As everyone knows, Donald Trump met with Nigel Farage before Theresa May, or indeed, any other British politician of any kind. We know this for sure because the proof was in a photograph, taken in a gold plated lift, a demonstration of the trans-Atlantic kinship between the sort of/kind of headcheese of UKIP and the leader of the free world. Off the back of this, Farage is trying to set himself up as some sort of unofficial envoy of Britain to America, a go between for Trump and May.
As usual, it is hard to understand what Trump wants or how he sees things. He tells Theresa May over the phone that he desires a “Reagan-Thatcher” relationship with her and then immediately goes and meets another British politician, someone who is not even an MP, before her. This is either Trump being utterly clueless about how even the most basic things in politics work or he is being vindictive towards May, punishing her for doubting his path to glory. I think it’s almost certainly the former. But why is Nigel Farage getting in there first so scary to anyone other than Theresa May? Because it tells us a lot about Trump but also, more frighteningly, about where the world appears to be headed.
No one can stop Trump or Steve Bannon speaking to Nigel Farage, nor should they. There are plenty of ways for Farage to use his relationship with the American executive that I’m frankly not fussed about. But trying to foist himself onto the British government – a man, let us remind ourselves, who faced the electorate of Thanet South last May and lost – going as far as to say that it would be irresponsible for the British government to deny this to him, is way out of line. Farage goes as far as to explicitly say that not giving him an official post would be tantamount to turning away from the explicit interests of the British people.
“It just goes to show they are not really interested in the country or the national interest, they are more concerned about petty party politics and trying to keep me out of everything.”
Yes, Nigel, because you have demonstrated on numerous occasions your passionate hatred for the Conservative Party, partly by helping to popularise a right-wing alternative to them but mostly by sharing a platform with Eurosceptic Tories over the years and demolishing them for being Tories. So the fact that they aren’t keen on you is pretty understandable.
British politics is built on an interlocking set of unwritten assumptions. One of them is that the party that holds a majority in the House of Commons gets to run the executive and thus, run the important relationships like the one between the country and America. Farage’s meeting Trump is a contravention of this, all a bit like Jeremy Corbyn going to Moscow, meeting with Putin and then declaring that he should get a special job handling Russo-British relations from now on because he and Vlad shared a selfie in a lift. May is right to deny Farage firmly; to let him get away with what he’s done in New York would set a very bad precedent.
Farage is a guy who wanted to wrest control out of the hands of the EU and bring it back to British courts and British parliament, both of which he is now questioning the validity of; he is trying to undermine the prime minister of the country for personal glory; he talks about the will of the British people and the importance of democracy while thinking he should be Foreign Secretary or at least a Minister for America despite having not been able to win a seat in the House of Commons. Oh what joyous times.