Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t vote for them because they are clearly a pack of raving nutters. But, Farage and some patronizing Tory bastard were on the Today show yesterday and I wanted to punch the Tory guy far harder than I wanted to punch Farage.
It’s depressing times in politics at the moment. You couldn’t slide a blade of grass between any of the main parties and their general empty glibness, and politicians themselves are largely indistinguishable as individuals. It’s as though there’s a Heath Robinson machine somewhere deep in the bowels of Westminster that turns out politicians as needed. I picture a crane picking them off the conveyor belt, the roof of the House of Commons sliding open, and the new politician being inserted at random on the benches. As if anyone could tell.
There’s an election coming up next year, and there is no one to vote for. No one. There’s not even anyone to protest vote for.
Farage was on R4 explaining his reasons for not running in the Newark by-election. The fact that there will a by-election is in itself down to a tawdry tale of Patrick Mercer (Tory) taking cash for asking questions in Parliament. Once found out and punished, he had a sudden attack of conscience and resigned for the good of the constituency. It was abundantly clear that with him, as with Maria Miller (kicked out for basically nicking £40k in over-claimed expenses), there’s not a shred of conscience in play. These people are merely sorry that they’ve been found out, can’t quite understand the fuss and are grudgingly willing to fade into the background until it’s all blown over and they can get back into what they see as their rightful place. Cameron’s response to Miller’s resignation letter made that glaringly obvious.
Anyway, Farage isn’t running in the by-election for the perfectly sensible reasons that his party’s focus is on the imminent European elections, he has no connection with Newark and sod all chance of winning. The political response to this was accusations of cowardice, ‘being frit’ and, apparently, some particularly juvenile MP saying something along the lines of ‘they thought they could hear chickens in the distance’.
Yes. This is the prevailing standard, and I’m sure we’re all very proud of our fine political traditions and the stratospheric level of debate in which these leaders engage. Or, like me, you could be sick to the back teeth of the petty squabbling of all the posh schoolboys.
Which is why I think Farage has some appeal for parts of the electorate. Regardless of how he argues against it, his name is synomous with UKIP, because the only time we hear of other party members is when they make the headlines minutes before being sacked for racism. Other than when he’s actually discussing what pass for UKIP policies, he sounds like a reasonable bloke: he’s down to earth, thinks on his feet, doesn’t speak in soundbites or sound as if he rehearsed every word in front of the PR rep. He may actually even believe in what he says, rather than just trotting it out for political expediency.
Let’s face it, most people don’t make informed voting choices. There’s a high level of political apathy, and the majority of decisions are made based on ‘He seems nice enough’ or ‘I liked his tie’ or ‘I heard he’s good to his granny’. On that basis, Farage might at least split the Tory vote, and for that I’d be grateful.