Lynton Crosby appeared at a speaking engagement in his native land very recently and took aim at political pundits. Fair enough – if I were him, I’d do the same thing. It’s hard not to gloat when a whole contingent of people are shown to be definitively wrong about you (I’m in that category of being wrong about Lynton myself, by the way).
He also had a suggestion for Nigel Farage and what he should do with his career now that the electorate has once again chosen not to have him in the House of Commons:
“Sixth or seventh time he’s tried to win a Westminster seat. I think he might be better coming to Australia and doing talkback radio than trying to run another seat in the UK.”
Lynton Crosby is not someone I tend to see eye to eye with, but this is genuinely a cracking idea. Only I wouldn’t waste Farage on radio – I’d put him on telly. An Australian talk show host gig would be brilliant for Nigel, wouldn’t it?
Down under, Farage would be less constrained by Anglo-European modes of political correctness, and would be in a country that’s definitively to the right of the UK on many things favourable to Nigel’s worldview. The set could be done up like a pub, a sort of Commonwealth version of the old Dean Martin Show, where guests could sup on real ale specially imported from Blighty for the occasion.
I don’t mention this because it’s a show I’d ever want to see, nor because I’m afraid of what Farage will be able to do for the No campaign. Like I’ve said many times, I think he’ll be a net-negative to those who will try and pull us out of Europe due to how divisive a character his public persona has become. No, I do it because – and you can believe me on this or not, but it’s the truth – I kind of feel sorry for Nigel and the automobile accident he’s clearly driving towards.
The man risks becoming a pariah, a sacrificial goat, on his own patch of land. For if the Yes campaign win the European referendum – and particularly if it wins by a large margin – Farage will be made a rather large scapegoat regarding the failure. For some, the love of Nige will never die, but this happens with all cults of personality; for most UKIPers, moving on will be paramount post-referendum. Given Farage won’t quit either, they’ll have to sack him. It will be ugly.
Farage could avoid all that starting today by flying down to Sydney and getting his new life started. If he did that, he’d be in the clear no matter what – if No won, he could say that it was he and UKIP that laid the groundwork, indeed got Cameron to pledge to having the referendum in the first place; if Yes wins, he can make a claim that had he stuck around, he could have influenced the result. Either way, he wins. And instead of being ignominiously sacked from a party he pulled up from the mud and ruled with an iron grip, he would be miles away from it all.
A month before the general election, I wrote about what I thought Farage was going to do when he failed to win a seat again. Although I was wrong (I’d underestimated his attachment to leading UKIP these days), I still think I was onto something. For imagine how much happier Nigel would be in the sunshine of Oz, a lauded celebrity entertainer, as opposed to having to spend his time fighting amongst the No crowd. Remember how he said in his resignation that turned out not to be a resignation speech that “on a personal level I believe an enormous weight has been lifted from my shoulders and I’ve never felt happier”? Australia is waiting for you, Mr. Farage.