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Tuesday, July 23, 2024
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HomeDemocracy in DecayFixing broken Britain the Farage way – a great reforming political speech

Fixing broken Britain the Farage way – a great reforming political speech

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IN HIS most serious and comprehensive speech yet, Nigel Farage forcefully and uncompromisingly documented Britain’s cultural and economic decline yesterday. ‘I couldn’t stand aside,’ he told the Reform UK national rally at the Birmingham NEC. Not from a country in such serious economic decline, not from a country that is societal decline, not from a country in cultural decline.

It was, as I tweeted, a great political speech that hit all the buttons and promised serious reform.

‘We are not a protest vote, even though there is much to protest against. People are supporting us because we have a vision’.

He sets out that vision here, and the transcript follows.

NIGEL FARAGE: Wow! Wow! Good afternoon, Birmingham. Welcome to the thinking man and thinking woman’s alternative to Glastonbury! Are we having fun? Good. Because I’ll tell you what, unlike all the others, all the other stuffed shirts, we are real people. We believe in ourselves. We believe in our country. We believe in our future. But we also believe in having fun and enjoying life and being optimistic about the future of our great country.

Now, I’ve got to tell you, the last time I was in front of a crowd like this, it was the 31st January 2020, and we were in Parliament Square. And it was the moment that we finally left the European Union. And Richard and I were up on stage. And what a moment, what a moment! It was something that I campaigned for, for over a quarter of a century, and it was simply because I believed for all that time that the best people to govern Britain were the British people themselves. That’s what it was all about.

Anyway, it was my honour to do the countdown. Ten. Nine. Eight. Seven. Six. Five. Four. Three. Two. One. Boom! And of course, the fireworks, which we always have. And we’re out. And I thought, well, I’ve achieved my life’s goal. We’ve got back the self-governance of our nation. And it’s time for me to walk away. It’s time for me to walk away from active politics, having done it for a quarter of a century, including, of course, 20 years in the European Parliament, an experience which I enjoyed a lot more than they did, let me tell you.

And so for the last four years, life has been pretty good. I’ve been able to help get GB News off the ground and do four shows a week, which I’ve loved. I’ve loved. I’ve been back and forth across the Atlantic like a commuter, speaking at colleges, speaking at conventions. All four of my children are now grown up. Indeed, so much so that this week, on, of all days, 23rd June, the eighth anniversary of Brexit, my first grandson was born as well.

So, life has been pretty good. Life has been content. I’ve not needed to work much on Saturdays and Sundays. I’ve not been subject to endless media attacks. We might come back to that, funnily enough. And I have earnt more money than I’ve earnt for 30 years. And life has been great.

And suddenly, Rishi calls a general election, at very short notice. I thought, ‘Well, it’s impossible. I can’t possibly come back with just four weeks to go.’ But I began to realise, as I travelled round the country, that I simply could not stand aside when the choice – or lack of choice – is between slippery Sunak, the biggest spinner since Blair, who’s trying to convince us in what is now the fifth consecutive Conservative manifesto that somehow they’re a party of low tax, when they put the tax burden up to the highest it’s been since 1948. To convince us that they’re a party of low immigration levels. And they got an 80-seat majority in 2019 on the back of that – and remember, with considerable support from the Brexit Party as well, we helped them enormously. But I couldn’t. I couldn’t stand aside and be lied to for the fifth manifesto in a row when under Rishi Sunak’s premiership, we’ve let in 2.5million people in the last two years alone. Think about it. One in 30 people in this country has come in since Rishi Sunak became Prime Minister.

And I couldn’t stand aside and see a Labour leader – well, I say ‘leader’, I don’t believe the man has any leadership qualities whatsoever. None. And I think to lead a country through difficult times in a war that he’s in . . . [inaudible comment from audience member] I wouldn’t quite go as far as that sir, but I get the point. I do get the point! We need someone leading our country in difficult times, when the world is perhaps in a more perilous place than it’s been at any point in our lifetimes. You do need a degree of charisma. Now, Keir Starmer has the charisma of a . . .? Well, I did use this ten years ago in the European Parliament, but I’m going to dig it out of the cupboard – he has the charisma of a damp rag. And what does he stand for? What does he stand for? He can’t even define what a woman is. He flips and flops and changes his mind.

