Mark Steel in The Independent
From the way Donald Trump is trying to place Nigel Farage as British ambassador to America, it seems he must think part of his prize for winning the election is he can appoint whoever he likes to every single job.
Next he’ll demand Boris Johnson is made Prime Minister of Pakistan, Alan Sugar plays in goal for Brazil, and Farage combines his role as ambassador with being an underwear model for Marks & Spencer.
Then he can insist he chooses all official delegates at every summit, so the next G20 will be him and Farage, with a bloke he met in a lap-dancing club in Milan, a woman from Japan who was Miss Tokyo 2012 – until he realises she’s put on four pounds so is hardly suitable to discuss climate change – and his daughter, who can represent Mexico.
He can act like this because he’s anti-establishment which is why he’s such good friends with Farage. And there’s no greater sign of two mates bravely fighting against the symbols of wealth and power, than being photographed smiling in a solid gold lift that one of them owns so he can go up and down his tower. Jeremy Corbyn, look and learn.
This week Farage secured his position as spokesman for the common man by having a party at the Ritz, because he’s determined to stay rooted in the community.
Men of the people always have their parties at the Ritz, so this was Nigel’s way of keeping it real, with a homely affair for old friends and the neighbours, such as the Barclay brothers and Jacob ‘Salt-of-the-Earth’ Rees-Mogg, who must have got time off from an evening shift driving a forklift truck.
It reminds me of my Auntie Joyce’s do when she retired from the Co-op. And what a lovely moment it was when she said: “Ooh, look who’s popped in – it’s Lord Ashcroft who delivers the fruit and veg.”
Also there was Jim “down at the old Bull and Bush” Mellon who is worth £850m and is so down-to-earth he bases himself in the Isle of Man for some reason, probably because he is shy.
It is common for prominent people in independence parties to be based outside the country they wish to be independent, because they’ve been exiled, and the UK Independence Party follows this tradition.
In their case they all seem to be tax exiles but the principle is exactly the same.
So Nigel’s celebration must have been the grassroots event you’d expect, just like your brother-in-law’s 50th birthday upstairs in the pub. We’re all familiar with how these evenings end, with Lord Ashcroft trying to separate the Barclay brothers as they squabble over who had the last of the Twiglets, and journalists from The Times throwing up in the garden after a pint of Malibu and Crème de Menthe.
Someone else who went to the Ritz party was Ukip donor Aaron Banks, who has companies in the Isle of Man but also in Gibraltar. That’s because he’s so passionate about the United Kingdom he doesn’t want its tax officers wasting time counting his payments when they could be doing something more useful, so he gives a tiny bit to places abroad instead, to help Britain out.
As Nigel is so adamant he’s an ordinary chap, he’s transformed the way we see the establishment altogether. Up until recently, to be anti-establishment you had to be in some way at least in part opposed to the establishment. But now that stuffy rule has been destroyed, and in these more creative post-truth times anyone can be anti-establishment as long as they claim to be.
This Christmas, the Queen will start her speech: “This year, I for one have had just about enough of the establishment. It’s all right for some, lauding it with their posh crockery, and buying the latest Swarovski crowns rather than having to make do with hand-me-downs from Queen Victoria. But your la-di-da types can say what they like, and I can moan about immigrants whenever I fancy coz I’m a simple gal living in South London and I know what’s what.”
Then the politicians will try and copy Trump and Farage as it seems to work. Philip Hammond will start a speech about Brexit negotiations: “Yesterday evening I met with the German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who I have to confess I found a particularly cracking piece of arse.” Then all his front bench will groan “Hear, hear, hear” and wave bits of paper.
There will be a scandal as it emerges Michael Gove paid the proper amount of tax, but he’ll make a statement: “I can assure you these are malicious lies and I paid hardly any.” And there will be calls for Hilary Benn’s resignation, when it’s claimed he met his wife at a regional meeting of a Labour Party committee on road policy in rural areas. But he’ll deny this, saying, “I can assure you I met her in proper fashion, groping her in a taxi after giving her second prize in the competition for Miss Weston-Super-Mare 1996.”
Vince Cable will publish election leaflets showing him in a jacuzzi with a ladyboy, but his opponents will accuse him of having it Photoshopped. And the Conservative Party political broadcast will be a hip-hop video in which Jeremy Hunt stands by a swimming pool in a white suit with a gold cane pouring rum over Amber Rudd as she wiggles in a bikini.
Because at last we don’t have to obsessively cater for special interest exotic minorities such as people from abroad and women, and we can give the country back to the ordinary grafting working-class millionaire at the Ritz.