Nigel Farage: “I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives”

Nigel Farage gave his first post-Brexit speech to the European Parliament today. Were you hoping he’d be magnanimous in victory? Me too. At a time of incredible tension and uncertainty, Britain now needs to lead a mature, diplomatic dialogue that ensures we are able to build new trade (and social) bridges with the countries we’ve just politically rejected.

Diplomatically, what Farage has just said to the EU can be paraphrased as “fuck you”. In fact, what he actually said was far more offensive:

When I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me – well I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you? … You as a political project are in denial… I’ll make one prediction this morning: the United Kingdom will not be the last member state to leave the European Union… I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives, or worked in business, or worked in trade, or indeed ever created a job. But listen, just listen… If you were to cut off your noses to spite your faces and reject any idea of a sensible trade deal the consequences would be far worse for you than it would be for us.

This is the nasty face of Britain and the nasty face of right-wing British politics. Farage showed absolutely no regard for the diplomatic relations of Britain, he instead made it a personal power-show to gloat and goad. Farage’s speech was a grotesque victory dance, a display of superior arrogance.

It’s this attitude that fuelled the misplaced “Britain once had an Empire” and “Make Britain Great Again” mentality that so much of the populous fell for. And now, that dangerous mix of arrogance and ignorance – so often evident at this side of the political spectrum – has been laid out on the European stage for all to see.

As IanMiddletonX said in the comments box of this Independent article:

A man who has led and inspired a campaign that has, by his own admission, lied and connived to the British people to con them into voting for economic suicide, simply to assuage the xenophobia that almost totally informs his view on the world, lectures the EU about political lies and deception.

I’m so ashamed that this man is representing me in Europe and the world.

You can watch his full speech here.

Where do we go from here?

The votes have been cast: 52% (17.1 million) voted for Britain to leave the EU last Thursday. I won’t bother addressing the reasons or validity in this post but thought I’d instead look at where we go from here.

As I see it, we have three basic options depending on what happens next.

Option 1 — We leave the EU

Well that’s what people voted for, right? Sort of. The referendum being only advisory to Westminster means that a total Brexit isn’t yet a foregone conclusion. It does still seem the most likely option in the interests of retaining a scrap of respect for the political class and a strained democratic process.

A full-on Brexit would be set in motion by a new Prime Minister triggering Article 50. However, no one seems to want the poisoned chalice with even Boris reneging on some of his promises and talking in synonyms of a half-way house. Which leads me on to…

Option 2 — The Norway Model

We leave the EU but remain members of the Common Market and, by extension, Freedom of Movement of Labour. This means we could put some immigration controls in place with regards EU migrants, although this would only be by agreement of all EU member states (unlikely) and a token gesture at that. The EU don’t want to be seen to be giving into the demands of a rogue state and the idea of them renegotiating now is arrogant. It would also be a big disservice to those that voted Leave largely on the basis of immigration.

Option 3 — We don’t leave the EU

Not quite as far-fetched as you may think (source). Westminster is under no legal obligation to honour the referendum result, even if there is a moral obligation. As the PM is stepping down to hand over the negotiations in our status to someone else, there is sufficient support in the argument that another General Election should be called where all Leaders put forward their mandates.

Democracy in Britain doesn’t mean majority rule. It’s not the tyranny of the majority or the tyranny of the mob … it’s the representatives of the people, not the people themselves, who vote for them.

In this instance, the Lib Dems have pledged that they would repeal the referendum result altogether. And of Labour and a potential Tory leader, who would actually enact Article 50? If it’s not Boris or Gove, I don’t know who else would. Labour certainly wouldn’t. Most likely, a second referendum would be called where I imagine there would be a majority Remain vote on the back of the economic depression and increased racial tension.

Interesting times. Horrendous, disgusting, interesting times.

What is Barry voting for?

