Farage’s Mistake

British “splendid isolation” in some populist version may be what Nigel Farage envisages for his country. Historically, such isolation had nothing in common with what in reality he will give it if he has his way.

Mr Farage has long been known and loved in all Europe as an excellent critic of the EU. But after his recent, more definitive rejection even of Marine Le Pen’s Front National and any future collaboration with it, he also appears genuinely anti-European, which is of course something completely different, and certainly not generally characteristic of Victorian Britain.

The terms of his dismissal are surprisingly strong, even given the current public perception of the French party in Britain. He sounds even more categorical than his fellow populists in the Danish People’s Party and the Norwegian Progress Party.

Not only was the real splendid isolation wholly dependent on the British empire; it also ended long before it. Moreover, it was an isolation from specific European alliances in terms of countries and continental empires. That is not what the rejection of the Front National is about.

What Mr Farage now more firmly than ever sets his face against – while at the same time pointing out that his own family is of French origin – is the leading force in the general, common European opposition, in all countries, against the EU, and in the movement for a Europe of nations. Is this really part of what the UK should be independent of? If so, why?

Because of the “completely different political traditions” from which, according to Mr Farage, the Front National comes. In a Europe of nations, different traditions, and national variations of the same traditions, must of course be accepted. But from what tradition does UKIP come? After Farage’s new, uncompromising denouncement, it unfortunately seems to be little but the simplest and cheapest populism. Compared to that, the tradition of the Front is to be strongly preferred.

And, Mr Farage tells us, because of the Front’s “antisemitism”. What is this antisemitism? I don’t understand it, I don’t see it. The allegation is ludicrous in view of the fact that the fanatically pro-Jewish and pro-Israel Geert Wilders – far more so than anything we have ever seen from Farage – supports the Front.

What will Mr Farage do when Britain has become independent – in the sense he obviously has in mind – not only of the EU but of the real Europe, the Europe which Britain has always, in its special, unique way, been a part of? Will he continue to rely on the unsplendid nonisolation from the United States that led to the fall of the empire and made impossible the real splendid isolation? The alliance which through its fatal blunders throughout the twentieth century made inevitable and indeed promoted the rise of totalitarianism? The alliance which almost destroyed the real Europe? The alliance with the forces that are now fast destroying the real US too?

He should think again. The US, or that now dominant US, cares nothing for a UK independent of the EU. The EU is to a very considerable extent its own and its globalist ideologues’ project. It wants Britain in it in order to promote its own interests and its own agenda, which are not those of either the true Europe or the UK. Farage will be powerless to stop the UKs further cultural decline as dictated by the forces of political correctness which he joins.

The same holds, needless to say, for the globalist financial system, should Mr Farage prefer to conceive of “independence” in terms of London’s alliance with it. There will be no isolation, and very definitely no splendour.

The broadly “liberal”, radical ideological agenda is a calamity for the world, for humanity, and must simply be abandoned, just as the financial system must be reformed. Unfortunately, the populist tradition of the UKIP seems not to provide the historical and philosophical insights needed to grasp these facts.

By turning his back on his European friends and supporters in this spectacular manner, Mr Farage undermines his own work as a brilliant leader of the opposition against the EU, and shrinks to a truly petty nationalist, or pseudo-nationalist. If he does not reconsider this fanatical and confrontational stance, it could amount to a tragic sabotage of the European opposition to the EU. The prolonged division, with a separate parliamentary group of populists which will have nothing whatsoever to do even with France’s biggest and in every respect leading political party, will not ruin but will much delay the progress of the sound political forces in Europe – including Britain.

These British populists could, like the Danish and, out of the EU, the Norwegian ones, do much good, as representing a higher form of populism, if they join the more sophisticated and rigorous national-conservative parties. As it is, they may have short-term electoral success and form government alliances with the centre-right and centre-left liberals. But in the long term, and in itself, that will help neither Europe in general nor their own countries.

What would it take for Mr Farage to become convinced that he could safely collaborate with the Front in the European Parliament? Must they send a special delegation of Jews in their party to pedagogically explain what they stand for? Do they need to lecture him on the basic European and twentieth-century historical experience and the meaning of the differences and similiarities in European political and cultural traditions?

It seems it would not be enough. After Mr Farage’s last interview, it appears nothing can be done. But it is difficult to believe he can really be quite so superficial and shortsighted. The terms of his current dismissal seem much too strong, even if the political climate in Britain is still such as to simply make it impossible for UKIP to associate itself with the Front. Things change, and they will do so even more in the future.

I hope it is only a momentary error of judgment, and that our hero in Brussels and Strasbourg will at least keep a distant possibility of joining us open.

3 Responses to “Farage’s Mistake”

  1. 1 Mats J January 13, 2014 at 11:58 am

    Very good post. Nigel Farage is not a break with the past but just one other party leader tracing his heritage to Margaret Thatcher. Indeed, hadn’t “Thatcher been ousted by her party there would have been no need for UKIP”, as he recently commented.


    I have, and had some sympathy for the policies of mrs Thatcher, but to say that an anti-immigration party hadn’t been needed had she only stayed in power, is an outrageous thing to say. Mr Farage’s hatred of the EU is a consequence of his hatred of Europe, more than anything else, and not a genuine concern for the independence and a will to preserve his own country.

  2. 3 Swedish Dissident January 14, 2014 at 12:53 pm

    I agree – very good. The kind of feeble-minded and pathetic populism that Farage’s latest gambit represents does perhaps deserve nothing more than a dose of contempt, but I guess it is more constructive to lecture.

    “These British populists could, like the Danish and Norwegian ones, do much good, as representing a higher form of populism, if they join the more sophisticated and rigorous national-conservative parties.”

    Spot-on. As far as I can see, the Swiss Poeple’s Party – if one looks at the sum of both benefits and disadvantages – is the most professional and constructive political party in Europe. I particularly value its synthesis between “Gesellschaft” and “Gemeinschaft”. Pro-European national conservatism!

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