Current Affairs Politics

Nigel Farage, The Brexit Party, UKIP, The ERG And The Greater England Movement

As the car crash efforts by the United Kingdom to leave the European Union are upgraded to the status of a multivehicle pileup, along comes Nigel Farage and his new Brexit Party to add more carnage to the Mad Max-style spectacle that has become the politics of the UK. Speaking earlier today in London, the odious demagogue announced that the financial journalist and former Conservative Party member Annunziata Rees-Mogg will contest the upcoming elections to the European Parliament on behalf of his anti-EU grouping. Like her silver-spooned sibling, the leading Brexiteer MP Jacob Rees-Mogg, the affluent right-winger is another representative of the upper echelons of Greater England and the reactionary nationalism powering the Brexit movement in that country. As the veteran Irish newspaper columnist and author Fintan O’Toole notes in an interview with The Washington Post:

[We need to ask of the UK] …how does a very successful, relatively wealthy, very settled-looking democracy start to imagine itself being intolerably oppressed. Whatever you think of the European Union, and I have been as critical of it as have others, it’s not an oppressive force.

And yet the basic impulse in Brexit is we are an oppressed people and we have to have the equivalent of an anti-colonial revolution, whereby we throw off our oppressors. At the heart of that, you’re forced to think about self-pity, because you have to feel very, very sorry for yourself to imagine that the European Union is intolerably oppressing you.

The interesting thing about self-pity is we tend to think it involves low self-esteem. I don’t think anybody would accuse the English of suffering from low self-esteem. But self-pity isn’t low self-esteem; it’s actually quite high self-esteem. You feel sorry for yourself because you think you deserve more. You’re not getting what you deserve. And I think we have to see that this is a big part of the deep psychology of Brexit, this sense that the British deserve more than just to be another fairly normal Western European country, that their destiny is different.

In an imperial mind-set, there’s only two states: You’re either the top dog, or you’re being kicked. You’re either the conqueror, the ruler, or you’re the subjected people. There’s nothing in between. This is the legacy of empire…

In this particular mind-set, Europe is seen as the dominant…

A further example of this mindset is outlined by Kimberly Cowell-Meyers of the American University School of Public Affairs and her colleague Carolyn Gallaher of the American University School of International Service, writing for The Conversation:

Theresa May’s plan to exit the European Union has failed to pass the British Parliament three times. Some have blamed party disunity or May’s mishandling of this issue.

However, a key reason for the failure – and the one that hasn’t received a lot of attention – is the so-called “Irish backstop.”

The EU requested, and May agreed, to the backstop in order to protect the Good Friday Agreement, which relies on both countries being in the EU. A hard border would require checkpoints and other infrastructure that could become physical and symbolic flashpoints for Nationalists who support a united Ireland.

A new analysis that we have just completed shows that Parliament’s objection to the backstop amounts to an implicit rejection of the Good Friday Agreement, the agreement that brought the end of armed conflict in Northern Ireland.

20 comments on “Nigel Farage, The Brexit Party, UKIP, The ERG And The Greater England Movement

  1. The Right wing Brits want to turn the clock back to 1973 or earlier, they have no qualms about restarting the conflict in the occupied 6 counties, as such a war would fit into their narrative of “Empire” and their perceived importance in the world order. Michael Gove wrote a pamphlet in 2000 called “Northern Ireland: the Price of Peace ” in which he compared the agreement to the appeasement of the Nazis in the 1930s and the condoning of the desires of paedophiles and went on to claim that the agreement was a “rigged referendum”, a “mortal stain” and “a humiliation of our army, police and parliament”.This man could be the next UK Prime Minister.

    • Since Britain’s obsessions with WW2 appear to come up a lot here, I have an odd question.

      What are most students in The Irish Republic taught about WWII? I’m aware The Free State’s situation at the time is called “The Emergency” but what of the international aspects, Third Reich, Imperial Japan, different fronts, Holocaust, Aftermath, etc?

      Does it depend on the type of school or theater?

      One thing that I don’t quite get about Britain doing this: My understanding had been that it was countries tended to lick wounds and develop crazy obsession over lost wars!!!

      That wouldn’t seem to describe Britain’s experience with WW2 (even losing an Empire couldn’t be as bad as the bombing of Britain, I’d think). They were on the winning SIDE if far from sole victor.

      • That should have been “Does it depend on the type of school or teacher?” That may seem off-the-wall, but it looks as if British perceptions of WWI and WWII are a surprisingly large point of contention.

  2. Is that the ‘not oppressive’ EU of which its member countries have bombed countries in the Middle East and threaten likewise, nations in South America and Africa? Btw, there are plenty of ‘affluent’ Brits that are hellbent on Britain remaining in the EU. But I guess they’ve got the peasants best interests at heart of course…….not.

