouths of fruitcakes and loonies

You have the charisma of a damp rag, and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk. And the question that I want to ask, [...] that we're all going to ask, is "Who are you ?". I'd never heard of you. Nobody in Europe had ever heard of you. I would like to ask you, President, who voted for you, and what mechanism...oh, I know democracy isn't popular with you lot, and what mechanism the people of Europe have to remove you ? Is this European democracy ? Well, I sense, I sense though that you are competent and capable and dangerous, and I have no doubt in your intention, to be the quiet assassin of European democracy, and of the European nation states. You appear to have a loathing for the very concept of the existence of nation states - perhaps that's because you come from Belgium, which is pretty much a non-country. But since you took over, we've seen Greece reduced to nothing more than a protectorate. Sir, you have no legitimacy in this job at all, and I can say with confidence that I speak on behalf of the majority of British people in saying: we don't know you, we don't want you, and the sooner you're put out to grass, the better.
The rising star of the Britain's new political Third Force, Nigel Farage there, laying into Herman Van Rompuy (crazy name, crazy guy)* with the wit and charm for which Nige is so justly famous. I’m rather torn by his most famous sound-bite. On the one hand, Farage comes across as a thoroughly nasty piece of work – a single-issue obsessive, a pied piper for cranks and small-minded xenophobes, a sneering ex-stockbroker with a snobbish disdain for the very idea of a ‘low-grade bank clerk’, a man who values presentation over substance (even if Van Rompuy did have 'the charisma of a damp rag', it would be the least important question at issue) and an arrogant little jingoist, bursting with contempt for a small nation which he dismisses as ‘pretty much a made-up country.’

On the other hand it’s impossible to ignore the Eurozone catastrophe and the hijacking of former democracies by EU officials who nobody voted for. You don’t have to be a kipper to question the authority of these unelected satraps who seem happy to sacrifice the futures of millions of their fellow citizens rather than face the embarrassment of having to rethink an obviously flawed project.

European democracy is important. Our political class is in a sorry state, when it’s left to the leader of a single-issue pipsqueak party of fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists, who are still waiting to elect their first MP to come up with Britain’s most quotable sound-bite on the subject.

Just in case you’re left with the thought that, underneath all the bluster, Nige might be a decent bloke, I’ll leave you with a selection of quotes from an interview given by the man himself to Robert Chalmers in The Independent early in 2012:
I think that the policies Margaret Thatcher brought in – while they did bring a huge amount of misery to people in the north of England – were necessary to turn Britain into a modern global economy.
It became necessary to destroy the north of England to save it. Nice.
I hate this myth that Blair started in 2004, to defend the open border, suggesting that [Eastern Europeans] work hard, implying that people here are useless …
… inflation isn't our biggest worry at the moment. Youth unemployment is."
OK, so youth unemployment is our biggest worry, but the mass unemployment resulting from Thatcher’s Harrowing of the North was ‘necessary.’ And you hate the idea that East European immigrants might be snaffling jobs by coming over here and working hard (or even worse, pulling the wool over employers’ eyes by pretending to work hard, when they can’t really be working hard because if they were, that would obviously mean that British people are useless).

Let's pull the threads of your thinking together, Nige. The free market global economy is just spiffy and any poor sods who end up on the scrap heap are just the regrettable, but inevitable casualties, of modernisation. The free market global economy is simultaneously terrible because it leads to sneaky foreigners coming over here, stealing our jobs by pretending to work hard. Consistency's not really your strong point, is it? But never mind, the dog-whistle's coming through loud and clear.
"What precisely did you love about the City?"
"It was competitive. It was quite brutal. It was tough but very exciting."

His first brush with death occurred that night in Orpington, returning from the City at a period when, according to his first book, "I was handling millions and drinking more or less continuously." He was run over after stopping off at an Indian restaurant, where he had been arguing against the Anglo-Irish Agreement while drinking Jameson's.
Just the kind of politician we need in to re-balance the economy in the wake of a global crash caused by the dominance of an out-of-control finance sector. At least he drinks a half-way decent brand of whiskey. I'm guessing that, in his own head, Nige is a latter-day Churchill, fighting them on the beaches, with an iron constitution fuelled by the finest booze known to humanity. More recent precedents might be less promising, if you happen to be the rising leader of a third party with an unfortunate taste for the hard stuff.
Well, I was a keen golfer. Part of  the golf-club set. So of course I had a bloody blazer. I have a blazer. I have several.
The prosecution rests its case.

*If Herman's ever caught out in the slightest sexual misdemeanour, the British tabloids will have their headlines ready to roll before you can say 'Rompuy-pumpy.'