NIgel Farage is, at the same time, a barnstorming politician and a voice crying in the wilderness. But, and there is a point to my writing, there are pearls to be found in amongst the many lines he speaks so easily.
He isn’t standing for Parliament himself, which is probably wise. Given his track record of seven times showing up at an election, and no wins to his credit, he is possibly not wishing to add yet another failure to his CV.
But, after listening carefully to his first Election speech to the Brexit faithful in Carlisle, we must remember that this is a man who, single-handedly, brought a Political Party from obscurity to 4,000,000 votes, unfortunately in a First-Past-the-Post General Election. This is a man who formed and led a team, know only as the Brexit Party; from nothing, in four weeks, to achieving twenty nine seats in the European Parliament which he reviles on a daily basis. This is a Politician with a capital ‘P’, who knows the back-alleys of the European Parliamentary system as though he was born into them.
Two small gems which emerged from Farage’s speech in Carlisle should be examined very carefully. He stated that this United Kingdom should update itself in regard to its Politics. He suggests a Referendum on items of interest to Britons. I ask you? What is more democratic than actually asking the voters what their cash should be spent on? The average politician would run a mile from such ideas and idealism. Switzerland does it all the time. In Cantons, in Federal areas, the Politicians ask, and sometimes, they are told, in no uncertain terms; what exactly to do with their bright ideas. Can anyone imagine any party in this convoluted UK giving credence to such an outlandish idea?
The second is much more valid, and, with all Parties, is worthy of exploration. What to be done with the House of Lords. In times gone by, the Lords was worthy of respect, of a tinge of awe. Here were scientists, engineers, landed men and women men and women who did not need to be proven of their worth. Usually wealthy, they wore their titles casually, and gave independent scrutiny to Bills passed forwards by the Commons. It is only in the past four decades that the Lords began the downward spiral, after the gerrymandered changes brought in by the Blair Government, where the Hereditaries were unceremoniously turned out, and politicised Life Peerages brought in. The Life Peerages, where between Labour and Tories, have sent six hundred placemen, failed politicians and celebs alike, into a place where they can sway the passage of a Bill. I cannot understand why a peerage might be offered to a black entertainer on children’s television, but Floella Benjamin sits in the Lords, and can influence Legislation. Doreen Lawrence’s one claim to fame was that her black son (who was either a would-be architect or a drug dealer) was murdered by a bunch of white men. After the trials, and a one-sided inquiry into policing, she was elevated to the Peerage, and sits, ermine-clad, when Her Majesty opens Parliament.
How the Lords could be reconstituted in such a manner as to be less political, is a conundrum for this decade: all I know is that Nigel is right, and change is long overdue