Is it Groundhog Day? Recent events have felt like a bit of a blast from the past – with one of our least favourite far right leaders risen from the dead and gracing our screens, newspapers and letterboxes once again.
As you’ll probably know, after resigning as leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage has made another comeback as leader of the Brexit Party, leading to a healthy dose of political turmoil, and a suit covered in milkshake. We dug into his dirty history.
• In 1981, when Nigel was appointed as a prefect at his school, an English teacher wrote to the headteacher asking him to reconsider his decision, citing his fascist views. Another said that on a Combined Cadet Force (CCF) camp organised by the college, Farage and others “marched through a quiet Sussex village very late at night shouting Hitler-youth songs.”
• Skip forward to 2006 – when Nigel became the leader of UKIP, the UK Independence Party. The party is on the far right, and campaigned for the UK to leave the EU. Policies included strict caps on immigration, a five-year ban on unskilled workers, and a five-year wait before migrants could claim benefits.
• In 2009 Nigel boasted that he took two million pounds of taxpayers’ money in expenses and allowances, on top of what was already a £64,000 a year salary.
• In 2013 Nigel said he supports Muslim immigrants who “integrate” into society, but not those that are “coming here to take us over”.
• In a 2014 interview on LBC, Nige said he felt “uncomfortable” when he heard people speaking in other languages on London transport.
• The same year, he said the “basic principle” of Enoch Powell’s infamous anti-immigration “Rivers of Blood” speech was correct.
• On women and work, he also said in 2014: “If a woman with a client base has a child and takes two or three years off work, she is worth far less to the employer when she comes back than when she goes away because her client base cannot be stuck rigidly to her.”
• On the same topic, he added: “Maybe it’s because I’ve got so many women pregnant over the years that I have a different view [of maternity leave].”
• On his political idols, he said: “As an operator, but not as a human being, I would say Putin. The way he played the whole Syria thing. Brilliant.”
• In 2014 Nigel also said he would be concerned if Romanian immigrants moved in next door to him.
• The same year, he blamed immigrants for making him late to an event where he was speaking. He said his lateness “has nothing to do with professionalism, what it does have to do with is a country in which the population is going through the roof chiefly because of open-door immigration and the fact that the M4 is not as navigable as it used to be”.
• Nigel called for a ban on people with HIV migrating to the UK. When asked who should be allowed to come to the UK instead, he stated: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That’s a good start. And people with a skill.”
• In 2015, Nigel then said that NHS money spent on recent immigrants with HIV would be better placed treating other taxpayers with serious conditions.
• Nigel defended a UKIP candidate who used a racist slur against Chinese people. Referring to the incident, he said: “If you and your mates were going out for a Chinese, what do you say you’re going for?”
• In June 2016, Nigel unveiled an anti-immigrant poster that suggested that immigration was at “Breaking Point”, as part of the leave campaign. The poster was reported to the police on the grounds that it aimed to incite racial hatred.
New UKIP Poster launching today – Breaking Point pic.twitter.com/PjMWSLbBNZ— UKIP (@UKIP) 16 June 2016
• When Britain left the EU in 2016, Nigel boasted that the campaign had been won “without a bullet being fired”. This was eight days after Labour MP Jo Cox was fatally shot.
• The same year, he said that if he could, he would vote for Donald Trump in the US presidential elections.
• After Donald Trump won the election, Nigel was the first person to visit him, in the Trump Tower.
• He later said in an interview that he “couldn’t be happier” for Donald, whilst describing Barack Obama as a “loathsome individual” and a “creature”.
• Nigel also praised Donald for “dominating” Hillary Clinton, like a “silverback gorilla”.
• Like Tommy Robinson, Nigel has close links with Steve Bannon, Donald’s chief strategist and founder of alt-right news platform Breitbart News.
• In 2016 he also had the lowest voting record of any active MEP in parliament.
• In 2017, Nigel came under fire for anti-semitism after an LBC interview in which he described the so-called U.S. “Jewish lobby” as a concern of his.
• In April 2018, Nigel publicly stated he thinks Donald Trump should win the Nobel Peace Prize.
• Nigel made €700,000 from media appearances between 2014-2018.
• This year, he described climate change as a “scam”.
• Today, it’s been announced that the European Parliament will investigate Nigel for neglecting to declare expenses funded by Arron Banks during the Brexit referendum. Arron allegedly donated £8.4 million to the leave campaign.
Nigel’s new Brexit party is yet to reveal a list of full policies – with the leader saying he will do so after the European elections on Thursday. We’re not sure what it is, but something tells us they’re not going to be swinging in our favour.
This article is part of gal-dem’s Bad Politicians series.