It would be fair to say that Nigel Farage has been basking in a post-Brexit glow these past few months, held up as the man of the hour by assorted xenophobes, racists, and right wing cranks -- the kind of people who walk around in Union Jack underpants and find themselves fighting back tears during the opening credits of Zulu. Indeed not only is Nigel the man of the hour in this company, his stock is such that he has even been admitted into the Golden Temple that is Trump Tower, rubbing shoulders with the man who intends to Make America Great (White) Again.
This means that when he speaks we are required to listen, even when what we are listening to is the verbal equivalent of a proctologist's worst day.
Nigel's most recent intervention came in response to the terrorist atrocity in Berlin. In response to the attack Farage tweeted that it was "Merkel's legacy" -- i.e. directly attributable to the German Chancellor's open door policy towards refugees. He subsequently found himself embroiled in a Twitter exchange with Brendan Cox, husband of murdered MP Jo Cox. It culminated in Farage, during an interview with LBC's Nick Ferrari, accusing Mr Cox of courting extremism himself via his support for the anti-racism campaign group Hope Not Hate. As a result the organisation is now threatening Nigel Farage with legal action.
It is worth recalling that Jo Cox was murdered in the run up to the EU referendum earlier this year not by a Muslim, refugee, asylum seeker, or migrant, but by a white British citizen and Brexit-supporting fascist. It is also worth pointing out that the free movement of people across the EU, of which Nigel Farage has made it his life's work to oppose, is not and never has been a source of terrorism in the UK. As for refugees and asylum seekers, they are in a distinct category when it comes to being admitted into countries, such as Germany, across Europe, and have zero bearing on the issue of free movement. Of course this is something you might expect a man who's spent more than a few years as an MEP to know. And, of course, he knows it full well. But here we are talking about someone who never misses an opportunity to stick the boot into those migrants and refugees, even if it means having a go at the widower of a woman who was slaughtered in the street by a terrorist of the white British variety.
It is impossible to avoid the conclusion that Nigel Farage is so low he could get under a snake's belly wearing a top hat. Indecency, after all, is his default position on any given topic; in fact make that his only given topic - namely the despoilation of this green and pleasant land by people who might dare arrive here seeking work or sanctuary.
Though, clearly, Brendan Cox is someone who does not need anyone to speak up for him, his dignity and bearing in the wake of his horrific loss is of a sort that allows us to retain hope that we do not yet live in a society totally and irredeemably lost to hatred, bigotry, and intolerance. If only someone would tell that to the mainstream media, however, which continues to give Farage a platform from which to spout his reactionary bile.
Indeed the former Ukip leader's elevation to mainstream prominence is evidence of the extent to which we are living in an upside down world, wherein every problem, everything wrong, is somehow and in some way connected to foreigners. It has reached the point of madness, responsible for propelling us off the end of a Brexit cliff whereupon we now find ourselves flying through the air with no idea when or where we will land. All we know is that when we do finally come to rest it will likely not be in one piece.
Nigel Farage represents all that is indecent in our politics and society, while Brendan Cox represents all that is decent. Sadly, as 2016 draws to a close it is Farage's Britain more than Brendan Cox's that find ourselves living in. However the struggle to reverse this dynamic is not yet over. It is a struggle that not only can be won but must be won. With this mind let 2017 be a year when bigotry, racism, and intolerance is met with fierce opposition of a sort consistent with a just and civilised society.
Donations to the Hope Not Hate fund for legal action against Farage can be made here.