It always strikes me that when I speak to even the mostly vaguely Eurosceptic Conservative or for that matter Labour supporter, there is near enough always a glaring admiration for Nigel Farage.
Perhaps I am biased, after all he is the guy who inspired me to get off my backside and get involved in politics. But I can honestly say he is the only politician I’m aware of who scores regular viral hits with his speeches. The latest one, during which he warned of revolution in Europe due to the economic prison of the Euro, has garnered close to 100,000 views in less than 48 hours, with very little mainstream press coverage. Who else garners this reaction regularly?
Of course many boring, pedantic lefties dismiss Farage’s verbal smackdowns as beneath them. Yet whether these anti-EU tirades are crammed full of academic citations or not doesn’t matter; they encompass a sort of pent up feeling that many rightly feel is unrepresented in the UK.
After all, it is now well established by a number of different polls that we are a majority anti-EU nation as far as the public goes, or very, very close to it. This case for leaving the EU outright is rarely heard on TV, radio or in Parliament though. Despite the EU costing the taxpayer billions, despite its constant interference in our internal affairs and its destruction of our democracy, Cameron, Clegg and Miliband line up to defend it at every turn. Just as Brown did. And Blair. And Major.
The instincts of the British public know that this EU project is so very wrong that when Farage’s two or three minute speeches tear into this established wisdom with such passion and conviction, it riles and captures the imagination. I cannot be alone in thinking this; the YouTube numbers speak for themselves. So too, I should add, do the comments that appear up underneath these videos.
Far from being cheered on by a bunch of xenophobic English right-wingers as The Guardian would have you believe, ordinary citizens from Poland, Greece, Germany and right across Europe stop by to thank Nigel Farage for speaking up for them as despairing Europeans, as they speak of wishing that they had their very own Nigel Farage to cheer on, to vote for.
The Farage speeches are a phenomenon in this digital age of politics that truly breakthrough in a way that a pre-scripted back-and-forth PMQ’s never has and never will. Perhaps if other politicians spoke with more proper unscripted conviction rather than pre-filtered buzzwords, the public would be a bit more interested.