So I couldn’t stand aside. I couldn’t stand aside with a country that’s in economic decline. And think about this, GDP per capita has fallen for the last six consecutive quarters. People are getting poorer. And I couldn’t stand aside in a country that is in genuine societal decline – safety, people fearful of going out at night, people scared to even go out to their local pub. Knives being carried wholesale by young people in our country. So we are, I’ve no doubt, in societal decline.

And I couldn’t stand aside in a country that is in cultural decline. And I must say, I thought young Zia [an earlier speaker] spoke absolutely magnificently. Magnificently. A country that has forgotten what it is. A country that’s forgotten where we come from. A country that doesn’t seem to value our culture, our inheritance, and what we wish to pass on to our children.

So I felt I couldn’t stand aside with all of these things going on. And exactly four weeks ago, almost to the minute, I made a decision. And that decision was I was going to come out of retirement and come back to lead you. And what an unbelievable four weeks it has been.

I’ll tell you something. I’ve no doubt something is happening out there. Something remarkable is happening out there, and I’m seeing it across all ages. Never before have I seen so many young people concerned about the future of their country. It’s great. Really great. And this awakening crosses all classes, all ages, all races. Something remarkable is happening out there, and we’re going up in the polls – or down according to some, it all depends which methodology they use. But I know we’re doing very well. Do you know how? Because when you threaten the establishment, they don’t exactly come out with a tray of gin and tonics now, do they? And I think the establishment itself know that the Conservatives deserve to lose this election, but that Labour don’t deserve to win it.

And everywhere I go, I sense that we are the story. We are what people are talking about at the breakfast table, at work, at the pub, at the bingo hall, wherever people go, we are the story. Already many millions, many, many millions already have said that they absolutely are going to vote for us.

But there are many millions more who have simply not made up their minds, and they could come to us over the course of the next four days. And the establishment don’t want us. You see, they’re very happy for Keir to take over from Rishi, because it’s not actually a change of government, it’s a change of middle management.

And the idea that Labour represent change is for the birds. It’s going to be more of the same, just perhaps a little bit less competent than the Conservatives, if you can even believe that is possible.

Now, look, I’m used to the rough and tumble of political debates and ‘all’s fair in love and war’. But I have to tell you, one or two things that have happened over the course of the last few weeks go way, way beyond what is reasonable and what is fair.

The first day of the campaign, I did an event down in Dover where I talked about one of my pet subjects, the boats crossing the English Channel. And it was interesting because the BBC News Channel took the speech live until they cut it off, with the presenter saying, ‘Well, we’ve cut away from that because here’s Nigel Farage using his customary inflammatory language.’ And I demanded an apology and I got one, which is remarkable. In fact, over the last year I’ve had quite a few apologies, including from National Westminster Bank, which was rather good too.

You see, I’m not afraid of standing up and fighting for what I believe in, whatever names they call me. But ever since that moment, the BBC have been a political actor in this general election campaign.

Indeed, it was the BBC that started off the Russia hoax. Now it’s always the Russia hoax. We won the referendum, so they concluded it must be Russia. It must be the Russians that funded the Leave campaign. And this went on for year after year. And with us in the room today is Arron Banks, one of the men who put the most money into that Brexit campaign. And Arron had to fight the Russia hoax for years in the courts, until he finally won against a Guardian journalist. Russia had nothing to do with our success in that referendum.

So, it was the BBC that started off the Russia hoax. And I understand why the BBC don’t like me. I understand why the Labour Party don’t like me. I understand why the Conservative Party don’t like me. Because unlike them, I could see that the war in Iraq 20 years ago was a mistake because there was never any endgame.

And unlike them, the war that David Cameron launched in 2012 against Libya, I railed against again and again and again. But of course, it was supported by the Conservative Party, supported by the Labour Party. And what happened? A new organisation was created, ISIS. We created ISIS. Before the Libyan war, there were no boats. No boats crossing the Mediterranean. But because of David Cameron, a couple of million have now crossed the Mediterranean. And many, of course, now want to come to us.

And unlike them, who seem to have no feeling or understanding for history, I predicted ten years ago in the European Parliament that because of our actions, there would be a war in Ukraine. I said it openly. I said it clearly. And I was the only British political figure to get, sadly, to get that right. And now we have this horrific conflict with perhaps up to a million battle casualties.