  3. One thing that recent events have brought to my notice, is how little we see and hear of EU affairs as a rule in the UK. For instance it’s only in the past few weeks that there has been any real coverage of the EU parliament, let alone it’s other institutions. Few of us have a clear idea of the powers and responsibilities of the various bodies and officials. Maybe it’s different in Ireland? But if we are to play our part as EU members, then surely we need to as much relevant coverage of the EU as of Westminster (or in Scotland, Holyrood). Not surprisingly then, when Middle England became aware of all this they asked, “who are all these foreigners and what right have they to tell us what to do?”.

    I watched a good bit of Farage’s launch of his new Brexit Party today, and he came across to many, I’m sure, as a very ‘reasonable, cultured, Englishman’. He is I must admit a clever and very persuasive speaker, well able to think on his feet. When faced with questions, he seems able to subtly twist the context so that his viewpoint seems perfectly reasonable and natural. This of course makes him potentially dangerous, since at heart he’s only interested in advancing his own interests regardless of the wider political havoc that may result.

    IMO he will appeal to a swathe of older, small-c English conservatives. People who don’t actually remember the war, being just too young, but who grew up on a diet of WWII based dramas and documentaries where the Germans were the baddies, and other continentals on the whole not to be trusted. But most of all the message that stuck was “We Won the War” (with a little help for the Yanks, but let’s gloss over that). But now they see Germany as the biggest beast in the EU, with more clout even than the UK or France. However could that be? Why was Germany ever allowed to re-unite? Indeed the EU would probably be far more acceptable if it consisted of more evenly sized states, but at least we once had the Germans at our mercy. How and why they ask themselves, did we lose our grip? Both on a defeated Germany and on our glorious worldwide Empire. Well perhaps at least you can see how such confusion and puzzlement is fertile ground for Farage and his ilk.

    The most hopeful scenario would be for the Brexit Party, the UKIP BritNat rump, the ERG and the core Tories to split, nay shatter, the English Right. The small parties may make a decent showing in the PR EU elections, giving them confidence, but will be marginalised in any subsequent FPTP UK votes. That way the UK could get the socialist government it’s long overdue, ideally in coalition with the SNP to keep them honest. But Scotland may already have left the UK?

    What a mess, a complete brexit you might well say …

    • Why do you leave out the USSR, China, France, Netherlands, Poland, Vietnam, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Greece, Ethiopia, Nepal Mexico, Brazil, Cuba, Mongolia, and of course the Partisans and Resistance of The Occupied Territories? Especially the USSR if one is to be honest!! Is that your POV or that of some of the Brexiteers?

      I’m struggling to understand what exactly growing up on WW2 dramas has to do with it, since my father grew up on loads of WW2 dramas, and he thinks the Brexiteers, Trump and Marine Le Pen, Bolsonaro and et. al. are a “pack of bozos”. The mantra I was always taught about the defeat of The Third Reich was “Russian blood, American steel, and British intelligence”. Certainly there was nothing pretty at all about even the part where Germany was Occupied and Divided into East and West. Even in the areas where Germany was for a time controlled by The Western Allies there was nothing pretty about it at all, let alone in the East. While I understand why some folks especially The Poles were scared when Germany re-united, it seems the obvious right decision today. If I recall the reunification was seen as the end of The Cold War, which nobody in their right mind should miss!! Heck one of the scariest Cold War movies “Threads” came from Britain!!!

      Is it actually British teachers who tell their pupils Britain “stood alone” against The Third Reich? Or is it popular culture mostly driving these notions?

      If the problem with the EU is that the states are varied sizes, why is it OK that England is bigger than the other three nations?

      As for the different sizes of EU nations is there not a digressive formula on representative? As that’s more than can be said of the four UK nations in Parliament.

      • Thank you for your detailed comment. I hope to reply fully later. But for now, and with respect to your last two paragraphs :

    • The UKIP has been smashed by the State from within hence why Farage won’t touch them now. It is doubtful if they’ll make as much impact in future elections as one would expect. The main worry for the State and the ‘fake brexiteers'(Theresa May etc) is the peasants not voting at all. A low turnout would speak volumes as to where the peasants stand.

      • But then if only the most revolting peasants bother to vote, surely the extremists will do well?

        • It depends if you define those that will vote Tory/labour/lib dems as ‘extremists’. If the 17 plus million folk that voted for brexit collectively decided to not vote at all then no matter what lipstick the elected put on it, it will be a shock to the system and the state I.e a sizeable portion of people would be refusing to partake in the system and thus the politicians could not in all honesty speak on ‘behalf of the people’.

  4. I just can’t resist sharing this :

    🙂

  5. It could be that the English for some reason had some of these traits before The Empire, rather than because of it. That some of these qualities could have been a contributing factor to The Empire not its legacy.

    The Henry VIII parallels just seem to compelling to dismiss out of hand. It’s easy to go after the Brits for their Empire-they worked HARD for that reputation.

    However, The Henry VIII model is much more frightening. Not just because of all the beheadings but because of a model for which they could cause a lot of havoc in Europe and the world given their current resources.

    It seems that a lot of The Brexit prequel with Henry VIII’s ousting Britain from another pan-European power (and most of said power’s continental dissidents), seems to point to something……..I’ve heard suggestions that something in at least the elite of English society is uniquely hostile to written rules. I know that unfortunately every society has had elites that tried to place themselves above the law, and powerful people who tried to twist rules to their advantage.

    It seems as if maybe there’s a unique level of disrespect in England. Symptoms have included unwritten Constitution, the strange conversion of British East India Company Charter to The Raj, Henry VIII going to such extremes to get an annulment, or even the degree of hooligan tactics among their labor unionists and suffragettes compared to other countries where people had elected govt.

    Or maybe that explanation is off. However France and Belgium both had empires that while less extensive were arguably crueler. However citizens of France have a certain respect for written law and reason that the English for some reason seem to lack.

  6. Pat McCarrick

    Parliament did not reject the backstop, they rejected another union controlling part of their union.

    It will not be the UK that places a hard border in Ireland, it will be the European Union, with a complicit “Irish” government doing their bidding.

    • It’s paranoid to class that as “another union controlling…..part of their union”. For one thing they made an agreement with The Irish Republic and with The International Community via that UN, that says The Irish Republic joint authority over their area. If you think being held to your own word constitutes being controlled than that makes you sound, well, perfidious.

      • Very true Grace. It is odd how often this line of argument crops up. Yet the logic of what you say is unassailable, the GFA/BA gives the ROI an input into the territory of the North (if not explicitly JA then very close through the intergovernmental aspect) most importantly through the all-island aspects which are agreed between Dublin and Stormont, not the UK/London. If that isn’t obvious evidence that NI is distinct and different from the ‘rest of’ the UK I don’t know what is. The UK already conceded that in 1998. The horse has bolted. Don’t people know this stuff?

        • And worth keeping in mind that the UK could indeed leave the EU and that situation of a distinctiveness in regard to NI would continue. There’s no contradiction there – other than one that hard (though not soft) Brexiteers want to make.

        • In some ways people who deny Northern Ireland is different from the rest of the UK, remind me a lot of the people who are always trying to “prove” that The South Eastern US (aka “The South”) isn’t different from the rest of the country. That any apparent difference is just an illusion created by utterly prosaic stand-in proxies for the geography itself. In a lot of ways Northern Ireland and The US South (aka Dixie) remind me of each other. Sometimes the likeness can be downright spooky.

          If one analyst from former colonies of Brexit Britain is Irishman Fintan O’Toole the one I’m a bit more persuaded by is Indian Pankaj Mishra. Basically, he argues that a vastly disproportionate ration of the blame lies with the 7% of Britons who went to these elite “public schools” (Whey do they even call it that? They call NHS hospitals public!!!)

          Watching this I’m amazed how many people involved went to these “public” schools. The only other countries I can think of where the HS you go to matters quite so much are the ones with very early tracking systems. Of course, I’m critical of tracking people so tightly at ages where children still have a lot of growing to do and may change quite a bit, but that’s a profoundly different thing from expensive “public” schools.

          My advice to an English progressive right now would be: Get rid of those archaic institutions. There are plenty of Finnish scholars who will bring their perspective as their country went from a hierarchical one much like England’s in the 1950’s to one where almost all the kids go to “common schools” and they have one of the best systems in the world. One British journalist Verkaik, has done a lot of work on terrorism and radicalism along with British public schools and their influence for centuries. I can’t possibly imagine any commonalities there!!!!

          He advocates a “slow euthanasia” for most “private education in Britain. I’d agree with dumping the subsidies and the tax exemptions for “public” or “private” schools, and would add harsher tax penalties if the total school budget is more than 150% that of the most high budget Comprehensive school in that particular area. Some exemptions could exist for groups such as special needs kids (ei schools for blind, models for autistic education) some military officers kids and diplomatic brats, or unique community circumstances.

          I’m really inclined to believe the people who argue that dramatically reducing the role of privately funded education in Britain would go a long way to changing the whole society and culture

  7. Does anyone really think the UK is going to leave the EU? I mean the longer the charade goes on the less likely it seems to be possible. I mean when the Tories are seriously thinking of boycotting the European elections to save themselves the humiliation of a political wipe out at the hands of the Brexit party and UKIP. And Fredrick Forsyth the thriller writer says the Queen of England might abdicate rather than give Royal assent to the agreement between Corbyn and May.

    • Given the extension they have now? I see a strong chance that another Referendum will be pushed for. I always saw a distinct possibility that would happen. Or else, they might even have a Referendum on hard vs. soft Brexit perhaps.

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