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Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Nigel Farage - a troublemaker in search of a crisis

For somebody who does not like other country's nationals telling the UK what to do, Nigel Farage is an offensively persistent presence abroad.

Whether it is backing Trump's presidential campaign, speaking in favour of the controversial (and losing) Republican Alabama Senate candidate, Roy Moore, or addressing a far right rally in Germany, the seven times Parliamentary loser and three times former UKIP leader just can't keep his nose out of other people's affairs.

Now we learn that he is poised to travel to Ireland next month to attend a conference calling for Ireland to leave the European Union.

According to the Independent, Farage believes that Ireland should follow Britain’s example and leave the EU because it would benefit the Irish people financially. The paper suggests that in reality, this rather selfish idea has been conjured up by a few hardline Brexiteers, so that they don’t have to compromise on the thorny issue of the Irish border, which they so blissfully ignored during the campaign.

The paper's correspondent sets out some of the reasons why Farage's intervention will be rejected by the Irish electorate:

Europe has helped Ireland to strengthen its voice on the international stage, and yes, it bailed us out when the banks failed in 2010 – a moment of national shame from which the country swiftly bounced back. A May 2017 poll showed 88 per cent of Irish people think Ireland should remain in the EU, and a further survey in August 2017 showed Ireland was the country most optimistic about the EU’s future, with 77 per cent of people responding favourably.

And yet the Facebook page for February’s event warns that “Ireland is at risk of becoming a powerless EU province.” Nothing could be further from the truth.

As of 2017, Irish MEP Mairead McGuinness is the Vice President of the European Parliament and last month, the EU gave Ireland the final say on whether or not Brexit negotiations should move on to the next stage. This was not for one upmanship against the British, but because Irish politicians and diplomats had lobbied hard to put the border issue at the top of the agenda, and because other EU leaders appreciate the complex issues which have forged a unique situation on the island of Ireland.

This was a display of consensus, respect and solidarity – concepts which may look unfamiliar if your political background is the muddied, chaotic ranks of Ukip.

The crucial difference between Ireland and the UK though is that there is no far right party or significant faction within a ruling group who want to leave the EU. Ireland's membership of the EU has transformed its fortunes and nobody there will want to follow the UK into oblivion. Indeed the fact that we have opted for Brexit may well prove an incentive for Ireland to strengthen their links with Europe.

One is tempted to ask the Irish to kindly hold onto Farage and not send him back, however I happen to like the Irish and would not wish that on them.
I would recommend you read Asterix and The Roman Agent. The character Convolvulus reminds me so much of Nigel Farage - he single handedly sets once peaceable communities at odds with one another with disastrous consequences. If you're a keen gardener you'll also know that Convolvulus is bindweed, an invasive climber which is hard to eradicate and which can quickly spoil a garden which otherwise would have been rosy.
Nigel Farage is indeed a trouble-maker. Reading the above comment I am also reminded of Stephen King's 'Needful Things'. The way that the protagonist deliberately sets out to sow seeds of discord is Farage to a tea. An odious man.
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