The end of irony as Farage moans about lack of airtime ahead of his 33rd appearance on Question Time
PUBLISHED: 08:02 09 May 2019 | UPDATED: 12:18 09 May 2019
Ahead of Nigel Farage's 33rd appearance on Question Time, STEVE ANGLESEY wonders why the Brexit Party leader is still complaining about the BBC.
"I must say it's jolly nice of the BBC to be here today. I've been up and down the country attending rallies with thousands of people and the BBC haven't bothered to turn up once," smirked nicotine-stained man frog Nigel Farage at the Brexit Party's press conference on Tuesday.
Yes, that's Nigel Farage of the record 32 Question Time appearances moaning that he doesn't get enough coverage on the BBC. No doubt Buckingham Palace will soon issue a statement condemning the Daily Mail's news blackout on the royal baby.
The griping soon paid off as, just a day later, Question Time agreed to make it appearance number 33 once the programme got to Northampton on Thursday.
An embarrassing climbdown? Hardly, as Farage had barely been off the BBC to begin with.
Just when does he think that Auntie imposed her vicious embargo? Was it around lunchtime on May 5, less than 48 hours before his outburst, just after he had just made a six-minute live appearance on the Beeb's Sunday Politics South East? Did the hammer come down after the fulsome BBC TV and radio coverage of the Brexit Party's official launch in Coventry on April 12, including an interview on the Brexit-friendly Today programme? Or has there been a boycott since April 30, when his appearance in the usual Rupert Bear And His Friends attire at the start of their Welsh campaign got bags of airtime from BBC Wales?
Is Farage's complaint that the Brexit Party were not on our TVs and radios enough during the local election campaign, in which they fielded no candidates? Or is he sore about the long years in which the Brexit Party received absolutely no coverage at all from the biased BBC on the flimsy grounds that it did not actually exist yet?
And if all this is true, how will Nigel Farage ever get his message out? Apart from, of course, LBC, Sky News, Fox News and the three national newspapers he already has in his pocket - the Sun, Telegraph and Express?
Farage seems to believe it is the duty of a public broadcaster to turn up to every single one of the £2.50-a-ticket events he has held in recent days in places like Gosport, Newton Abbot and Fylde, drawing crowds of between 1,500 and 2,000 a time. This qualifies as "thousands of people" if you are being pedantic, but it's hardly the Isle of Wight 1970. More like aisles of whites, average age 70.
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And has he really thought through what the BBC might find if they did turn up to every event? In Chester, a blogger was removed from the event by security guards for, he says, "tweeting negative things". In Fylde, a handful of true believers in democracy chanted "lock her up" at the mention of Theresa May. In Birmingham, there were shouts of "traitors" and "drain the swamp".
Just about everywhere, Farage draws boos when he names Remain golems like Barack Obama, Michel Barnier, Tony Blair, Emmanuel Macron, Anna Soubry and Jean-Claude Juncker. He's like Donald Trump without the intellectual rigour and great personal charm.
The American tracking firm mediaQuant have calculated that Trump got $5 billion (£3.8 billion) worth of unpaid media coverage during his campaign from TV and radio stations, newspapers and digital outlets. No wonder Nigel just wants his share of free publicity from the BBC.
Will he turn on the media, as Trump did, in order to make an even bigger noise? There was just a little hint of it at Tuesday's press conference, one of those moments when the jolly good bloke mask slips and you see Nigel Farage for what he really is. Continuing his complaints about the Beeb to Jess Parker of BBC News, he said: "I note that on no single major current affairs programme have we appeared. Quite what that means for public service broadcasting in the future I really don't know."
- Among the most alarming spoilt ballot papers received at last week's local elections was one showing a depiction of Nigel Farage's "pert, sexy bottom". For long-standing Farage followers, it brings back unfortunate memories of the account of Farage's former lover Annabelle Fuller, who claimed that on their first night of passion Farage slipped into bed "wearing a white T-shirt and white Y-fronts" before whispering "that my arse had looked amazing in the moonlight". Later he told her to say nothing of their affair "to save Brexit".
- "I'm not sure this lot have ever visited the EU parliament, let alone know how it works, so I'll have to be on hand to guide them," joked Nigel Farage about his Brexit Party candidates at their European election launch.
Someone who might need special assistance is Martin Daubney, who is standing for Nigel's Barmy Army in the West Midlands and who once wrote "I recall Brexit day as one of the finest days of my life, after the birth of my children." Which says a lot about the rest of his life.
Appearing on Tucker Carlson's wackadoo Fox News show on May 4, the former lads' mag editor mentioned a UN rapporteur who he said came "from Geneva, Sweden". And indeed Geneva is almost in Sweden, apart from the 1,600 kilometres of Switzerland, Germany and Denmark in the way!