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How has Farage prospered? By keeping his message simple

22 May 2014

4:58 PM

22 May 2014

4:58 PM

Whatever the result is when the votes are counted, there’s no doubt who has dominated this campaign: Ukip. From the Farage-Clegg debates to the discussions during the past few days about Romanian neighbours, it has been the other parties that have been responding to Ukip. A party that has no MPs and received a mere 3 per cent at the last general election has managed to set the agenda for a nationwide election.

To try and understand how Ukip have done this, I went out on the road with Nigel Farage. One of the things that marks Farage out from the other party leaders is that he relishes debate. When a group of Politics A-Level students came up to him in the pub and told him he was disgusting, he didn’t simply walk away but stayed to talk the matter through with them. There is something deeply refreshing about this.


The other striking thing about him is his language. It is plain, simple and direct—you don’t need a degree in reading between the lines to understand what he’s saying.

I suspect that this European Election will be the high-water mark of Ukip’s support. But Farage’s success shows that the opening in politics now is for a leader who wants to engage in debate not control it.

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Show comments
  • hannathegreat

    Students are so brainwashed. They’ll grow out of it.

  • Mrs Josephine Hyde-Hartley

    It’s fun if it’s true the UKIP doesn’t have a written policy. That makes a refreshing change and probably very sensible and realistic too. It doesn’t matter anyway, given our wonderfully generous( largely unwritten) and therefore flexible UK constitution.

  • Makroon

    Another rubbish piece of “analysis”.
    For most Brits, the Euro elections are simple – do you want in or do you want out ?
    The simplest message is from the LibDems – stay in at all costs. And that appears to be the least popular message.
    The Conservative message is complex – negotiate then decide with a referendum. And polls show that that is the most popular message – but far from enough to stop the Farage bandwagon.
    Farage’s message is complex – pull out (no referendum necessary), and the Euro election has zero bearing on pulling out, “crack down on foreign immigrants”, and (as an afterthought), small government and grammar schools for all. Patent nonsense, but Farage is the perfect frustrated, protest candidate.

  • Mike

    By keeping it simple and sticking to substantiated facts you cant be
    caught out on a lie.

    LibLabCon politicians lie so much that in the end
    their own lies catch them out but they’re too dumb to realize that. No
    one can apply lie upon lie upon lie and remember what they said
    previously. If you speak with conviction there’s no lies to remember !

  • Mike

    “opening in politics now is for a leader who wants to engage in debate not control it”

    Couldn’t have said it better but very few in the LibLabCon artists will debate honestly or even be allowed to debate by the party hierarchy. Cameron showed his yellow streak in refusing to debate, Clegg showed his denial of the facts by refusing to answer questions and as for Milliband, he’s just incompetent.

    All Farage & UKIP has to do is continue on as they started by keeping it simple, factual, truthful and the liars and spin from the other three will be ignored.

  • Lady Magdalene

    Farage relishes debate.
    Meanwhile, Miliband was virtually invisible throughout the campaign and when he did surface, wanted to talk about anything BUT the EU.
    Cameron, meanwhile, opted to avoid any debate whatsoever. He chose the safe option – no difficult question; avoid the public – by sitting on the Breakfast sofa, mouthing platitudes.
    The leaders of Lab andCON don’t want to debate and don’t really know how …. having been hot-housed in a political environment where there was no real Opposition to hone their arguments against.
    No wonder the cowards refuse to debate with Farage. He’d eat them alive.

  • Smithersjones2013

    I suspect that this European Election will be the high-water mark of Ukip’s support

    Why? Was 1983 the Liberal-SDP Alliance (Liberal Democrats) high water mark? Sadly Forsyth is flashing his grubby blue knickers again……

  • anyfool

    I suspect that this European Election will be the high-water mark of Ukip’s support.
    I suspect you underestimate how much people despise the three main parties.

    • HookesLaw

      This has to be one of Mr Forsyths most hilarious reports. Which by his standards is saying something.
      A simple message about Romanian neighbours which he had to retract.
      A simple message from his candidate in Croydon who called it a dump.
      A simple message from his candidate in Manchester which UKIP retracted.
      A simple message from his candidate in the west country who wants a subsidised wind farm.

