Nigel Farage loves to talk about the UKIP "charge", a line that he trots out regularly in reference to the blazing trail his party is supposedly making through the UK's political consciousness.
A televised debate with Nick Clegg, the most bumbling guy in politics, did little to assuage liberal fears that Farage and co. were becoming a force to be reckoned with and in addition, he's made more appearances on Question Time than anyone else this year. A mandatory bullying on Have I Got News For You was nothing out of the ordinary – it's a media colliseum where the only objective is survival, and survive he did.
But when your party contains councillors who tweet things such as....
....you're always going to be called out during media appearances by people who think that kind of opinion is wrong. This morning, Farage made an appearance on the radio show Leading Britain's Conversation, interviewed by James O'Brien, and the results are not pretty. Here's our report.
NIGEL FARAGE TALKING ON THE RADIO TODAY – THE HIGHLIGHTS
– The interview begins with an audio clip of Farage acknowledging that "we've got a few idiots in our party". Wise. It's pretty much irrefutable fact.
– O'Brien reads out John Lyndon Sullivan's tweet from February about "shooting puftas". "We've had more people saying silly things than we would like. But what's going on in the other parties?" It's then revealed that Nige doesn't even realise that Lyndon Sullivan is an elected councillor. Clearly UKIP ain't that tight a ship.
– Farage is questioned about his party's associations with far-right parties, both at home and abroad. Farage co-chairs a European group called the EFD (Europe Of Freedom and Democracy) with a member who once said: "Anders Breivik's ideas were in defence of Western civilisation." Farage gets in a muddle about who actually said it. It was Italian MEP Francesco Speroni.
– It's brought to the table that Farage had complained about "the political class using their mates in the media", despite the UKIP leader having his own weekly columns in the Daily Express and the Independent and having appeared on Question Time more than anyone this year except David Dimbleby. Pot, kettle, black.
– In a tangent, Farage claims he's too busy to know if there are homophobic councillors like John Lyndon Sullivan representing UKIP in Gloucester. "I lead a political party, I don't run the day-to-day management. I make sure we stick to our principles."
(By this point, Farage looks shiny with sweat and is gulping an awful lot mid–response.)
– Strangely, Farage then inadvertently admits that his party is guilty of outpourings of racism and bigotry. O'Brien puts it to him that "there is not the same avalanche of bigotry emerging from other parties", to which Farage replies, "Oh yes there is." What's going on here? It's all getting a bit dark pantomime.
– We're getting right into some serious nitty-gritty now, as O'Brien asks Farage to clarify that he recently felt uncomfortable surrounded by German speakers on a train. Farage's wife is German. O'Brien asks whether or not it makes him feel uncomfortable that his wife and children are German-speakers. He says not, because they can speak English too. Tally–ho!
– It gets very philosophical for a second as Farage asks "what is racism?", like some weird 21st-century version of Pontius Pilate. He then dodges the question as to whether or not he'd be uncomfortable if a group of Romanian men moved in next door to him. After a few attempts to evade what is admittedly a very direct question, he confesses that "yes, I think you would be". Why Farage uses "you" rather than "I" is unclear.
– Former Daily Express political commentator Patrick O'Flynn, UKIP's director of communications (i.e. spin doctor), interrupts the interview to advise that "there was an agreement about timing that has massively overrun."
It was an extremely disappointing 20 minutes in the public eye for Farage, whose party is proving increasingly gaffe-laden as new rows erupt almost daily regarding bigoted UKIP councillors, the party using Irish migrants for their posters or the MEP who said that disliking gay people is the same as disliking different types of tea. Yet what's worrying for the coalition is that a regional radio show host provided far sterner opposition than Nick Clegg. Is there anyone fit to run the country?
Watch the full interview below:
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