MY A-level politics teacher would have scoffed at the idea of the ‘loony’ UKIP brigade – his words not mine – achieving anything close to their Brexit dream.
And back in 2008, Mr Watters had reason to think that way.
The party was well within the fringe of the political spectrum, not given much more credence than the Monster Raving Loony Party.
But fast forward eight years and a seismic shift in the political landscape – led by Nigel Farage – saw their ideas thrust into the mainstream.
As the Brexit referendum was announced (by he who shall not be named) and the polls tightened, suddenly the once ‘catastrophic nightmare’ Mr Watters could have only imagined, was now a reality.
By the skin of his tobacco-stained teeth, Farage achieved the unachievable, with Brits narrowly voting to leave the European Union.
Despite the slim majority (51.9% – 48.1%), and despite the fact that Scotland and Northern Ireland voted overwhelmingly to remain, AND the fact that Farage had previously stated a result so close in a Remain victory would demand a re-vote, ‘the British people had spoken’.
Lest we forget the illegal spending of the Leave campaign, which, if had been found on the Remain side and in a Remain victory, I can guarantee would see the right never rest until we had a referendum 2.0.
Following on the back of an at times hate-filled campaign, the next few years would unleash a surge in racism and hate crime incidents as those on the far right felt more emboldened than ever.
I’ll admit it, it is fair to say, Farage has had an incomparable impact on British politics – but not one deserving of a knighthood.
His anti-EU, anti-immigrant rhetoric has only served to divide the British public while his dream of pulling the UK out of the world’s second-largest trading bloc has plunged the country into bleak economic uncertainty.
The UK will achieve its worst growth (1%), since the end of the Second World War this year.
Brexiteers will tell you there will be an adjustment period, but having to redraw treaties with our 27 closest trading partners while grovelling to the US, offering not much more than chlorinated chicken and the selling off of our NHS, it’s hard – no impossible – to think of ANYTHING positive Brexit has brought us.
And now (after coincidentally clearing the way for Boris Johnson by standing down his Brexit party candidates in this month’s general election) rumours suggest he may receive the highest honour in the land.
It’s a kick in the teeth to not only the Remainers (who polls suggest are now in the majority), but the minority groups who have lived in an increasingly hostile environment as a direct result of his actions.
What kind of a message would it send, to reward a man who once said he would be ‘concerned’ if a Romanian family moved in next door?
A man who blamed immigrants for being late to an event in Port Talbot in December 2014?
“It took me six hours and 15 minutes to get here – it should have taken three-and-a-half to four,” he said at the meet-the-leader style event, “That has nothing to do with professionalism, what it does have to do with is a country in which the population is going through the roof chiefly because of open-door immigration.”
In October 2014, he said people with HIV should be banned from Britain.
When asked by Newsweek Europe who should be allowed into the country, he said: “People who do not have HIV, to be frank. And people with a skill.”
It’s a shockingly dangerous remark which only serves to stigmatise HIV positive people, many of them from the LGBT community – despite modern medicine making the infection impossible to pass on.
He would repeat similar views in the 2015 election campaign.
These are just two examples of dozens.
He’s defended the use of the word ‘ch***y’ to refer to Chinese people, declared parts of the UK as a ‘foreign land’ – saying he felt uncomfortable when hearing foreign languages on a train, and said women are ‘worth less’ to their employers than men, denying the existence of a gender pay gap.
And this was all before the Brexit referendum campaign, which saw some of the most flagrant racist rhetoric in modern history – not to mention the outright falsehoods.
Lest we forget the sickening ‘breaking point’ poster, showing Syrian refugees travelling to Europe – fleeing their country (which the west were bombing, by the way).
It was compared to Nazi-style propaganda and was revealed on the same morning as Jo Cox’s murder by a far right lunatic.
Then there’s the notorious pro-Brexit bus pledging 350 million quid a week for the NHS, which Farage later admitted was a ‘mistake’.
