Vicky (Vicki?) Pollard is a tremendous creation- a whinging no-hoper, so from that point of view, it might surprise people who have read my other posts that I think the link between Farage and Pollard is wrong. Particularly as Mr Farage has now resigned without winning South Thanet, a failure for which I hope I can take some personal credit.
“no but, yeh but, what happened was- shut up. I wasn’t even supposed to be here like this… blah blah blah” Brilliant!
She blisters forth with a barrage of contradictions and bluster, some of it quite unprintable and, in fact, all beautifully cadenced.
Farage, for all his faults, is one of the best political performers in the UK today. His speeches in the Chamber of the EU alone are always worth watching on Youtube and I am sure are thrilling in real life. I love the fact that he is so confident and speaks without notes. His delivery, the content, the Chutzpah and humour are always, therefore, remarkable and it would be churlish of me not to acknowledge that. His only rhetorical rival is Boris. Just to press the point, listen to, or watch Ed Miliband who has a stream of very specific rhetorical flourishes, most of them repetitive, and that is it. He has managed a slightly better screen image of late- with some coaching, but it is nothing as extreme as the transformation wrought on Thatcher by Gordon Reece, nor indeed as effective. (Reece was a schoolboy contemporary of Norman St John Stevas at my old School Ratcliffe College) Ed remains, therefore, “nice Ed” and today watching him resign, I felt that what he really needed was a good hug. (I am not volunteering: I am not really a hugger at all) But Ed Miliband does vulnerability and that is not the diet of choice for leading British politicians today.
I can go a little further and add that on many issues, I share Mr Farage’s views. I differ significantly about immigration but I certainly recognise that the EU project, as it stands, is seriously damaged. Simply looking across to Greece, which is a country I know well confirms that Europe is no longer working properly. No country in a cohesive federation of National states should be so bullied or so shamed and punished for faults that were made years ago and with the connivance of the very countries that now seem to press for austerity. The Greek demand for reparations, incidentally, from Germany seems to me reasonable, but more reasonable would be Germany’s unconditional offer of such reparations. That way, at least the money would flow, and we would no longer be talking about debt.
When Farage tries vulnerability, however- with pleas about back-pain or, today with a reference to his plane-crash (which caused the back pain in the first place), it all seems a bit disingenuous. He is better on attack, and that is why he is no Pollard. Pollard is all stammer and alot of unprintable invective scatter-gunned at whoever might be in the Farage’s attacks have bite and bile. I should know- his people tried some of that on me!
Vicky Pollard, however, is all about vulnerability. A different type of vulnerability to Ed Miliband’s, of course. She is aggressive because she is hurt. That is not Miliband, and certainly not Farage.
I have drawn a picture of Farage as Vicky, which is below, and that is why I have given this some thought. The idea came from a tossed-off comment made on the BBC so it is not my analogy at all.
Let’s face it, a politician cannot plead for sympathy when he has lost an election. Farage tried that and he was compared on the BBC to a character from Little Britain. Well done, BBC!
However, for UKIP resignation is not about honour. It is about punishment which is why Coburn will not resign and why Farage has converted his resignation into something else. Let me offer a visual hint with refence to Cliff Richard and Greece- “Who forgot to fill the tank?”
Farage’s resignation was odd. Within minutes of resigning, he was offering to stand again for office in September. So for Farage, resignation is just a cheap holiday away from responsibility. But he remains an MEP and I have already written to him as my MEP to ask him very specific questions.
Meanwhile, the fate of the UKIP project hangs in the balance because there is no-one quite able to take the place of Farage. Suzanne Evans, who Farage recommends as interim leader, exposed herself the other night on TV as morally hollow when she failed to recognise the wealth of difference between a labour man, Sumon Hoque, dismissed for not having a proper MOT- a driving offence- and a UKIP man, Robert Blay, who has threatened to shoot a rival Sri Lankan candidate between the eyes. She pleaded, rather stupidly, that the press were over-emphasising the case of Robert Blay simply because he was a UKIPPER. If anything, they underplayed the story because of a BBC fear about political bias in the days immediately before the election.
Because of the postal votes, the system in both cases went ahead. the labour guy insisted he was still standing; I am not sure Blay has said anything and I assume both that Blay did not attend the count and that the votes were wasted. The issue is largely academic but it would have been interesting if either had come first.
In the case of Jason Zadrozny, who was arrested I think just before the campaign began, he withdrew from the election process himself. As I understand it, unless the issue was bankruptcy, criminal proceedings would not automatically bar a candidate from standing in an election and indeed Bobby Sands was elected to Parliament in 1981, the then youngest MP but a prisoner who died a month after his election. Prisoners who are serving gaol sentences of more than a year’s length are now forbidden to stand under the Representation of the People Act 1981.
My red line, however, remains: Racism, in any form, cannot be condoned, and, so far, I understand neither Humza Yousaf nor Ranil Jayawardena has received a written apology from the leader of UKIP or from anyone claiming that authority. If Mr Farage has indeed resigned, and if Evans is appointed only as a caretaker, then maybe there is now no-one left to write these letters until a new leader is elected in Septamber. Should Mr Farage don the mantle again then, I suppose these questions will remain there to haunt him. And certainly whoever succeeds to authority in UKIP would take on the responsibility of writing at least the three letters I have myself demanded of the leader. This is quite apart from the demand that Mr Coburn MEP should resign, which I suppose is his own decision now as there will be no leader with the authority to command his suspension. I still hold out hope that Farage has a heart and will take proper responsibility during the next few weeks to sort out what he has so far not bothered to do. I would genuinely like to hear that he has bothered to respond. And anyway, Paul Oakden in his interview on Radio Northampton promised that “after the election, he will get round to” answering me. Who knows!
I remain an optimist.