In this week’s Brex Factor STEVE ANGLESEY discusses the Brexit Party’s week of whining after a supposedly historic success…
They may be claiming victory at the European elections, but the Brexit Party just can’t help acting like stone-cold losers.
The days following their supposedly historic success – they increased UKIP’s 2014 vote by less than 4% and polled fewer votes than the Liberal Democrats and Greens combined – have been more about whining than winning for the party’s new MEPs.
You had Michael Heaver ranting about Elton John’s claim that Brexiteers were “stupid, colonial, imperialist English idiots” (“we’re not idiots or stupid,” Heaver clarified, helpfully).
You had Ann Widdecombe claiming the Lib Dems and Greens had too many policies for their votes to be counted as pure Remain – because obviously loads of Brexiteers will have gone Green because they are worried about nurdles, or put their cross next to the Lib Dems because they like Vince Cable’s hat. We eagerly await the Brexit Party delivering that difficult second policy, and it may be that their numbers start to look very different once voters learn more about their plans for the NHS, welfare and taxes for the rich, not to mention learning more about Widdecombe’s own antediluvian views on the so-called “gay cure”.
You had Nigel Farage moaning yet again, this time in the Telegraph. “My party has just won a national election, yet pollsters are still omitting it from their surveys,” fumed the nicotine-stained man-frog in a piece titled “The pollsters’ blatant dishonesty on Brexit is ruining the public trust”.
Farage’s anger stemmed from hearing that YouGov were not ‘prompting’ – i.e. mentioning by name – his mob in their opinion poll questioning. He tweeted: “They did not have the BP option on the list and we were hidden in ‘others’. Looks like an establishment attempt to suppress the truth. #FakePolling.”
In fact, as YouGov explained, this was all part of a protocol designed to stop new parties being given an artificial boost in polls which is unlikely to be repeated at the ballot box. The company said it was “testing the impact prompting has and what their support would be in a write-in question without any prompting for any of the parties. If we are confident that including them in the main prompt will produce more accurate results than grouping them with ‘others’, we will update our question prompting.”
However, they continued, rather than suppressing Brexit Party numbers they had actually been overestimating them. “YouGov correctly predicted the outcome of last week’s EU Parliament elections, including the level of support for the Conservatives, Labour, Liberal Democrats and Greens – but like many pollsters we overstated support for the Brexit Party, putting them at 37% compared to the 31.6% they actually achieved in Great Britain,” the company said.
By far the most interesting howl from a Brexit Party MEP came from Martin Daubney, the blue-suited, media-friendly former Loaded editor who recently informed Fox News viewers that Geneva was in Sweden. He was given a page in the Daily Express to complain that Brexit Party MEPs were “in genuine fear of their lives”, had been “subjected to vile anti-Semitic hate crimes” and “attacked and abused” with “two attempts to run down our activists by enraged motorists”. Clearly these are appalling events which must be condemned without equivocation as must threats and violence directed at Remain politicians.
What deserves more scrutiny is Daubney’s account of what happened on the night he was elected to represent the West Midlands, when Labour MEP Neena Gill was booed and subjected to an apparent racist outburst as she made her victory speech. Daubney writes: “Somebody (we don’t know who, there is no video evidence) cried out ‘go home – you lost!’ Amazingly, Gill then twisted this into an attack on her as a British-Asian Sikh: that ‘go home’ was in reference to her race, a disgusting fabrication.”
But if he does not know who shouted it, how does he know their intentions? Surely this is an example of magical thinking.
So too is his demand that opponents should stop referring to the Brexit Party as “far-right” or “racists”. When Daubney criticises Jeremy Corbyn for claiming Nigel Farage “spent his whole campaign attacking minorities that have come to make their homes in this country”, he is correct. But Farage has kissed up to far-right parties with racist policies, said he thought people would be concerned if a group of Romanians moved in next door and, famously, unveiled the disgusting ‘Breaking Point’ poster. What noun does Daubney think should be applied to a person who behaves like that?
And what noun would he give to the people who wrote these comments under his article: “There was no racism before all of this mass immigration so who caused it?” and “the piecemeal cultural genocide of Britain will spread under mass migration. The collective will of British identity replaced. They call it… rubbing our noses in diversity.”
One of many siding with Daubney wrote that despite being married to a Jamaican and having two half-Asian children, “I received threats and had my business trolled for forming the Brexit Party.” The threats and trolling deserve the strongest condemnation, but again one wonders what noun Daubney would use to describe articles by Catherine Blaiklock (for it was she) which include statements like “there is also some truth in the statement that Muslim men were impregnating white British girls to create Muslim babies”, “I always joke that black American men go crazy in their teens and 20s because of all their excess testosterone” and “we do not like to talk about biology when related to race, but what is good for winning 100m races might not be great for passing A-level maths exams”.
Daubney can moan all he likes, but when examples like this are so readily available, it will be a long while before the Brexit Party shakes off the reputations of some of its members.
Meanwhile even his lucky blue suit has its own hinterland. It was made by French fashion brand The Kooples, whose co-founder Laurent Elicha, his wife and their two young children apologised last year after ‘blacking up’ and wearing fake dreadlocks with tribal make-up and jewellery in an Instagram photo. What noun would Martin Daubney use to describe that?
Brexiteers of the Week
4. ANDREA JENKINS
Hardcore Leaver Jenkyns made a decisive intervention in the Tory leadership race last weekend, writing on Twitter: “On the back of the Times poll tonight we need to tweet: The Times/YouGov poll clearly demonstrates that NO Conservative leader/PM can win a General Election. We have to deliver Brexit. The man with a plan to do this is Dominic Raab.”
Jenkyns then edited her message to remove the ‘On the back of the Times poll tonight we need to tweet’ bit, which she had inadvertently included when she cut and pasted a message from Dover-Calais Dom’s camp.
No doubt the gaffe will have been very amusing to supporters of Raab’s rival Boris Johnson, who include Filton and Bradley Stoke MP Jack Lopresti. He also happens to be Mr Andrea Jenkyns.
3. ANTHONY ROY RAYBOULD
This forthright Twitter user, whose profile describes him as a “face-to-face adviser in adult training in Staffs/West Midlands”, has strong views on your favourite read. “I can’t for the life of me understand how The New European paper is selling,” he wrote to his 99 followers. “This propaganda paper should be shut down and editors arrested for their anti-Britain comments. Who are the owners?”
No interest in a subscription (just £13 for 13 issues) then? But Anthony, you might have to rethink your habit of telling Remainers on Twitter “the world is your oyster” and to “bugger off somewhere else”. That would have been so much easier if there were still 27 countries we had the right to live and work in…
2. DARREN GRIMES
Among the millions revolted by new Brexit Party MEP Ann Widdecombe’s assertion that science might one day “produce an answer” to being gay was Grimes, fined and referred to the police for breaking spending rules in the 2016 referendum.
“I remember the night I realised I was gay. I was 11. I cried myself to sleep, I thought I’d be thrown out of my home,” he tweeted, adding “pushing the idea that being gay is something to be cured, like some form of cancer, is incredibly damaging.”
So what did Grimes do next? Did he urge Widdecombe to apologise or step down or call for Nigel Farage to take action against her? Er, no.
He continued: “I really like Ann by the way, she’s a Brexit hero”. So that’s all right then!
1. DONALD TRUMP
“I didn’t think it was a good thing for him to do it. I thought he should have remained somewhat more neutral. But it’s fine. He decided to do it. I’d rather remain a little bit neutral,” said the future president in May 2016 after Barack Obama’s “back of the queue” intervention on Brexit.
Just over three years on, Trump’s state visit featured him meeting “very smart” Nigel Farage, declaring Britain should “sue” the EU and walk away without a deal if necessary. Oh, and he wants Boris Johnson to be PM – a man who in June 2016 said Trump was “out of his mind”, “displaying a quite stupefying ignorance” and “unfit to hold the office of president”.
Thank God Donald was just being a bit neutral!