      • the viceroy’s gin

        A simple 3rd place humiliation for you socialist Camerluvvies.

        Oh, and a simple back of the hand from the electorate for you types, as well.

        • HookesLaw

          Everyone’s a socialist to you who does not wear jackboots and a blackshirt.

          • the viceroy’s gin

            No, not everyone is a socialist, lad. But you definitely are.

            Oh, and you’re also a racist, as you demonstrated yesterday.

          • Mike

            Actually, the biggest bunch of socialist wearing jackboots and blackshirts in the 1930’s were called the National Socialist German Workers Party !

            Says a lot about socialism, the message & ideology hasn’t changed, just the methods have been adapted for the 21st century.

      • anyfool

        He did not retract.
        Croydon is a dump, British white men were masquerading as Romanians, calling black men racist for being in UKIP, were you one.
        The Manchester man an independent now, is religious, but does not want to cut peoples heads off.
        The wind farm man, is he not related to Cameron.

        Do you seriously believe any of your infantile critiques will make one iota of difference to the polls.

      • Mike

        The majority don’t care, get it !

  • SemiPartisanSam

    UKIP’s rise and Nigel Farage’s popularity spring from the fact that conviction politics is all but dead in Britain, leaving many thoughtful and politically aware people with no one who speaks their language, but a host of politicians willing to patronise and double-cross them to gain votes, before discarding them once they are delivered into power:

    Nigel Farage flat-out refuses to play the establishment game, speaking with conviction and relishing an argument rather than fearing confrontation and debate. No wonder our dilettantish political elite are so terrified of him.

  • sfin

    Yes James, It’s called ‘leadership’ – something completely distinct from the ‘management’ our country has been subjected to from Major onwards.

    Nigel Farage is the first political leader we have had, in this country, since Margaret Thatcher – we have only had identikit grey political managers in between – and the current big three? Would you follow any of them into battle? As a 26 year career soldier, I say no! not ever!

  • Blindsideflanker

    Not simple, but logical and consistent.

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    When a group of Politics A-Level students came up to him in the pub and told him he was disgusting

    I would have horse-whipped the impudent little sh*ts.

    But then, I’m not Nigel Farage.

    • Fergus Pickering

      You wold also have been outnumbered. Do you generally carry a horsewhip around with you?

      • Andy

        He never leaves the house without one. Never know when it might come in handy.

  • Laguna Beach Fogey

    I rather like his sense of style.

    It reminds me, fondly, of the ’80s Young Fogeys.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      Yes, and he seems to just walk out and display that sense of style, effortlessly. That’s not an act, either.

      Meanwhile, the rest of the bubble muppets pay gobs for marketing consultants to tell them how to look “chillaxed” and “with it” and “of the people” and all the other poses their foreign political advisers tell them they need to fake.

  • Andy

    With all respect young James, I think it is more than just this. All across Europe the people seem to be totally and utterly fed up with the existing crop of Politicians and this partly explains the rise of UKIP, the Front Nationale in France etc, etc, etc. And notice the opinion poles across Europe – there are many similarities.

    Frange himself is engaging, he is a ‘character’, which the three party leaders are not. They are identikit politicians and none of them have any connection to the real world unlike Farage. To some of us they are also shallow characters who are there to serve themselves and their parties and not the State.

  • The Masked Marvel

    How has Farage prospered? Perhaps because many people are fed up with LibLabConBBCEU and he says what many are thinking?

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    Forget united states of Europe. It is getting more like the Confederate States of Europe.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      …so Farage is responsible for global warming too?!? I KNEW IT I JUST KNEW IT!

  • GIN1138

    Out of interest James, would be very interesting to know what the students had to say at the end of their discussion with Farage.

    Did he win anyone over?

    • The Masked Marvel

      Excellent question. Telling us might have gone some way toward supporting Forsyth’s claim about why Farage’s “simple” message is working.

  • Mr Creosote

    I suspect the students had a bit of a shock when, after years of absorbing socialist blather from “the blob”, they came across someone who spoke the truth.

    • SemiPartisanSam

      +1 for amusing reference to “the blob”.

    • Aberrant_Apostrophe

      It would be nice to learn the outcome of this ‘meeting’.

