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Farage's Thames Showboating Proves How Little He Really Cares For Those He Represents

16/06/2016 14:42 | Updated 16 June 2016

As the poster boy hero of the Brexit movement, Nigel Farage is less bronze god and more brass monkey.

It seems from his recent outing on the Thames that he also has something of a Poseidon complex, wafting down the river on his stately barge pronouncing on the state of the EU fisheries policy and gathering around him another group of hapless Brits with an axe to grind over our membership of Europe.

I'm not sure what part Bob Geldof plays in this rather tortured metaphor. Probably Bluebeard heading out on the waves to shout "avast!" at the chinless landlubber guffawing his way through the waves.

And shout he did, loudly voicing the truth about Farage and his band of not very merry men (with a few women thrown in for balance, assuming they've cleaned behind the fridge of course).

In what is sure to become known as the Thames 'Waterloo moment', Geldof let rip at Farage, pointing out a few home truths about his performance as an MEP and in particular his position on a little thing called the EU Fisheries Committee.

Geldof was incensed, as many of us are, that it's the very same Nigel Farage that sits on that committee. The one that could actually make a difference to the problems he went on the water to complain about. A difference that he could be making if he bothered to show up once in a while.

The fishers Farage was claiming to support were merely there as props in his latest performance. People he has otherwise demonstrated barely concealed contempt towards by his own inaction on their behalf.

As Sir Bob and Greenpeace have highlighted, by April last year Farage had only attended 1 out of 42 meetings of the committee. Odd then that he should claim to be a champion of fisher folk when it seems he's mainly the champion of taking his EU salary and sitting in the pub with a pint.

As far as UKIP's characterisation of migrants crossing the channel to scrounge on the state is concerned, it seems they have a rather good example of this in their own midst.

Indeed UKIP's 24 MEPs trouser nearly £2m in salaries every year. Taking money out of an institution they treat with contempt and yet are happy to be elected to. Preaching about waste in Brussels whilst at the same time contributing to the pile of pointless expense, disenfranchising all those they were elected to represent as part of this Faustian bargain.

This is one of the reasons we've seen so little reform in the EU over the past several years. Electing MEPs who are openly hostile to the EU and refuse to engage with its processes is not only counterproductive, it's also undemocratic and undermines the process of representation in the EU parliament.

Farage is testament to this. Far from carrying him on their shoulders down the Thames as their trusted representative, the fishermen on that boat should have thrown him in the drink with all the other discards.

This lack of democratic accountability is even more ironic considering UKIP's fondness for criticising the EU for the very same thing. Yet they and Farage have time and again demonstrated how little they care for legitimate democracy.

Just recently they complained to the electoral commission about an extension of the voter registration deadline after the government website crashed. Instead of joining every other party in encouraging people to take part in the democratic process, they whinged and threatened legal action, as seems to be their default position when anyone disagrees with them.

The only council UKIP ever took brief control of in Thanet has all but collapsed as members refuse to accept consensus between themselves and other councillors, flouncing out as soon as they don't get their own way.

Farage himself showed how little he cared for accountability and strength of character over his promise to resign his leadership role just after UKIP lost the Thanet South election. A few days later he'd un-resigned and was placing himself back on his own purple throne, proving just how much of a personality cult UKIP really is.

Today rumours have emerged about him possibility accepting a seat in the House of Lords in a post Brexit Britain, installing his backside in one of the most undemocratic institutions in Europe, thus neatly sidestepping the annoying technicality of an election.

This all of course depends on an out vote on June 23rd, but even if we vote to remain, Farage has floated the idea that we should have another referendum almost immediately. Obviously in Farageworld we print ballot papers in bulk and run the vote fortnightly until he gets the result he wants.

This is the definition of democracy according to Farage's UKIP and many others on the Brexit side. Rules of equitability, fairness, accepting the will of the people and sticking to your word don't apply to him and his cabal. He lives by principles of grand gestures, photo ops, faux responsibility and nose in the trough politics.

This is all part of the reason why EU reforms have been so difficult to achieve. Electing people like this only serves to perpetuate the inefficiencies and stagnation they claim to despise, whilst excluding us as a nation from the decisions being made on our behalf.

All somewhat at odds with the Brexiteer mantra of not wanting to be ruled by 'faceless bureaucrats'. Our MEPs may have faces, but if they constantly set them against the principles of the EU, and in many cases don't even attend parliament, how can they properly represent our interests?

As revealed by Greenpeace
, the interests that Farage was protecting on the Thames were not of small fishers, but those of wealthy fish barons, like the part owner of one of the lead trawlers in his aquatic stunt, convicted in 2012 of one of Britain's largest fishing frauds.

This is a glimpse of a UK outside the EU, controlled by millionaires (even though Farage railed against Geldof for being the very same) who'll only engage with issues they'll see as furthering their own interests.

It'll be their way or no way. A grim joyless society where anything these people don't like or don't understand will be squeezed and bruised by a process of disinformation and fear, until it's dead or departed.

Like so many societies before us, we could easily sleepwalk into a state of semi-permissive totalitarianism, convinced that it's good for us and that our masters have our best interests at heart.

A vote to leave on June 23rd will certainly float Farage's showboat to Westminster, but it's equally likely to leave the of rest us up the creek without a paddle.

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