By Babajide Alabi
Last week two of the world most controversial politicians were at each other’s sides. They are the loud and sometimes “gibberish talking” politicians – British Nigel Farage and American Donald Trump. Watching these two men on that Jackson, Mississippi event was one of the creepiest scenes in recent times.
By Trump’s body language and facial expression, he was delighted to have the controversial Farage help him to shore up his rating which had taken a drop in recent times. Trump could not help but grin from side to side in approval of every word coming out of the mouth of the outgoing leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP).
The appearance of Farage at a Trump event was a surprise to many people, especially back in his native country – Great Britain. To Farage, this invitation seemed more like an endorsement as a “leader” who has stepped up his game. It was an opportunity for him to take a centre stage in world politics. An opportunity he was not ready to give up.
Farage, nor Trump are men who need no introduction. They are celebrities in their own rights. While Trump has been described as the new face of American politics by his loud and unguarded speeches at rallies, Farage is regarded as the polished version of a member of the British Nationalist Party (BNP).
Trump is the Presidential candidate for the Republican Party whose main campaign is centred around immigration. Until recently, Trump has not hidden his dislike for the immigrants to his country whom he has stopped short of calling criminals. His immigration plans are as alarming as the scare campaign that his friend Farage ran in the run off to the 2015 elections.
Trump’s famous sound bites of building a physical wall along the US/Mexico border and deporting all immigrants sound like ideas copied from Farage’s campaign notes. The two men may be thousands of miles apart, their hearts beat to the same rhythm. They share same ideas that definitely appeal to a good sized section of their audiences. Birds of the same feather flock together.
Farage is not a lover of immigrants. He has never hidden his hatred for them and at every opportunity he is quick to heap all the blames for the economic, social and political woes of the British on the immigrants. Just like Trump, he believes immigrants contribute nothing but takes so much from his country. To Farage, the failing UK schools, hospitals, banks etc are the faults of immigrants.
Farage did not publicly endorse Trump at the rally in Jackson, but he was not short of words for the 15000-strong Trump supporters. He said he brought hope and optimism from the recently concluded referendum for Britain to exit the European Union. He had come to propel the supporters to beat the establishment in Washington just like his people did when they took the UK borders back.
The most famous of his lines at the event was “I will say this: if I was an American citizen, I wouldn’t vote for Hillary Clinton if you paid me!” He would not even vote for Hillary if she decided to pay him. This is classic Farage on a world stage throwing the gauntlet like no one else can.
In recent days I cannot explain why I seem to pay more attention to every activity of Farage, but no doubt I am getting more interested in him than before. I guess I am not the only one in this situation. Farage is not a man you can push aside or ignore. One way or the other he has been rubbing his type of politics in our noses for quite some time.
Every time I see Farage on national television doing what he knows how to do best – talking, I am excited and all ears. Many times I have asked myself what was it about this man that makes him so irresistible. Naturally, he is not a man I should gravitate towards because of his toxic politics. But I just cannot help myself.
Farage is indeed not such a stranger to us any more after his audacious efforts during the referendum. An interesting man who was propelled to the national stage a couple of years ago. His “entrance” into UK’s mainstream politics was not on a platter of gold or opportunities, it was his choice of words and the way and manner he whipped up nationalistic sentiments that endeared him to the extreme camp of citizens.
In the 2010 General Elections, little or nothing was known about Farage except the news of his near fatal air accident on the elections day. Miraculously he survived to live another day and continue his immigrants bashing campaigns.
After the elections, his profile was on the rise with his brand of politics which caught most people unawares. By 2015, he was a force to reckon with and for the first time in the history of British politics, a leader of a sideline political party was on same podium with other leaders participating in live national TV debates.
Farage’s efforts and popularity did not, however, translate to electoral victory as expected. In disappointment of himself and probably his supporters, he attempted turning his back on his party, but was dragged back by his faithfuls to continue with his “good works”. Apparently, they thought his best days were not here yet.
Indeed, they were right. Farage’s best days came before and during the referendum. Infact, he became the face of the BREXIT group, and he made a good show of it. He ran an energetic campaign to get Britain out of the Union. He had, not at anytime, hid his desire to make Britain an island of its own where only citizens would be granted access to live and work.
Farage is a man with passion. There is no doubt that he sleeps and dreams of a Great Britain where immigrants have no place nor voice. He has a huge audience in frustrated unemployed British voters who were bent on “making Britain great again”, without the immigrants. Although after winning the referendum Farage threw in the towel once again, this has not diminished his status in any way.
2016 has been a year of good showing for Farage and his friend Trump. While Farage can lay claim to his contributions for the exit of Britain from the EU, Trump surprised all bookmakers to become the Republican Party presidential nominee. A few years back, these two were mostly tolerated on the political scenes. A Trump presidency was unthinkable as Farage appearing at a US political campaign was unthinkable.
Farage and Trump are very wise individuals who appeal to the sentiments of their people. They play on the ignorance of the people to dump crooked ideas on them. They love to swim in controversies as they pursue whatever cause they believe in. Loud, careless with their choice of words they do not mind whose ox is gored when making their points.
And finally these two of a kind met. They may not have the same background, but obviously they share the same values. They may be miles apart in their body sizes or hair styles, they definitely have many other things in common.
They may be from opposite sides of the pond, yet their communication lines are very clear.