But that gets twisted by the BBC because I predicted it in support for President Putin. Can I just be absolutely clear? I think what Putin has turned Russia into was a post-communist country, with the wall coming down, with the hope of a democratic future, and he’s turned it into a brutal dictatorship in which his enemies go to prison and die, in which journalists disappear. And I think what Putin has done in Ukraine is absolutely morally reprehensible in every single way. Have you got that?

But the final straw for me with the BBC took place last Friday, here in Birmingham. A Question Time Special, I think it might be the 40th Question Time that I’ve done over the years. Look, I expect an audience not all to agree with me. But I don’t expect the first questioner to be somebody who has produced eight separate BBC programmes over the course of the last year, including Doctor Who, which I used to love and they’ve completely ruined.

And then the third questioner – a pro-Palestinian known activist. Does anyone think that group of people were representative of the great British public in any way at all? Well, I’ve had enough. I’ve had enough. Have you had enough of the BBC? Well, we will renew, with added vigour, our campaign over the course of the next few years, as we’re going to be the leading voice of opposition. And I say that because the Conservative Party will be in opposition, but they won’t be the opposition because they disagree with each other on virtually everything.

Think about it. The last four years, all we’ve had are internal Tory wars. They stand for nothing. I was told they’re a broad church. Well, they’re a broad church without any religion. It simply doesn’t work. So we will again renew our campaign with added vigour to say that the state broadcaster has abused its position of power. And we will campaign. We will campaign as the leading opposition voice in this, not just in Parliament but in the country too. We will campaign for the abolition of the BBC licence fee. That’s popular! Wow. That’s popular. You like that, don’t you? You like that, don’t you?

And then we have Channel 4. A so-called public service broadcaster. Well, let me tell you what happened in Clacton, Saturday-week back, was the biggest put-up job and smear campaign I have seen in my entire life. That man is a professional actor who has worked for Channel 4 in the past. Funny that, isn’t it? He’s very, very poshly spoken, but he does what he calls ‘rough talking’, and makes pretty abusive TikTok videos, etc.

From the minute he turned up in that Clacton office, he was using the most extraordinary cockney accent I’ve ever heard. He . . . [responding to audience], ‘Cor blimey, guv,’ quite right. Quite right. ‘Cockles and mussels, alive, alive-o’ and all of it. Look, yeah, he could have been from the fish market, but he wasn’t.

And interestingly, he did spend some time talking to two people in the office who both, it turns out, were undercover Channel 4 reporters. He seemed to know them. So from the moment he walked in, the whole thing was an act. And he tried to get Reform canvassers to say rude and abusive things. And when they wouldn’t do it, he did it himself. And when I saw the video, initially I was horrified, until I realised he’d gone completely over the top with the idea that every mosque should be turned into a Wetherspoons. And I . . . the next morning, when confronted, he of course denied that he was a journalist. Then he accepted it. But that, of course, has been used as the biggest smear against us. The racist. The racist campaigner for our party.

Now, look, Reform is a new organisation. It’s a start-up. And there were requests put out for candidates to stand. And have we had a few bad apples? We have. Although to my knowledge, nobody involved in an organised betting ring is standing for us, which is something. The Channel 4 story was a put-up job. It really is, frankly, gross that that insult should be directed at all of you and all of our millions of voters. It is simply untrue. But I have to say, the bad apples are gone. We’ll never have them back.

And Channel 4, listen to this. YouGov polling published this morning, Reform UK is now polling higher with British ethnic minorities than the Liberal Democrats. So, Channel 4, put that in your bloody pipe and smoke it.

But the attempt to stop us goes on. Would you believe today, since we went live at 12:00, in the middle of Ann Widdecombe’s speech, our live stream on TikTok was suspended for the use of hate speech. Now, I don’t know about you, I’ve always found Ann Widdecombe rather charming. Principled. Decent. I mean, she’s a battler. She’s a warrior. She’s actually a fantastic role model for women in this country to go out and do things.

So it’s been tough. The last few days have been tough. I’ve wondered, ‘Am I really doing this all again?’ Well, I am. I am. And I’m not downhearted. Are you downhearted?

And we’re doing much better our there than anybody in the media, in politics, even dares to imagine in their worst nightmares. We are doing well. We’re doing well.

And we are not a protest vote, even though there is much to protest against. People are supporting us because we have a vision. People are supporting us because we can see the way forward. People are supporting us because we stand up for values. People are supporting us because we believe in the family. And we put in our contract with the people, I think, a brilliant idea – that you front-end load child benefit, so that if a mother with young kids wants to stay at home until they’re of school age, we’ll make it easier for them to do so. We must.

