Farage’s fever fantasy: today Clacton, tomorrow the world

By Searchlight Team

One thing that you have to hand to Nigel Farage is that he’s good at warping the media agenda. The BBC News channel froze all other coverage to subject viewers to a slightly deranged announcement about one slightly down-at-heel seaside town. Or one very shoddy fringe politician. Take your pick.

Yes, Narcissistic Nigel is off to Clacton. Not, as those of us of a certain age might think appropriate, as the not-very-funny stage comedian among the Butlin’s Redcoats. The holiday camp there closed down in 1983, though not without leaving happy memories for some. One of the Searchlight team still has the copy of Billy Bunter Goes To Butlin’s that he won in a competition there in 19… um… well, certainly post-Suez.

Nope, the Farage balloon is being run up on its cable to overshadow the unfortunate town as its 2024 General Election candidate for Reform UK.

No, not the Conservatives. That ship has sailed for the moment – though no doubt it will be back. SS Farage is not a long-haul vessel. More like an Isle of Wight ferry. You wave your hanky to it as it steams off south, and by the time you’ve had your fish and chips and a pint of Nutty Nige IPA (incoherent piss-artist) the same ship is heaving back into view on the exact opposite course.

Admittedly, Clacton has some form as a happy hunting ground for the far-ish right. It went to Ukip in a by-election in 2014 and again in the 2015 General Election. But the candidate then was the defecting Tory Douglas Carswell. Carswell was a mostly well-respected constituency MP – a generally decent man, and certainly no racist, who had a real bee in his bonnet about the EU. He fought the two elections on a call for a referendum, and Clacton plainly agreed.

Frottage, on the other hand, is a carpetbagger. A narcissistic opportunist who no longer has a core policy to promote – the Brexit Referendum having long since come and gone – and instead rambles on about Muslims and The Boats. He may have as much name recognition in Clacton as Carswell did, but we doubt if he has one-tenth of the respect. He’s using the town as a self-publicising stunt, and we rather think that the voters there will see through it.

What has changed in the few days since Farage announced, apparently definitively, that he would not be standing in the election? The Niglet says that his head has been turned by the millions (we’re pretty sure he said ‘millions’) of people who are desperate for him to get up on his hind legs and be their hero. No, no, he said to them, repeatedly, but eventually they wore him down. This shtick was old when penny-farthings roamed the streets. Hell, it was old when the upper crust drove horse-drawn chariots. Think of Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar turning down the Roman crown for effect.

As far as we can see, nothing has happened but Farage publicly issuing a ‘Make me an offer’ plea to the Tory leader, and Richie Richboy (with uncharacteristic audacity) telling him where to stick it. Farage has lost face, and this is his riposte. ‘Take that, Skinnylegs!’ he is saying. ‘Defend Clacton from me, if you can.’ We doubt if it is lead item in the outgoing prime minister’s catalogue of worries.

Interestingly, Farage took the opportunity of the press conference to declare himself Reform’s party leader for the next five years. Because it isn’t really a party in the normal sense. The members have no say in who the leader is. They get no vote because there is no election. And that’s because they aren’t really members, just subscribers. Farage would need to have cleared it with sugar-daddy Tice, but that’s about it.

Delusionally, Farage seemed to claim that this makes him Leader of the Opposition, on the basis that Starmer has already wrapped up the election, and the Tories are no more fit to be the opposition than they were to be the government.

And he says that there’s nothing to distinguish Labour from the Conservatives. Only he is different. Well, we’ll see after the election, but the inevitable post-disaster ousting of Sunak will make it more a case of working out which of the new Conservative leader and Farage is Tweedledum and which Tweedledee.

If he’s going to play on that ‘two cheeks of the same arse’ analogy, we doubt if you’ll be able to fit more than a thong strap between Frottage and Cruella.

8 responses on “Farage’s fever fantasy: today Clacton, tomorrow the world

  1. Naseem Dunah

    A serious political commentary does not require name-calling and insult instead of analysis. Best leave it to the grown-ups.

  2. Mark Taha

    Billy Bunter at Butlin’s – I believe originally published in 1961. I have a copy somewhere.

  3. Sonia Gable

    The racial slur is only one meaning of Niglet. It is also a Scottish surname, but here it obviously is a diminutive for Nigel [Farrage].

  4. Martyn Lester

    It is, I would have thought, clearly a portmanteau for ‘Nigel’ and ‘piglet’. But hey, squeal away if you want to.

  5. CAR27

    This undignified article and some comments are below the belt, please withdraw it, thanks. You have let your hatred cloud your judgment.

  6. Biz Miller

    Goodness, the Fuherage faithful really are a thin-skinned lot, going by some of these comments!

    I bet you were similarly upset when the whole of the national right-wing press launched a massive character assasination on Jeremy Corbyn, unbiased lot that you are?

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