The politics of hypocrisy

It is often said that emotion outweighs logic when it comes to decision-making. Although this has never been more obvious I can’t help but hope that the balance will tip, particularly when it comes to voting.

The sheer irrationality of politics makes me steer clear of even offering a viewpoint in most cases. It’s all too easy to be flippant but the jokes cause hollow-laughter that mockingly reverberates in the echo chambers of our polarised discourse. Preaching to the converted was never less appealing.

Photo by Elijah O'Donnell on Unsplash
It has taken the odious Nigel Farage to shake me out of this habit. If ignorance is bliss he should be the happiest man alive, but it appears that he’s still angry about something and has chosen to launch a political party to vent, which is the obvious thing to do of course. The imaginatively titled Brexit Party again focuses on the single issue for which he is known (other than wearing tweed and drinking foamy ale), opposing our membership of the EU. If he has any mates I wonder why they’ve never suggested that he ‘winds it in a bit’ or ‘changes the record’. Surely that’s what mates are for, to remind you when you’re becoming a bore, or a caricature. Obviously, they’ve decided he’s a lost cause – something our broadcasters would do well to acknowledge.

Though it’s not immediately obvious why we need another political ‘institution’ to uphold Brexit when the two major parties are already committed to it, the ‘will this name do’ party promises to hold our politicians to account. Marvellous, another collection of random fools to fill up our media and mindspace with their fact-free sloganeering and post-truth scaremongering. 

As part of the process of holding politicians to account the ‘one-trick-pony’ party intends to post candidates in the European Elections in May. This is where my incredulity generally spills into ranting. I’ve never understood why UKIP or their ilk choose to put up candidates in elections where their obvious single-policy (the one they’re generally named after) cannot be furthered. What point is there to being a local councillor when your local council cannot determine or have any bearing on the UK being part of the EU? Why would you want to join the European Parliament, that thing you’re apparently opposed to, to protest about your own country’s membership? It is pointless. 

Photo by Kyle Glenn on Unsplash
Naturally I must remind myself that logic is not part of the equation. Otherwise I’d be forced to think that we vote to elect people to represent us in whatever the chosen body is. Were that true we’d be appalled at career-politician Farage and his pitiful attendance record at parliament. UKIP MEPs turn up to fewer votes than any other party in Europe, naturally because they don’t believe in it – even if you were stupid enough to vote to send them there. The Kippers only once turned up en masse, on the day the parliament was voting on their benefits post-Brexit.  As for their on-off-on-off leader, Farage has managed to rock up for European votes only 40% of the time, voting 3855 times of 9619 opportunities, placing himself 746thof 751 members. He’s a serial parliamentary failure who in 2016 only had the second-worst attendance record because the worst belonged to a guy who was paralysed and spent most of that time in hospital. Good-old Nigel sticking it to the man and standing up for us…….

I’m always interested in motivation, what determines a course of action. Why does Farage bother, what’s in it for him? We would all do well to think about such things. No doubt his fan-club will claim that he acts in the interests of the country but really, who is that ‘selfless’ for this prolonged period? Logic also dictates that I ask why UKIP and the new ‘Gravy Train’ party bother to nominate people to stand in EU and local council elections. It can only be because the turn-out at such elections is significantly lower than UK parliamentary affairs, consequently they have a better chance of success. Is it a protest vote or a strategic attempt to get bigots a regular pay cheque? 

The emergence of a new party for those not quite racist enough to vote UKIP could easily muddy the water but for those of us with a modicum of logic it may give us a minor source of amusement. Their most prominent member and messianic leader is, after all, a befuddled, attention-seeking bore who has failed seven times to be elected to the Houses of Parliament. We don’t trust MPs but we trust needy and desperate hypocrites even less.