POLITICS

Nigel Farage's 'Victory' Speech To European Parliament Prompts Facepalms All Round

Ukip leader without irony: 'I would like to see a grown-up attitude.'

28/06/2016 11:21 | Updated 28 June 2016

Just when you thought Britain's relationship with Europe couldn't get any worse, Nigel Farage pitched up to Brussels and gave the speech of a bad winner.

The UKIP leader was booed, heckled and prompted politicians to put their head in their hands when the MEP of 17 years spoke to the European Parliament for the first time since the 'Brexit' vote.

BBC

Farage, at his most bombastic, hailed the 52%-48% vote as a "seismic result" and a victory for the "little people" who have "rejected bug politics" - before launching into fierce, deliberately offensive tirade aimed at so-called colleagues in the room, which began his pitch for a new tariff-free deal with the bloc. 

Blissfully unaware of the irony, he began: 

"I would like to see a grown-up and sensible attitude to how we negotiate a different relationship.

"Now I know 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."

With the hall getting restless, European Parliament President Martin Schulz intervened: "I understand you are getting emotional but you are acting like UKIP act in this chamber. Please. Don't imitate them." 

Undeterred, Farage continued: 

"If you were to decide to cut off your noses to spite your faces, and to reject any idea of a sensible trade deal the consequences would be far worse for you than it would be for us. Even no deal is better for the United Kingdom than the rotten deal we have at the moment."

He concluded:

"We will be your best friends in the world, but allow us to go off and pursue out global ambition and future."

EU Farage

The reaction in the UK was largely one of embarrassment, and fears his actions are dangerous.

Before Farage spoke, the European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker appeared to attemot to strike a conciliatory tone - pulling Farage toward him and gave him an air-kiss on the cheek.

Geert Vanden Wijngaert/AP

But the mood soon darkened when Juncker questioned what Ukip was doing there.

"That's the last time you are applauding here ... and to some extent I'm really surprised you are here. You are fighting for the exit. The British people voted in favour of the exit. Why are you here?"

Full transcript of Farage speech

Isn’t it funny? 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? The reason you’re so upset, you’re so angry, has been perfectly clear, from all the angry exchanges this morning.

You as a political project are in denial. You’re in denial that your currency is failing. Just look at the Mediterranean! As a policy to impose poverty on Greece and the Mediterranean you’ve done very well. 

You’re in denial over Mrs. Merkel’s call for as many people as possible to cross the Mediterranean – which has led to massive divisions between within countries and between countries.

The biggest problem you’ve got and the main reason the UK voted the way it did is because you have by stealth and deception, and without telling the truth to the rest of the peoples of Europe, you have imposed upon them a political union. When the people in 2005 in the Netherlands and France voted against that political union and rejected the constitution you simply ignored them and brought the Lisbon treaty in through the back door.

What happened last Thursday was a remarkable result – it was a seismic result. Not just for British politics, for European politics, but perhaps even for global politics too. 

Because what the little people did, what the ordinary people did – what the people who’d been oppressed over the last few years who’d seen their living standards go down did – was they rejected the multinationals, they rejected the merchant banks, they rejected big politics and they said actually, we want our country back, we want our fishing waters back, we want our borders back. 

We want to be an independent, self-governing, normal nation. That is what we have done and that is what must happen. In doing so we now offer a beacon of hope to democrats across the rest of the European continent. I’ll make one prediction this morning: the United Kingdom will not be the last member state to leave the European Union.

The question is what do we do next? It is up to the British government to invoke article 50 and I don’t think we should spend too long in doing it. I totally agree that the British people have voted, we need to make sure that it happens. 

What I’d like to see is a grownup and sensible attitude to how we negotiate a different relationship. I know that virtually none of you have never 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.

Intervention

You’re quite right Mr Schultz – Ukip used to protest against the establishment and now the establishment protests against Ukip. Something has happened here. Let us listen to some simple pragmatic economics – my country and your country, between us we do an enormous amount of business in goods and services. That trade is mutually beneficial to both of us, that trade matters. 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.

Even no deal is better for the United Kingdom is better than the current rotten deal that we’ve got.  But if we were to move to a position where tariffs were reintroduced on products like motorcars then hundreds of thousands of German works would risk losing their jobs. 

Why don’t we be grown up, pragmatic, sensible, realistic and let’s cut between us a sensible tariff-free deal and thereafter recognise that the United Kingdom will be your friend, that we will trade with you, cooperate with you, we will be your best friends in the world. Do that, do it sensibly, and allow us to go off and pursue our global ambitions and future.

Eric Vidal / Reuters
Nigel Farage holds the British flag ahead of his "facepalm address"

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