The good ship GB News is listing dangerously to the Left. As one of its presenters takes the knee, the moral fibre of the country is at stake. The captain flails around desperately: “Is there anyone on board who can sail?!”
Luckily for our failing start-up, an unassuming commodities broker raises a tentative hand. Doffing his flat-cap and rolling up his sleeves, Nigel Farage bravely prepares to steer the creaking vessel into safer waters.
Having “got Brexit done” and (presumably) become bored of selling greetings for £75 a shot on Cameo, Farage is now free to devote his time to captaining as many sinking ships as possible. If his recent tweets are anything to go by, we can expect a boatload of anti-immigration rhetoric and pseudo-Christian moralising taken straight from The Trump Campaign Handbook. In keeping with this “What the Farage” interview with Dan Wootton, we should also expect a significant amount of hand-wringing over the apparently desperate moral state of the country as a whole.
Farage’s faux-outrage at a Church of England bishop caring more about human lives than the sanctity of marriage sits uncomfortably alongside his own marriages, of course; the first ending in divorce and the second wrecked by his commitment to Brexit.
Despite having found himself on the losing side of American politics, and 10 grand lighter, Farage maintains a connection with American Christian youth organisation Turning Point, determined to instil some Bible-belt morals into the UK. Just like Farage, the student members of Turning Point UK claim to speak for the ordinary person. They don’t need the opinions of MPs, politicians or the mainstream media to speak for them. They are the direct descendants of Lords, attended expensive private schools and live in 28 acres of the Home Counties or Knightsbridge. They are trust-fund babies, fashion models, heirs to financial fortunes… you know, just like the rest of us.
Their morals are unquestionable, which is a good thing when you consider that a prominent member, 22-year-old Maximilian Habib (son of ex-Brexit Party MP and friend of Farage, Ben Habib), is the proud father of a son who was born roughly three months after his 2019 wedding to his university girlfriend. This fact, along with her identity (which I will not be revealing here), is naturally never mentioned. He prefers to emphasise his commitment to fatherhood and The Family.
Of course this is the ultimate grift. Just as Nick Griffin promoted the BNP as a party for the working classes despite his Cambridge education, so Farage and GB News are set on selling the UK a story of a deeply moral, working class hero. Blame the immigrants, the Lefties, the journalists and the (other) posh blokes in power. If only we’d had these down-to-earth millionaires two years ago, lockdown wouldn’t have happened, Covid wouldn’t have dared to darken our doors and the immigrant doctors saving our lives wouldn’t have been allowed to come over here and steal our jobs.
Their audience are “turkeys voting for Christmas”, who appear to vote against their own best interests because the Left hasn’t adequately represented them since Scargill stepped down, and the Right have locked themselves in an ivory tower at the back of Barnard Castle. Seemingly lacking any viable options, many have fallen for the dubious charm of GB News and its anchors, apparently oblivious to the lies that Little Old England is under siege and the extreme right wing is the way forward.
And this is where the real problem lies. GB News’s loud support for the common man might be played on cheap kazoos with all the sincerity of a televangelist, but it’s the only vaguely familiar tune a lot of people are hearing.
While Boris Johnson whines about being forced to live on the equivalent of a half-decent lottery win and Jacob Rees-Mogg admonishes us for “carping on” about not wanting to die, Farage and co are out there empathising with people. To them, this is a game; the result of too little understanding that giving up the Great British traditions of racism and bone-headed exceptionalism are not the spectre of cultural Marxism at work. Farage has yet to attend an anti-mask protest in person or shove a lit flare up his bum (although I’m sure you could request it on his Cameo account), but those who do presumably have his full support.
Given Farage’s track record, it is unlikely that GB News will be any more successful than Reform UK or the Unfortunate Mr Fox’s political career. These extreme right-wing voices are active on Twitter but the very existence of GB News, and its desperate scramble to conjure into being the culture war they want us all to fear, is a sign of impending demise.
Contrary to their scaremongering, Britain still exists and being British still means something. It means inclusion, open-mindedness and the willingness to work together for the good of everyone (especially those who cannot stand for themselves). It means wearing a mask when it will save the lives of the immuno-compromised, taking in children who have sailed a hundred miles to escape likely death and feeding those for whom school holidays mean starvation.
It also means seeing the working class as more than a trope. Labour needs to speak with us, as well as for us, and we all need to stop letting self-important, wealthy men rope us into the demonisation of a community who have been repeatedly scapegoated to provide a distraction from government failings. Farage and friends won’t like it (and will probably make a whole new channel just to show how marginalised they’re becoming), but it really won’t matter.