Brexfactor: Gallons of imperial guff from Brexiteers

PUBLISHED: 11:55 07 April 2017 | UPDATED: 11:33 11 April 2017

Simon Heffer

Simon Heffer

EMPICS Entertainment

We sort the chaff from the chaff to bring you another 10 of the worst leavers of the week

10. Nigel Farage (DOWN 9)

Brexit’s own Crazy Frog continues his battle to crack America but all the signs are that the end result will be more Cheryl Cole than James Corden. Unknown beyond his Fox News echo chamber and still yet to take up residence in the ambassador’s quarters at the British Embassy on Massachusetts Avenue, Washington DC, Farage has contented himself with several retweets of an interview with US radio host Bill Mitchell, who introduced him as “a hero in the United States and a hero of the Trump team”.

What a coup for Nigel, especially when you consider some of Mitchell’s other sensible views. “I think you could argue that Barack Obama has done far more to harm the black community than the Ku Klux Klan has,” he declared earlier this year, having claimed during the election campaign that Trump could not possibly be a racist because he had been photographed standing close to a black man.

9. Michelle Brown (RE-ENTRY)

The entertaining UKIP Welsh Assembly member for North Wales, last mentioned here after she was forced to deny smoking cannabis in a budget hotel in Cardiff (a UKIP spokesman blamed “the fact she smokes roll-ups and that could look slightly unusual”), now faces a vote of no confidence after local party chiefs sent her a letter listing 18 separate areas of concern with her performance.

This must be a tense time for Brown and normally we would recommend banishing the stress with some traditional remedies, perhaps consumed in pleasant but affordable surroundings. But in this case it seems inappropriate.

8. Nigel Pearson and Peter Heather (NEW ENTRIES)

UKIP candidates in Somerset exposed by Buzzfeed’s Jim Waterson for sending out campaign literature blaming problems in the NHS on “positive discrimination in favour of women”.

The leaflet says: “Women take career breaks to have a family and tend to only work part time when they return to the surgery. How many female doctors are there in your surgery working 2 or 3 days a week? Do we need female doctors? Of course we do, but not so many that they create the sort of problems the NHS is facing now.”

Women! Beware the worm that turned!

7. Roger Helmer (RE-ENTRY)

The reliable UKIP MEP for the East Midlands, last seen calling for a willing Brexiteer to stand against Kenneth Clarke at the 2020 General Election despite Kenneth Clarke declaring some months ago that he would not be standing at the 2020 General Election, has returned in style.

Assuring Twitter that Britain’s £25 billion trade deficit with Germany would be a “huge negotiating strength” after Brexit, he confided that “Germans call the UK ‘Treasure Island’”.

Alas for Roger, he did so on a social media platform which Germans actually use, and back several came to point out that they’d never heard the phrase before. Could it be, some suggested, that Roger was thinking of the expression ‘Inselaffen’, often used to described Brits? It means ‘Island Monkeys’.

6. Gerard Batten (RE-ENTRY)

The London UKIP MEP is normally keen to bash Islam at every opportunity; after the Westminster attack he called it “a death cult, born and steeped in 1,400 years of violence and bloodshed”. But he appeared to have mislaid his script when reacting to the St Petersburg underground bomb.

Batten mused on his blog: “The Russian authorities have said it is ‘terrorism’. Whoever turns out to be responsible (if indeed we ever really know), let’s not forget that Mr Putin is quite capable of blowing up his own people… Mr Putin used such ‘terrorist attacks’ to justify his wars in Chechnya.”

Batten is well-known (in his own mind) for often sporting a pink suit at the EU Parliament; we’re sure it will look lovely when twinned with a tinfoil helmet.

5. Daily Express commenters

When their favourite paper published a story headlined ‘Brexit negotiators to demand the recall of ALL British vehicle number plates bearing the EU’s iconic blue and gold flag’, and added that it would cost Britons a staggering £1 billion to buy replacements, the Express Facebook group went nuclear.

