It has been quite a year for Nigel Farage, the MEP and one-off Leader of UKIP.
There was the EU referendum where he was triumphant as one of the most prominent and long-standing supporters of Brexit. Now we have had the US Presidential election – where he was one of the very few British politicians to back Donald Trump.
It was right and proper that Trump acknowledged this and granted an audience for Farage and mates in the astonishingly bling Trump residence.
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) November 12, 2016
Part of success in politics is standing by your friends.
For instance Conrad Black, the press tycoon who was imprisoned for fraud, says: “I have known Donald Trump cordially for more than 15 years, and he was an ideal business partner in a co-development of a large property in Chicago and a loyal friend in my late legal troubles.”
Loyalty is an admirable quality. It doesn’t follow that it would make sense for Farage to have some designated role as an intermediary between the UK and US Governments.
It is not as if diplomatic relations have been cut off between the two nations. The Government leaders will be able communicate direct – without requiring a go-between.
It is also possible to exaggerate Farage’s role so far as Brexit is concerned.
The pressure from Tory MPs to hold the referendum was not motivated by some electoral calculation. Overwhelmingly it was a matter of true beliefs.
In terms of the result itself Farage certainly was a robust communicator and reached some sections of the electorate dismissive of politicians in general. On the other hand, the Stronger In campaign clearly regarded him as their secret asset and someone who would push wavers into the Remain camp.
At any rate – while Farage is an extraordinary figure, diplomacy is not his forte. But he should be given an alternative new role in public life. The case for a peerage for him is becoming irresistible.
At the General Election last year UKIP came third in the popular vote. They won 3.9 million votes but only had one MP. The Scottish Nationalists won 1.45 million votes but ended up with 56 MPs. The Lib Dems had 2.4 million votes and eight MPs.
— David Stribling (@Dasaii) May 9, 2015
That’s the first past the post system – which should be defended. It rescues us form the eternal mush of coalition where politicians can not be held accountable for anything.
But surely in the House of Lords it would be fair for Nigel Farage’s voice to be heard? He is an experienced member of the European Parliament and so his credentials are as valid as many existing peers. He would enliven proceedings with a distinctive voice.
“It is important the House of Lords in some way reflects the situation in the House of Commons,” said David Cameron last year, justifying the creation of more peers. But what about it in some way reflecting the electorate?
At the moment there are three UKIP peers – Lord Pearson, Lord Willoughby de Broke and Lord Stevens. But they are defectors – they were not created as UKIP peers. That is a very modest tally.
The irony is that membership of the House of Lords would be an ingenious way to undermine the UKIP leader’s anti-establishment grievance-mongering. Lord Farage of Dulwich? You know it makes sense.