Farage Travels to California to Continue Putin’s Work

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29, 2015
United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29, 2015 (European Parliament)

After playing a key role in persuading Britons to vote to leave the European Union, Nigel Farage is moving to California to help Russia in another way: by breaking up America’s largest state. Read more

Farage Does Britain No Favors by Gloating

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.” Read more

Euroskeptic Fanatics Are Never Going to Give Up

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29, 2015
United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29, 2015 (European Parliament)

Even if Britons vote to stay in the European Union next month, it looks like the outers will not give up.

Nigel Farage, leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party, has told the Daily Mirror he would push for a second referendum if the first one produces only a narrow majority in favor of staying in.

“In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way,” Farage said. Only if the remain side wins by two-thirds “that ends it.” Read more

Euroskeptics Sympathetic as Greeks Vote Down Austerity

Syed Kamall, the British leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists, makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29
Syed Kamall, the British leader of the European Conservatives and Reformists, makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29 (European Parliament)

Euroskeptics were sympathetic in their response to the Greek “no” vote on Sunday, seeing it as a vindication of their long-held doubts about the euro.

Syed Kamall, the British Conservative who leads the European Parliament’s third-largest bloc, the European Conservatives and Reformists, said the Greek bailout referendum “will shake the notion of some European leaders who believe that the peoples of European nations will always blindly vote for further integration and will always take rather than leave the offer on the table.”

He called on European leaders not to “punish” the Greeks for their “democratic choice.” Read more

British Euroskeptic Leader Under Pressure to Go

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29
United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage makes a speech in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, April 29 (European Parliament)

Since his party won only one seat in Britain’s general election earlier this month, Nigel Farage has come under criticism from those in the United Kingdom Independence Party who believe it’s time for him to step down after eight years as leader.

Farage had promised to resign if he failed to win a seat for himself in South Thanet but was reinstated three days later by a party that probably recognized it would do worse without him. Read more

Farage’s Euroskeptic Alliance Far from United

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 11
United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage in the European Parliament in Strasbourg, March 11 (European Parliament)

United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage’s group in the European Parliament seems less a genuine Euroskeptic alliance than a convenient political vehicle for its members.

Politico reports that the two biggest parties in the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy bloc — Farage’s and Italy’s Five Star Movement — only vote the same way about 25 percent of the time.

The latest split was on display last Wednesday during plenary in Strasbourg when the EFDD fractured once again along national delegation lines over a proposal to limit the use of plastic bags. UKIP voted against and the Italians in favor.

What really unites the two parties — which have 39 out of the bloc’s 46 seats — is “a struggle to maintain enough nationalities and numbers to preserve group status and ensure continued funding from the EU,” the political news website argues.

A group must have members from at least seven European Union member states to qualify for committee assignments, speaking time and subsidies.

Open Europe, a British think tank, estimated last year that Farage’s alliance could collect up to €3.8 million in annual subsidies. His party alone got €1.2 million this year.

UKIP and the Five Star Movement disagree about how to use the money. Whereas the Italians return what is left over after paying expenses and staff, “UKIP’s approach is to take all the EU money it can get and focus on local politics.”

Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy is also tenuous as it has just one member each from the Czech Republic, France and Poland.

The group collapsed last year when Iveta Grigule from the Latvian Farmers’ Union resigned. Farage was able to revive the bloc a week later by enlisting Robert Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz, formerly of the Polish Congress of the New Right.

Other Euroskeptics are even worse off. Despite posting gains in the 2014 European Parliament elections, France’s Marine Le Pen, who leads the Front national, and the Netherlands’ Geert Wilders, who leads the country’s Freedom Party, failed to find enough supporters to form a group. They currently sit as independents which gives them almost no power to influence the legislative process.

Farage ruled out a pact with both, saying Le Pen’s party was still antisemitic and Wilders’ Islamophobic. Yet he had qualms about admitting Iwaszkiewicz who said in an interview before joining Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy that it was acceptable for husbands to beat their wives.

SNP Could Pull Labour to the Left, UKIP Conservatives to the Right

Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond attends a meeting in Sacramento, California, June 19, 2012
Scottish National Party leader Alex Salmond attends a meeting in Sacramento, California, June 19, 2012 (Scottish Government/Feature Photo Service/Matt Petit)

Scottish nationalist leader Alex Salmond and the United Kingdom Independence Party’s Nigel Farage suggested on Sunday they could pull a next coalition government in a respectively more left- or right-wing direction.

In separate interviews with the BBC’s Andrew Marr, the junior party leaders, who are both expected to do well in May’s general election, staked out positions to the fringes of the two major parties.

Salmond predicted his Scottish National Party would “hold the power” in another hung parliament and use that position to advance “progressive politics” across the United Kingdom.

Polling by the Conservative peer Michael Ashcroft last month showed the Scottish nationalists, who already commands a majority in the regional legislature, winning fifteen out of sixteen closely-contested seats currently held by Labour.

Extrapolating Ashcroft’s polling results, May2015, an election website from the New Statesman weekly, estimates that the nationalists will win 55 out of 59 Scottish seats in the next general election.

Labour is projected to win 271 seats in the House of Commons where 326 are needed for a majority.

Ed Miliband, the Labour Party leader, last week ruled out a coalition with Salmond but left open the possibility of a looser “confidence and supply” arrangement.

Scotland’s first minister, Nicola Sturgeon, similarly told The Guardian newspaper earlier this month that her Scottish National Party could support a minority Labour government on an “issue-by-issue basis.”

Sturgeon said she would no longer condition policy support in Westminster on the removal of Britain’s nuclear submarine fleet from Scotland — a longstanding nationalist demand — but Salmond on Sunday criticized Labour for accepting many of the spending cuts the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats have made in the last four years, suggesting that a future Labour government would need to relax its deficit targets in order to enlist the nationalists’ support.

Farage, by contrast, criticized the ruling coalition for not reducing the deficit fast enough and keeping taxes too high for low and middle incomes.

If you look at the last five years, virtually nothing has been achieved. Because we’re still running a £90 billion per year deficit.

Under Britain’s first-past-the-post voting system, Farage’s Euroskeptics could win only a handful of seats despite polling around 15 percent support nationwide. But with the Conservatives and Liberal Democrats projected to win under 300 seats together, the support of small right-wing parties like UKIP could turn out to be crucial in keeping the left out of power.

Beyond cutting foreign aid and Britain’s £8 billion net yearly contribution to the European Union budget as a consequence of altogether leaving the bloc — which UKIP advocates — Farage struggled to make clear where he would cut to bring down the deficit faster while financing tax relief at the same time.

Salmond was similarly vague in justifying higher public spending, saying only he favored raising taxes for the rich.