  • Mike Barnes

    Yes there’s a reason Dave, Nick and Ed can’t keep things simple.

    They don’t have a clue what they believe in. They want to be in power just because, but have no real guidelines for how to get there or ambitions for what they want to achieve.

    They’ll say and do anything even if it contradicts something they said a month ago.

    So yes, it’s easy to keep things simple if you have a simple belief that Britain would be better off out of the EU. It’s difficult to keep things simple and ‘connect’ with people if you don’t believe in anything.

    • Mike

      I think LibLabCon know very well what they believe in but they can’t reveal that as that will definitely be a vote loser but equally the public now wants answers and they can’t spin their way out of it against a party that says it as it is.

      • hannathegreat

        They believe in power and the right to rule. Not a good sell.

  • Ricky Strong

    Can somebody clarify for me; are folded ballot papers spoilt and therefore illegal?

    • Hexhamgeezer

      Don’t think so – ours had to be to fit in the box

      • Alexsandr

        If they are counting eu ones later and council ones today how come they went in the same box?

    • Andy

      No they are not.

      • Ricky Strong

        Oh, Okay. Clears that one up. Thank you.

  • Lucy Sky Diamonds

    How has Farage prospered? Because the mainstream have ignored the issue of immigration.

    • Hello

      No, he’s prospered because he’s the most effective opposition leader. It’s actually just another damning indictment of Miliband’s leadership that Farage is doing so well.

    • the viceroy’s gin

      The mainstream has ignored about everything, not just immigration. LibLabCon are the reason for UKIP’s rise. If they were not all comprehensive socialist muppets, then UKIP would have no place, but they are, so they do.

      • Hello

        You may well be a comprehensive muppet, I suspect you are, however most of the political class attended better schools.

        And socialism? Don’t bite the hand that feeds you, you ingratiated little sh*t.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Most of the political class are comprehensive socialist muppets, as you appear to be.

          • Hello

            Presumably you’re in favour of shutting down the NHS, closing down state schools and removing the state pension? Ending all welfare too, of course?

            I’ve never benefitted from any of those, so I’ll vote Ukip if you’re proposing that, along with a hefty tax cut for me of course? Are you? Or do you rely on those?

            I like Ukip’s policies on crime, by the way, particularly this one:

            “Make sentences mean what they say”

            That one’ll be tricky when you’re talking sh*t all the time, won’t it?

            • the viceroy’s gin

              Presumably you presume your fantasies about others’ beliefs. You socialist muppets often do that.

              • Hello

                Don’t cry, viceroy. It’s not your fault. Genetics: you were just born a tw*t. There’s a political party for people like you now! Won’t that be nice?

                • the viceroy’s gin

                  Apparently, it’s you socialist muppets who are doing the crying, lad. It’s quite amusing.

        • the viceroy’s gin

          Only you socialist muppets are ingratiated little sh!ts, laddie.

          And it’s cheap to be post-editing posts with insults, you little sh!t.

  • Kitty MLB

    Indeed Nigel farage was being very politically clever by keeping the subject very simple.
    Not speaking about business etc. Just the very emotive subject of immigration.
    Others foolishly insulted him and the kind electorate came to his defence-
    although Nigel Farage is a good egg himself. I am sure others may have used that to their advantage. After all this is politics.
    Yet I say it again, this is about who does battle within the EU and not a general election.
    Yes It was refreshing that Nigel Farage spoke to students.

    • Lucy Sky Diamonds

      Because emotive does not equal unimportant. Emotion = what makes us human

      • Kitty MLB

        Yes of course Lucy. Without emotion we would be quite soulless
        creatures. But if any politician were to use that for their own political
        gain ( and I am not saying any would) then that is very manipulative.

        • Lucy Sky Diamonds

          Not when the subject itself involves the very emotive thing of all – a sense of place. No facts and figures can account for that.

          Community structures have been weakened with members scattered far and wide.

  • Rhoda Klapp8

    So the big three, well, two and a bit, parties will start looking for somebody better at faking sincerity? Someone who doesn’t speak weasel better than English? DMMFL!

    • Mike

      I don’t think it will work as the memory of Blair is too alive in most peoples minds whether the left, middle or right. The time for snake oil salesmen is over for at least 20 years.

    • LucieCabrol