Nigel Farage is the Prince Harry of politics – only with cunning

Margaret Thatcher was vehemently against applause-seekers like Nigel Farage
Margaret Thatcher was vehemently against applause-seekers like Nigel Farage - George Cracknell Wright

The allurement that men like Nigel Farage hold out to journalists is precisely the allurement that Cape Hatteras holds out to sailors; they are enormously dangerous and hence enormously exciting. To the average Right-wing columnist, doomed to banal drudgery for most of our lives, they offer the only grand hazard we have ever encountered. Thus it has become customary in recent weeks to refer to Mr Farage as the most consequential politician since Margaret Thatcher.

I understand that many Telegraph readers have succumbed to his seductive baits, but really? I knew Lady Thatcher, and to compare the two is to compare the Uffizi Gallery to a third-rate auction house.

Every generation gets the politicians it deserves, and Mr Farage is reality TV’s answer to Sunak and Starmer. His career has been a vast, eye-catching way to self-medicate on the drugs of bombast and vanity.

Farage presents himself as a break with the past, but what he really offers is more chaos without substance. He is not even on the Right. Populists, whatever their claims, never are.

They are tummy ticklers and shapeshifters, who would promise a one-hour orgasm to a Turkish eunuch.

Farage has no time for free-market economics or its disciplines. He has no time for discipline, being physiologically incapable of running a team of any kind. It is instructive to remember that he has fallen out with almost every comrade he has ever had, detonated almost every alliance he has ever made, and presided over more rows than anyone in politics.

His actual achievements hardly bear scrutiny. Here is a man who has tried and failed to be elected as an MP seven times. Here is a man who didn’t win Brexit, because Vote Leave did. Here is a man who the generals of Leave, including Johnson and Gove, refused to associate with because they penetrated his bunkum and saw him as a liability. Here is a man who claims that Reform UK will become the official opposition, when psephologists predict it will win one seat. Here is a man who is hoping the Conservatives may be reduced to fewer than 100 MPs, when, as a cursory glance at the texts will tell you, this has never happened in the entire history of the party.

(Any talk of a Canada scenario is piffle, as you would have to be swivel-eyed to believe the Conservatives will be left with just two seats.) Here is a man who believes he can take over the Tory party, when the majority of its MPs will never forgive him for what he has done to their electoral prospects.

Readers must know in their hearts that his motive is gainful, with no guilt accruing to it. Here is a man who seeks to give Starmer, a socialist with poisons more deadly than those of the Borgias, a majority of such proportions that the country will never recover; making Farage an enabler of tax rises, unions unleashed, VAT on private schools and the genocide of small businesses.

Here is a man who claims to be a patriot, but has named Putin as the world leader he most admires. Moscow’s rose. Behind the façade of frankness, Farage is as slippery as a peddler’s store of unguents. Here is a man who is a master of the venomous insinuation, who knows he will always get off scot-free; hence his remark that Rishi Sunak doesn’t get British culture.

Here is a man whose disciples come from where the grass grows high, and where racism and idiocy still hold their puissance. (Ten Reform UK candidates have been expelled or suspended for remarks both unsavoury and certifiable, including likening black people to “baboons”. An eleventh has said we should not have fought Hitler.)

Here is a man acting not from principle but from pique, because he cannot forgive Vote Leave and the Tories for shunning him and refusing him a Triumph. He is to statesmen what comedians are to great actors, a sort of reductio ad absurdum of them.

Here is man whose success may seem vast, but is hollow as well, and may yet prove to be a huge and preposterous nothing. Here is a man who is acclaimed by yelling multitudes, but who makes up these multitudes? Homo neanderthalensis. Wherever the flambeaux of bilge smokes and gutters, he sets out his traps. The Reform vote is soft and illusory, less Viagra than Wegovy, and in the week before the election, Farage’s party is likely to perform well below the Tories in the most reliable polls.

Margaret Thatcher would have despised him. She was vehemently against applause-seekers, and her greatest aspiration was to prevent a socialist government with a large majority from ever ruling in Britain again. I spent the election night of 1992 in her company.

Though she had been ousted by her party, she turned and said to me, when it was clear John Major had won, “Thank God.”  She would have seen Farage as a traitor to the national interest, and a one-trick phoney at that. Indeed, in some ways, he is the Prince Harry of politics, only with cunning; perpetually delusional, perpetually vengeful. Ask yourself, would you wish your daughter to marry such a person? If the answer is no, do not vote for him. Do not listen to his siren song. For here is a man, who on July 5, is going to look like an ass.