I keep hearing about this man of the people, this bloke who is One Of Us. But I can’t find him.
All I can see is Nigel Farage, and if he is a man of the people then I’m Kim Kardashian and it’s pretty obvious that even with the best of lights, a following wind and a really huge bustle, I’m really not.
But the comparison isn’t any more ridiculous, because you would have to go a long way to find a man who is less of the people than Nigel Farage.
He is a professional politician: he talks a lot about the “Westminster elite”, which is the latest phrase designed to make our politicians sound lower than a snake’s belly, but he is one of them.
Not of Westminster, yet, but of Brussels. His occupation for the last 15 years has been Euro MP on £80,000 a year plus a staff allowance of £200,000, and an office allowance of £42,000, from which he pays his own wife £20,000. He is also entitled to a daily subsistence allowance of £250 when he attends the Euro parliament and first class travel.
This is all paid for by us. And here’s the thing. Nigel Farage has persuaded the electorate to vote for him to do that job for the last 15 years on the understanding he will be paid by all of us to do it badly.
Out of 752 members he is the fifth worst attender and misses a third of votes. I say that makes him a very professional politician, or perhaps an unprofessional one.
Before he was a politician, he worked in the City.
Nigel Farage, man of the people, wasn’t a postman like Labour MP Alan Johnson or a steward on a ship like former Labour MP John Prescott, he worked trading commodities in the City, pushing imaginary sums of money around. I don’t know about you but I don’t actually know anyone who works in the City. I know a banker but that’s my husband and he never got any further than working as a cashier before he left to do something else. I would say City workers are the most elite and highly paid group of people in the country. That isn’t a very good qualification for being a man of the people.
He dresses like a country gent: how many expensive green wool jackets with windowpane check and velvet-collared coats do you own? Nigel Farage is forever striding out in that kind of thing. He wears the uniform of the landed gentry, not the man on the street. I have yet to see him in jeans, nondescript jacket and trainers or even the kind of suit that wasn’t even a good fit when it was bought.
He was privately educated.Like David Cameron and most of the Tories sitting around him in Cabinet, Nigel Farage, the son of a stockbroker, has no experience of school as the majority of us know it. He was not state educated but was one of the seven per cent whose parents pay for them to be given the kind of education that breeds confidence. He never sat through lessons where pupils shared books, where teachers attempted to engage more than 30 pupils at once, or where troublemakers sabotaged the lesson for everyone.
He likes a pint and a fag in the pub.
This is Nigel Farage’s USP, the thing about him that makes him special. Even this doesn’t make him one of us though, since we have been deserting pubs for years now, which is why, at one stage, it was estimated that 50 a week were closing. That figure has now slowed to 30 a week, according to real ale group CAMRA. As for smoking, only 20 per cent of us do that now.
I mean, vote for who you like. If you agree with Nigel Farage’s policies and you know what they are - which would probably put you one giant step ahead of the man himself - then go ahead.
But don’t do it because you think he is an ordinary bloke.