British politician Nigel Farage has illusions of grandeur addressing a conference in Washington. Americans should not be taken in by his shameless hate-mongering.
In a recent speech, Farage claimed that mosques in Britain have been infiltrated by criminal hate preachers, and warned that religious minorities need to understand the law of the land. The Ukip leader was speaking to a US audience about Islamic extremism ahead of his appearance at a hard-right Conservative conference in Washington.
Asked about the recruiting of jihadis from the west, Farage said the UK had been “appeasing” Islamic extremists and repeated his belief that multiculturalism is to blame for the phenomenon of western citizens joining Islamic State (ISIS).
First, while there may be a few hard-line Imams in Britain, their number and influence is far outweighed by the majority of Muslims who respect their governing body, the Muslim Council of Britain, which has condemned violence and the so-called “radicalization of youth”. Second, by using the word “appease” Farage is deliberately and misleadingly evoking Neville Chamberlain’s “appeasement” of Adolf Hitler in 1938. In so doing he raises the evil of Nazism as a means of provoking fear. Third, multiculturalism has been present in Britain for over two thousand years and has nothing to do with a handful of misguided western citizens joining ISIS. Fourth, there is little evidence that people belonging to religious minorities in Britain are any less law-abiding than anyone else.
“Ukip’s manifesto is a collection of promises selected, seemingly, on the basis of ‘twenty things that really annoy people’, with no inkling of implementation method or any costings: a wish list for The Annoyed. Scared of immigrants? Vote Ukip. Insecure about the financial crisis? Vote Ukip. Hate the smoking ban, HS2, Brussels, travellers, burqas, regulation, tax, Boris, debt, wind farms, quangos, foreign aid, crime, Abu Qatada, tuition fees, lazy people, Muslims, foreigners, the hunting ban? Vote Ukip.”
To a large extent these are purely domestic issues. But Farage has international pretensions and imagines himself a latter-day Oswald Mosley – founder in 1932 of the British Union of Fascists. As revealed by historian Stephen Dorril in his book Blackshirt (2006), the BUF was funded in part by the Nazis. There is no evidence that Ukip has yet been funded by the Russian mafia, but the party is courting European right-wing groups. As Alex Andreou also noted:
“Ukip is part of the group Europe of Freedom and Democracy (EFD). The group includes representatives of the Danish People’s Party, the True Finns Party, the Dutch SGP and the infamous Italian Lega Nord – all of them far-right. Nigel Farage is co-President of the group along with Lega Nord’s Francesco Speroni, who described multiple murderer Anders Breivik as someone whose ‘ideas are in defence of western civilisation’.”
Farage was in Washington to address the Conservative Political Action Conference hosted by the American Conservative Union (ACU) – the oldest conservative lobbying organization in the country. High-profile Republicans attending the conference (where a reception was hosted by the National Rifle Association gun lobby) included Sarah Palin, Jeb Bush, Donald Trump and Ted Cruz. What they heard was doubtless music to their ears.
Nigel Farage spouts bigotry and hatred dipped in the honeyed words of the practised charlatan. He does not speak for the British people. Don’t ignore him. Speak out against him!