“Bull sh*t we just pop a sticker of the union flag or even better the Georg cross and cost penny’s,” wrote one outraged commenter. “The Eu Caliphate is at Deaths Door and in it’s Final Throes,” noted another.

Alas, all had failed to note the day the Express published the story… April 1.

4. Paul Nuttall (DOWN 2)

“Gibraltar must not be used as a cynical bargaining chip. The rights of its people must be respected,” claimed UKIP’s dweeb-in-tweed leader as Michael Howard declared war on Spain. Would those be the 96% of Gibraltarians who voted Remain and are now being forced to Leave? Meanwhile, on BBC show Hey Hey We’re The Kippers, formerly known as Question Time, he told the audience: “Labour decided to sign us up to these crazy PFI deals so every pound out of every ten that goes into the NHS is going to pay off the debt that you guys saddled us with.” According to independent fact-checking charity Full Fact, ongoing PFI payments actually account for one pound in 55, but Paul was given the wrong figures by his press officer.

3. Tony Gallagher (RE-ENTRY)

Say what you like about Kelvin Mackenzie – go on, enjoy yourselves, I can wait – but even he didn’t think to make room on his notorious ‘The Truth’ front page for a blurb advertising bargain trips to Knotty Ash. Not the latest person to occupy The Sun editorship.

Revealing a level of tact and diplomacy which might prove he is related to singer Liam, Gallagher managed to twin a £15 Spanish holiday offer with his now-notorious ‘Up Yours Senors’ headline on Gibraltar, echoing Mackenzie’s 1990 splash Up Yours Delors.

Alas, no-one appears to have told Tony that his work also echoes one of the paper’s least proud moments, when the Sun ‘sponsored’ a missile during the Falklands conflict and proudly reported that it had been used to take out an Argentinean pilot. Mackenzie made reporter Tony Snow scrawl ‘Up Yours Galtieri’ on the rocket, fired from HMS Invincible, and the remarkably keen-eyed hack assured readers: “I saw my missile hit the back of the enemy aircraft. It exploded as advertised. His plane was in flames.”

2. Kelvin Hopkins (NEW ENTRY)

Demonstrating that all people called K Hopkins must be viewed with a degree of suspicion, the Corbynite Labour MP from Luton North did everything but roll out the Nigel Farage Union Jack socks as he celebrated victory over the EU, which he has previously called anti-working class, anti-socialist and anti-democratic.

Hopkins told the Commons: “I welcome the triggering of Article 50 as it will make possible the democratic socialist future which I and many others have struggled for all our lives.”

Hopkins, who lasted less than four months as Corbyn’s shadow secretary for Culture, Media and Sport, did not elaborate on how this might happen, with his party 18 points behind in recent polling and his man trailing Theresa May in approval ratings by an impressive 29%, but perhaps he could first work on letting us know the colour of the sky in his world.

1. Simon Heffer (NEW ENTRY)

While some were pondering the fate of Gibraltar and others were questioning whether we shouldn’t be spending just a teeny bit less than £500m on changing the colour of our passports to make Nigel Farage happy, the veteran Telegraph columnist was getting to the heart of the real issue: Imperial measures.

“We have been forced on to the Celsius temperature scale, which is less precise than Fahrenheit; we can’t buy groceries in pounds and ounces, or petrol in gallons, or wallpaper in yards, even though these measurements are second nature to most of us,” harumphed the Hefferlump, claiming “the imposition of the metric system” was “another infliction from the decades of EU membership that many would like to be shot of.”

As we ponder how Brave Britain struggled through without being able to buy its wallpaper in yards, it’s worth reflecting that metrication was made official government policy in 1965, eight years before we joined the EEC. Fahrenheit was being phased out by 1962 and disappeared from Met Office reports completely in 1970.

And, thanks to The Times’ Matt Chorley, we now know that while Britain today has 28.3m citizens born under pounds and ounces, it also has 36.8m born under grams and kilos. That means Heffer is the voice of The 43% and, as a representative of a minority under Brexit Rules, must simply shut up and get on with it. Although a newspaper called ‘The New Imperialist’ has a nice ring to it…

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