Saturday, October 18, 2014

making plans for nigel

I have a confession to make, and it's a slightly shameful one. Here it is: there is one thing about Nigel Farage that I find admirable. Phew: there, I've said it. It's good to get these things off your chest.

I'll tell you what it is, if you like. There is a long and generally excruciatingly embarrassing history of politicians doing photo-opportunities in pubs, and on these occasions, pretty much without exception, they try to bolster their down-to-earth, man-of-the-people credentials by supping on a pint. It's almost without exception a pint of ale, as befits someone committed to great British traditions, and pretty much without exception you can almost hear the slight wincing gagging noises being made as Joe Politician raises the glass to his lips and has a tentative sip. That's George Osborne there on the right in a particularly fine example.

I honestly don't know why people do this, as the public know that the political classes in general are from a social stratum that would much prefer a nice gin and tonic or a glass of a nicely chambreed Chateau Lafite Rothschild to something as proletarian as a pint. But, like the furious tonguing of the wife after the conference speech, it's a tradition that no-one wants to be the first to try and shake off.

So it's quite refreshing to see that when Nigel does a photo-op holding a pint and grinning (and most of Nigel's photo-ops involve him holding a pint and grinning) it's because he really fancies a pint. And when he's drunk it, he might very possibly go and get another one. I should make honourable mention of Barack Obama here, too, who when presented with a pint of Guinness on a trip to Ireland, downed it with obvious relish.

Note that none of this absolves Nigel Farage of being a colossal gurning nitwit and an unpleasant right-wing opportunist, just to be clear. Nor should this post be taken as an endorsement of drinking during working hours, however much Farage and Boris Johnson (and William Hague back in the day) might think it's a terrific idea.

No comments: