The making of a modern British monster

LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
LEP Columnist Barry Freeman
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There he is, Nigel Farage, pint in hand, cig on bottom lip, the coming strongman, impervious it would appear to the slings and arrows of outraged liberal opinion.

Newspapers left, right and centre have rallied to their parties at this pivotal moment and turned united fire on the common foe.

For obvious reasons this has been a tougher line to sell on the right. After all, these rags have long enjoyed public flirtation with UKIP, ever hopeful of luring a jealous Tory spouse in their crazy direction.

Still, at times of peril it is the tie (Eton mostly) that binds, and thus they have dutifully discharged their older obligations.

Racism, hypocrisy, economic extremism, downright cretinism, these and rank delights of every persuasion have been hung about the neck of Farage and UKIP in the long run-up to these elections.

But to what effect?

Polls have UKIP winning May 22 outright with around 29-32% of the vote. Several points up on Labour, who UKIP trailed by a larger margin before campaigning proper began.

It’s a mystery.

Unless, of course, you recall how often the medium tends to become the message.

All the mud in the world can be flung at UKIP from this direction – and from the BBC and respective party members themselves – and its only effect will be to entrench their burgeoning support.

In large part a vote for UKIP is as much a vote against these people – a perceived metrocentric media elite – as against its doppelgänger in Westminster.

Interchangeable faces, Fleet Street to Whitehall, rotating cast of mostly wealthy privately-educated careerists, all on message, all in business of acquiring and wielding power, in any form, by any means.

A multi-headed entity, shot through with nepotism and Old School Tie-dom, moreover, which breathed life into stuttering lame dog UKIP in the first place. A useful threat on the ‘respectable’ far right; detritus sucked into the vacuum born when New Labour decided its traditional support could be safely left to back them out of habit, with nowhere else to turn.

Like Mary Wollstonecraft’s mad Baron, these Frankensteins built a crazed monster which today seeks their destruction. They chase it to the old windmill now, half aware the angry townsfolk they seek to rouse and guide would as soon they burned ahead of the beast...