So the vote is nearly here and, if the polls are to be believed, those of us who feel that EU membership is fundamentally good for Britain, and Britons, could be disappointed on Friday morning. David Cameron was profoundly ignorant/clever to give the British public a vote on a decision as horrendously complicated as the EU – something that the majority of us will never be able to fully understand. The entire debate has lead me to become a passionate advocate of the EU and Britain’s membership of it.

The reasons for and against are not really worth debating further at this 11th hour. The campaigns on both sides have been shocking, albeit for different reasons. I’ve found the ‘Brexiteers’ to be very accusatory, negligent of facts (even when they’re proven beyond reasonable doubt) and insidious. The discourse from the guys at the top – Boris, Farage and Gove – has been deeply worrying. What’s worse, swathes of the British public are behind them. The messages are easy to digest and don’t require much thought. We’ve heard about the criminal rapists from Turkey, asylum seekers on boats who shouldn’t have tried in the first place (and what are they doing with mobile phones?), we’ve heard about how we could fund our entire NHS by leaving the EU and how undemocratic the institution itself is. Aside from being essentially wrong on all counts, it does demonstrate that an apparently “plain talking” politician can hoodwink most people into believing anything on the back of pseudo-nationalism. There was a group very good at this in Germany in the 1930s. Here’s the thing: you can’t talk plainly about the EU or nearly any issue surrounding it. If you can, you don’t understand the depths and complexities of it. You’re parroting.

So who are the people leading Britain’s exit from the draconian, undemocratic, unmovable EU back to a magnificent superpower?

Michael Gove: a man so fabulously arrogant and contemptuous of the people he serves, he chose to ignore nearly every practitioner and academic in his position as Education Secretary and force through legislation that the entire education establishment proved time and again to be damaging and detrimental. I don’t think there’s a man in modern politics who cares less about what’s good for the people of Britain and more for his own career and ego.

Boris Johnson: On record as supporting EU membership and his new bugbear, Turkey’s membership of it. Curiously, now against those things he’s spent most of his career supporting. An odd U-turn as his position as London Mayor expires and David Cameron’s premiership looks less than tenable. He’s wilfully distorted the figures, insisting the EU costs us £350m per week, peddled absolute crap such as the mythical “straight bananas” law, plain made up some of it – such as supposed EU regulations on bridge heights – and basically shown a complete disregard for reality or fact. And your middle-Englander UKIP voter will swallow it all as further evidence of how awful the EU is. It’s an easy sell and he sells it well with a veneer of British eccentricity. Good old Boris – piss off you other politicians with your complicated arguments and reasoning we don’t understand. I’m fed up of EU regulation on flammable clothing – if I want to put my daughter in a highly-flammable baby grow, I bloody well will. Take back control.

Nigel Farage: really? If anyone reading this truly thinks Farage is credible as a person, let alone a politician, they’re reading the wrong post. And friends with the wrong person. There’s an ‘Unfriend’ button if you scroll up.

And here’s the crux – never mind that an overwhelming majority of business leaders, politicians, academics and public service workers support Remain for reasons that directly affect them – 60-year-old Barry from East Anglia (the statistically ‘average’ Brexit voter) “BeLEAVEs in Britain”. And there are a lot of Barrys with a lot of free time they can use to vote. And here’s the other thing: Barry won’t be affected either way, but you and I will be.

I believe in Britain. I believe in an open, tolerant and inclusive Britain. I believe in the Britain that co-founded the European Union in the first place and I believe in the EU’s founding principles. I believe in a Britain that doesn’t think it’s obscene to give money to developing countries and countries in need when we’re the fifth largest economy in the world. I believe in an EU that’s invested quite literally billions more than we’ve given them in this country alone. Above all, I believe in a very different Britain to Farage, Gove and Boris. That’s what I’ll be voting for on Thursday.

I sort of quite like Britain as it is and I quite like the innumerable things the EU has done for me, my family, my business and Britain as a whole. I do not want to follow the path the champions of Brexit are laying out for us. Neither do you. ‪#‎VoteRemain‬.