Farage Does Britain No Favors by Gloating

If Britain wants a good trade deal, the way to go about it is not to insult and threaten the rest of Europe.

Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 8, 2015
Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, July 8, 2015 (European Parliament)

Nigel Farage did Britain no favors with his self-congratulatory speech in the European Parliament today.

“You’re not laughing now, are you?” the leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party gloated after his country had voted to leave the European Union last week.

“The reason you’re so upset,” Farage told the hundreds of deputies in Brussels, “has been perfectly clear from all the angry exchanges this morning: you, as a political project, are in denial.”

The euro is failing, he said, immigration is failing and the people now recognize that a political union has been imposed on them “by stealth”.

Farage went on to insult the chamber, saying, “I know that virtually none of you have ever done a proper job in your lives or worked in business or worked in trade or indeed ever created a job.”

Bad timing

This is all classic Farage and it plays well on YouTube. But it’s not only wrong — the European Parliament has plenty of members from the business world — it’s especially badly timed now that Britain needs to negotiate its exit from EU and wants to retain some form of single-market access.

Farage called for a “grownup and sensible attitude” to negotiating Britain’s withdrawal.

Except he couldn’t bring himself to demonstrate such an attitude.

If the rest of Europe were to “reject any idea of a sensible trade deal, the consequences would be far worse for you than it would be for us,” he warned.

That’s no way to negotiate.

If you tell the other party you’re prepared to walk away unless they give you exactly what you want, don’t be surprised if they let you.

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