To think that a man who has divided the country, dragged Britain into economic uncertainty and campaigned on racist and xenophobic rhetoric could now receive a knighthood is nothing less than a disgrace.
Hear, Hear and Hear!
I have rarely read such a load of biased, unfounded drivel in all my life. I’m surprised that such a well respected paper as the OLIVE PRESS has given it room. The reason I, and most voters, said “NO” to the EU are many fold.
1) We are fed up with being saddled with silly rules made by un-elected officials,
2) We do not like paying billions into a fund that has never been audited,
3) We cannot keep accepting unlimited numbers of immigrants into an already overcrowded small island,
4) We need to protect ourselves from criminals entering the country,
As a Brexiteer I take it as an extreme insult to suggest I am racist. Many of my friends are from Europe as well as from India, Australia and America . I’ll say no more as my temper increases at every word in this article. You are entitled to your views, as am I, but please base them on fact, not biased, unfounded statements.
It’s why it’s labeled OPINION ..
May not be yours… but, guess what, We
Are entitled to it…
This is your comment as the Editor? No wonder why the Olive Press is such as biased socialist, illegal immigrant loving rag.
Socialists? Actually we did everything we could to expose the crooked socialists in power in Andalucia for the last decade – and, as for immigrants, they are the lifeblood of most European countries including the UK – and in case you hadn’t noticed…us expats are immigrants too!
Remember your place, you are here for the purpose of giving the people news and not your opinion on something you absolutely know nothing about. He is far from a disgrace and speaks for the people in England. He says what other people are afraid to say, he is respected, admired and loved by most Brits. I totally agree with the comment from Camerachap. Be careful, you may lose a lot of readers and an apology would not go amiss.
Know OUR place ? know NOTHING about ?
You sound like a patronizing Afrikaner telling a black South African about farming .
We have lived and breathed the racist, jingoistic and luckily mostly hated views of Farage for a decade … leading to the shambles the UK is in today – dropping down the world power tables and losing respect globally …
Take your patronizing attitude back to the UK – it’s not wanted here where 75% of expats wanted to Remain!
And find me a decent paper anywhere in the world that does not have an opinion section.
Oh and by the way, we’ve moved on, accepted the election result which at least more or less guarantees a soft Brexit, which is a big loss for all you hard Brexiteers too! Ask Farage himself.
Currently in Wells & Bath region & can say with certainty here & home town T. Wells, plus Salisbury & Canterbury (despite Labour win) the UK is in a good place following the election. Everywhere buzzing, optimistic, there are rough sleepers but no different to Marbella, Malaga & other large towns worldwide. Some remain or left wing reporters should get out more & visit the UK. The author of this story has not always been right previously.
Good news though is that following the Election win London property sees mega deals agreed within hours including sale of £65 million Belgravia mansion once overseas buyers knew the marxists Labour lot lost & couldn’t tax them. Even economic migrants still seem desperate to come to Britain, something must be right.
Then of course the good news for Spain is that like me, Mark Stucklin of SPI thinks the Conservative win will strengthen Sterling & more Brits will start buying in Spain. Win Win if so!
I agree with the previous comments, this is NOT an opinion, it is a RANT!
You are supposed to be an informative, unbiased publication which you are ruining with your personalised views.
I own property in Spain and am there maybe 5 months a year but do not have any worries about ‘Brexit’!
You, however do not even reside in the UK and promote these extreme and idiotic views.
I remember when the vote to leave was taken in 2016, you wrote totally biased propoganda about how the economy would fail -and has it -NO!
So get off your riduculous high horse and just report news. We do not want your opinion, just facts!
These right-wingers don’t half get nowty when their idol’s feet of clay are pointed out. It’s a pity Trump and Johnson weren’t put into the article’s mix, we may have got shut of a few of them, struck with apoplexy.
Oh weird, the weekly left winger ( ie @s) is having a strop again. He just doesn’t get it, Brexit it is, Boris is his PM, & there’s nowt he can do to reverse thing! Even when there are plus points for Spain and Expats, it gets ignored. Strange!