Fans of the Beat Generation will have shivered at the recent headline ‘Nigel Farage to go ‘on the road’ with Leave group’.
What could Jack Kerouac, a big drinker with a foreign-sounding surname who spent much of his time in the company of outsiders, lunatics and tramps, possibly have in common with Nigel Farage?
Rather than hitch-hiking, the nicotine-stained man-frog will tour the country in support of the Leave Means Leave campaign. ‘A battlebus has already been hired,’ he said, holding out the possibility that (with apologies to the Rutles) the whole thing can be billed as the ‘Tragical History Tour’.
Perhaps the most surprising part of Farage’s statement were its concluding words: ‘I’m back.’ From where, exactly? With his five shows a week on LBC, his weekly Telegraph columns and his regular appearances on Sky News, Good Morning Britain et al, the NSMF hasn’t exactly been in hiding. Except, of course, from the EU Parliament, where his abysmal record of taking part in votes places him 748th among 751 MEPs.
So the man who has been here the whole time is coming back. One of his key supporters is Richard Tice, an ardent Brexiteer who holds out hope that he should be the Tories’ next candidate for London mayor despite the capital voting 60%-40% for Remain.
Another backer is John Longsworth, who was part of the recent delegation to Brussels which gave Michel Barnier a hamper of great British products as a warning against underestimating our place in the world. The hamper contained Marmite (invented by a German) and PG Tips tea (both produced by Anglo-Dutch firm Unilever), as well as a book about Winston Churchill (who espoused a federal Europe) and products by Hendrick’s and Fortnum and Mason, two businesses who have expressed huge concern at Brexit.
But then what was it Kerouac wrote in On The Road? ‘The only people for me are the mad ones.’