I SEE Nigel Farage has popped up again like the constantly recycled raffle prize at a party fundraiser.
Now that “his” Ukip Brexit project is just around the corner, he’s turned his attention and ire to a possibly niche subject for all disproportionately angry gammon types: cyclists. Yes, you read that right, Farage has chosen cyclists as the new bet noire, saying “this country simply cannot afford to blow money on trendy ‘green’ projects”, such as low-traffic neighbourhoods”.
He’s referring of course to the reorganisation of our urban areas to accommodate more cyclists and walkers and fewer vehicles in an effort to tackle dangerous carbon emissions and air pollution.
One of the very few benefits of lockdown has been that it has limited the opportunity for the Farages of this world to pontificate, propping up the saloon bars of middle England and regaling everyone within an anti-social distance with campaign stories of the great days of the 2016 referendum.
We talk about the “Farageification” of UK politics, but perhaps “Faraging” could become a new term for cutting off your nose to spite your own face. Farage and his lowest common denominator Ukippery, in league with the BBC and their over promotion of the Tweedy pint drinker, are willing to spout any old rubbish to hook in vulnerable and disenfranchised voters. This has led us to the door of a catastrophic economic crisis.
Recession, food and medicine shortages, unemployment through the roof, destitution, government law breaking and the end of important international alliances. Oh, what a lovely Brexit.
Now, he wants to scupper attempts to save us from the looming climate crisis, just so he can enjoy belching out carbon as he is chauffeured around town in his Range Rover or whatever gas guzzler he’s got holed up in the Farage-garage. Personal freedom versus behaviour change for the survival of humanity – it’s too much to expect of this wolf in sheep’s clothing.
If 2020 has taught us anything, it’s that climate denial, science denial and pandemic denial is the road to ruin. It’s caught out the most influential man on the planet, the soon to be former president of the United States, Donald Trump. It’s caught out the UK Government, with their woeful and immoral mishandling of Covid, their failure to protect citizens and their efforts to shift the blame onto scientists. The kind of right-wing populism that Farage is so fond of, that Trump endorsed and Johnson uses to his advantage, is good for dog-whistle headlines, but when it comes to actually dealing with real-world problems, it’s as out of date as a 10 bob note.
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You’d really need to be a very cynical human being to think that more cycle lanes and less road traffic in congested areas was a bad idea when you listen to science and the danger of not heeding their warnings on global warming and environmental disaster. This year started with terrible fires raging in America and Australia, many lives lost and whole species decimated. It’s there, right in front of our eyes, in our lived experience. The horror of the pandemic is a mere dress rehearsal for the climate tsunami that threatens to engulf us sooner rather than later.
On a positive note, I have discovered an internet rule of thumb that helps me sort the whackos from the chaff. If former Tory chancellor Nigel Lawson thinks it’s a good idea, its probably not – ie this leading Brexiteer became disgruntled when he discovered it would be harder for him to hide in his French chateau post leaving the EU, duh!
Now he thinks Johnson is “crazy” to pursue a green agenda. He needn’t worry, Johnson’s green credentials will soon get the heave ho if they don’t seem to be supporting his personal career path.
In the same way, anything Farage says must be viewed through the prism of selfish bigotry. His contribution to political life these past few years will go down as contributing to one of the lowest points in our history. He even took a pop at footballers taking the knee this past weekend in support for Black Lives Matter. Farage objects to the campaign for racial equality because for him, only one life really matters: his own narrow, attention-seeking, pot-stirring and totally selfish existence.
And what do we get at the end of all this? Little Britain, clogged and polluted, isolated and ignored, male, stale and pale. Just the way Farage likes it!