We’re the first party in years to talk in a positive way about marriage. Now, you know not all of us have the best record in this particular area. But there’s no doubt that children brought up in a loving, married relationship have better life chances than anybody else. They just do. So we’re pushing the idea of transferable tax allowances.

And what is it that’s really hurt the family? Well, part of it, I think, is the psychological damage that was done to us through repeated lockdowns. And there is no conversation about lockdowns, no conversation about mask mandates, no conversation about the fact they even wanted to vaccinate our young kids. No conversation, no debate. Because Labour and the Conservatives both agreed.

The cost of living also has impacted every family in this country. Runaway inflation, which happened chiefly because we’ve been living way beyond our means, and because the Bank of England is led by the utterly useless Andrew Bailey. Utterly useless. So interest rates, which had to go up, have impacted particularly those with mortgages or those renewing.

But think about this – again, not discussed, not debated in the election campaign by Labour or Conservatives – when the Conservatives came to power, our accumulated national debt was roughly £1trillion. It is now £2.7trillion. And the interest repayments are £90billion a year, the same as the education budget. Which is ironic, isn’t it, because they’re the ones who actually, when they get older, are going to face paying all of this off.

We’re being frank with people. We’ve been badly, badly let down. But one of the biggest costs for families is energy. Whether it’s filling up your car because you live in a rural area and can’t survive without it. But it’s the electricity bill, isn’t it? It’s the gas bill. It’s all of these things. And what have we done? We’ve pursued aggressive Net Zero policies, which have de-industrialised Britain, sent our manufacturing off to India and China and elsewhere, whilst loading the costs of subsidy on to the electricity bills of ordinary families.

I am for renewable energy, if it works. But it gives us intermittent, expensive energy. So we would scrap the excessive, impossible to achieve Net Zero agenda of both parties.

And for those worried about carbon dioxide, for those worried about that. Well, we’ll go for small modular nuclear reactors as a source of continuous energy without any carbon output. Without any carbon output.

So we’re thinking a lot about families and the cost of living. We also believe that community matters. And that is why the mass immigration policies begun by Tony Blair and now accelerated by the Conservatives have led us in many of our towns and cities now to have completely divided communities, where one group of people don’t even talk to the other group of people. This is just plain wrong. Plain wrong.

And it’s into that that we saw the horrific, shocking scenes after the recent local elections of sectarian voting in England, in England – sectarian voting happening. And by the way, a new form of politics in which women are completely excluded. Did you see Angela Rayner? Did you see Angela Rayner sitting there begging for the Muslim vote in her constituency? Not a single woman to be seen.

But one of the most damaging things that is going on is what is happening in our schools, in our universities. A wilful attempt to poison the minds of our young people to believe that we are somehow uniquely bad in terms of our history, when in fact completely the opposite is true. Completely opposite.

Critical Race Theory, which tells an eight-year-old white boy that he’s an oppressor, and an eight-year-old black boy that he’s a victim. This is a disaster. This won’t bring us together. It’ll drive us apart. It’s terrible.

I made this point to Trevor Phillips this morning and he was dumbstruck for about ten seconds, because everyone’s bought in to the diversity and inclusion agenda. They all seem to have bought into the idea that we should all be divided up according to our race, according to our sexual preference – of which there are now so many, I can’t even keep up or understand what many of the definitions are. Our view is different. Our view in Reform is we don’t care what race you are. We don’t care what your sexuality is. We’re not interested.

We don’t want to live in a country that is divided up. We want to live in a country where everybody, regardless of who they are, are equal before the law.

And I would say to those that have called us nasty names, none of those people with those tendencies are welcome in this party. None of them. And if anybody in this room is motivated by hatred and loathing of others because they’re different, I invite you to leave the room now. Let’s tell people who we are.

But above all, we believe in country. And you can’t be a country unless you control your borders. It’s vital. It’s essential. Now, I went out four years ago into the English Channel, and I filmed the dinghies coming across. I challenged mainstream media. I said, ‘Why are you not covering this story?’ And I predicted that huge numbers of people would come. Well, now it is 4,000 boats later. It is 128,000 people. And 91 per cent of them are male, and nearly all young male. And they’re coming into this country from war zones in which they’ve been involved. They’re coming into this country from areas that are dominated by gang culture. They’re coming into this country from areas that are rife with terrorism.

And you know what they do? They destroy their identity documents when they get to the 12-mile line. I have filmed them throwing their iPhones into the sea. But it’s okay, because you pay for a new iPhone as soon as they arrive. And you for the four-star hotel. And they get free medical care. They get free dental . . . I mean, dental care – who’s got an NHS dentist here?

But it isn’t just the unfairness of it. It isn’t just the fact that it’s so wrong that British people ultimately get pushed to the back of the social housing queue. It isn’t just that. It’s far worse than that. This is a national security emergency, no less.

And I was amazed at Keir Starmer the other night used that phrase for the first time. But one of the reasons that Rishi called this election early is his promise that the planes would go to Rwanda in July was never, ever going to happen. Never going to happen.

And for Keir Starmer, well, on his six election priorities, he doesn’t mention once legal or illegal immigration. And so this crisis is set to continue. But it’s a bit rich. It’s a bit rich for the Conservatives to say to Labour, ‘It’ll be even worse under you.’ How much worse can it get than it is right now?

We know we will never solve this problem all the while we have an interfering foreign court in Strasbourg. We will campaign to leave the European Court of Human Rights.

And of course, the first priority of any government is to defend this country and to defend its people. And we’re living, as I mentioned earlier, in a much more dangerous world than any of us have seen in our lifetimes. So what have 14 years done to our services? The Navy and Marines down by 15 per cent. The Royal Air Force down by 27 per cent. The British Army down by 30 per cent. And we pretend we’re spending 2 per cent of GDP on defence by adding in all sorts of other budgets. And this isn’t a case of whether we go up to 2.5 per cent by 2030 or 2029. We need massively increased defence spending and rebuilding our armed forces, and it needs to start right away.

And we must recognise that for our future security, Nato and the relationship with America is absolutely key. And I promise you this: David Lammy and Keir Starmer want to take us into – just as Mrs May did before – was she the worst ever Prime Minister? There’s a lot of competition out there, you know, isn’t there? It’s very difficult. Just as Mrs May wanted to do, Labour will take us into the European Defence Union, taking us closer to that and further away from Nato. And we will fight that every single inch of the way.

Many of these things are not even being discussed in this general election. In fact, the two big debates that I was part of, with panels, I saw Penny Mordaunt up against Angela Rayner. And it turned into sort of a catfight. You know, ‘You’re going to put taxes up,’ ‘No, you’re going to put taxes up.’ None of them really telling us what they stand for. Nobody with a vision for the future of this country.

Ladies and gentlemen, we have an optimistic, positive view of what we can do to help families, to help communities, to help our nation. Perhaps to get back a bit of pride in what we are, in who we are, and where we can go in the future. That is where we are. And I know that under our electoral system, things are tough. We’re likely to get fewer seats than the number of votes should deserve. But get seats next Thursday, we will, believe it. It is going to happen.

And we’ll likely see a Labour Party with, you know, not a particularly high share of the vote, with a massive number of seats. And part of what we’re about is reforming the potentially corrupt postal voting system. Reforming the voting system. Getting rid of the unelected House of Lords in their current form.

Yes, we are the reformers. We are the reformers in every sense. We believe that at the same time, you can respect your culture, your traditions, but move it into and make it appropriate for the 21st century. That is what we’re all about. And I know that Starmer is going to win this election. But I believe this – what Thursday is about is the first step. It’s the first major step that we take in an independent United Kingdom to turn this around.

Britain is broken. Britain needs Reform. And so we will become the voice of opposition.

And my intention – given that we’re hitting 60,000 paid-up members today, over 200,000 people now supporters on our database, we’re growing rapidly – my intention is we build over the course of the next few years, a mass movement, the likes of which has never been seen in the modern history of this country. A mass movement for real change. A mass movement that reflects the views of ordinary people of this country.

And I believe we can do this. Do you believe that we can do this? Are you with us on the journey for the next four days? Are you with us on the journey for the next five years? Are we going to change British political history? But if you’re with me and support me and support us and our candidates and our goals, and are as unashamedly patriotic as everybody else on this platform, please stand up so that I can thank you. Thank you very, very much indeed. Thank you for being here today. Onwards to Thursday! Thank you.

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Kathy Gyngell
Kathy Gyngellhttps://www.conservativewoman.co.uk
Kathy is Editor of The Conservative Woman. She is @kathygyngelltcw on GETTR and is back on Twitter.

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