Nigel Farage, MEP and leader of the UK Independence Party, has long been one of Europe’s most prominent Eurosceptics — leaving the UK Conservatives when they signed the Treaty of Maarstrict in 1992 and soon after forming his own protest party.
However, we think its fair to say that his dogged determination on the European issue, not to mention his occasionally simplistic populism, seemed to leave him on the outskirts of UK thinking. He was a crank, to put it simply.
However, watching his speech yesterday, its possible to see how mainstream a lot of what Farage is saying now is. His thinking on Cameron’s veto seems to be echoed by a lot of the Conservative party, and much of the mainstream British press. His comments about how the European dream is in fact driving apart Europe seem justified, and his sympathy for the Greek people reflects a widespread concern about how youth unemployment can affect a culture.
Of course, this being Farage, he couldn’t resist slipping in a little bit of a British xenophobic populism, making reference to Nazi-era term “a gauleiter” when talking about German proposals for Greece. Farage was taken to task for the comment by German Greens MEP Reinhard Buetikofer, accused of spreading “hatred” (Farage responded but later walked out when his microphone was turned off).
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