As a consquence it’s not UKIP policies that take precedent but Farage himself still having to justify and deny allegations yet again about his private life – all the while consuming yet more copious quantities of alcohol.
Mail on Sunday article portrays a far from sympathetic tone, for example this particular paragraph:
[Farage] had no time for the homeless man who tried to sell him The Big Issue, ignoring him completely.
After the bedraggled toothless chap eventually gave up and trudged off, Farage quipped: ‘That’s the first Big Issue seller I’ve come across for a while who isn’t a Romanian immigrant!’
He doesn’t ‘do’ compassion.In another article we have this:
UKIP leader Nigel Farage has come under fire for using taxpayers' money to pay for a swanky penthouse suite in Brussels.In many ways it comes as little surprise that newspapers adopt a hostile tone. When a party aims to overturn the establishment status quo in terms of EU membership, the cosy alliance of the three biggest parties and the media’s self-interest in maintaining that status quo, any upstart is undoubtedly going to be treated unfairly.
The Euro MP, who has previously criticised the European Union for its wastefulness, is renting the luxury property in one of the most exclusive addresses in the Belgian capital.
The crucial strategy when fighting the status quo is to become grudgingly respected if not liked. This can be achieved by dealing with policy detail, establishing oneself as an authority on a subject (in UKIP’s case the EU) and - in contrast to others - being seen to be above board in honesty; for example not employing your wife, and mistress, on the taxpayers' expense.
Thus that UKIP would be subjected to smears is no surprise. However shallow smears can always be conteracted by substance. Without substance empty rhetoric is no defence.
The crucial point with UKIP is how much are smears and how much is true? Ironically we turn to Farage to answer this question. He does so by comparing UKIP to Millwall Football Club:
‘We’re like Millwall Football Club, “Everyone hates us and we don’t care!”Firstly I would suggest that as a leader of a political party it's not entirely conducive to revel in the principle of "everyone hates us, we don’t care". It tends not to result in many votes.
It's true that Millwall's famous chant of: "no-one likes us, we don't care" is a masterpiece of defiance, in tune I guess with some aspects of UKIP which Farage indulges in. Yet conversely it is also a masterpiece of irony. If Millwall supporters truly didn't care, their club would not be defined by a chant that said they didn't.
But more importantly why has Farage compared UKIP to Millwall at all – a club that is associated with thuggery and violence? Even those of a non-football persuasion are fully aware of Millwall’s toxic reputation. Is Farage suggesting they’re all angels simply misunderstood?
We do not doubt that many Millwall fans are normal law-abiding supporters, unfortunately tarnished as they are by their club's reputation. Yet as a club they didn’t earn their infamy through unfairness.
No-one sat looking at a map and stuck a pin highlighting South Bermondsey saying let’s just pick on these chaps for no reason. Millwall earned their reputation. They can complain all they like that they are singled out but a mirror is sometimes useful. Yes their coverage is often unfavourable but a significant number don't do the club any favours.
So in many ways Farage's analogy was correct in a way he probably did not intend. Many of those in UKIP are hardworking volunteers let down by a minority. With no exit plan, a lack of a decent website, a party bereft of policies that are not “drivel” is it any wonder that the media have little else to concentrate on?
So a great deal of one of the Daily Mail articles contains Farage having to deny that he had an affair with Annabelle Fuller:
Has he had sex with Annabelle Fuller? ‘I don’t think we should go into the grisly details.’
Has he slept with her? ‘No.’ Has he kissed her? ‘No. When you work in a tight team, I understand why people might get the wrong idea.’
Why hadn’t he denied it immediately in the European Parliament? Farage falls back on his best weapon: wit. ‘There’s an old saying, if you pick a fight with a chimney sweep you get covered in soot!’A denial despite that this has been an open secret in the party for years and Fuller herself has openingly boasted about said liason to UKIP delegates in the past. Farage is being less than candid here. Ultimately regardless of Farage's unconvincing response the entire episode detracts from any kind of important issues that UKIP might campaign on. His personal life, paid for by the taxpayer is becoming a hinderance.
And still there is much more to be released about Farage and his entourage. That they have not been made public in media is down to use of Carter Ruck. Thus we suspect that some of the current "smears" are schadenfreude on behalf of journalists who have been on the receiving end of Carter Ruck when investigating numerous alleged misdemeanours - resulting in non-disclosure settlements. For some journalists, with fingers burnt, it's become personal.
Like Millwall, there are smears and facts – and often the former depends heavily on the latter. Criticising those that point out that the emperor has no clothes does not necessarily make them incorrect however uncomfortable the truth.
In the spirit of Farage we'll use another football analogy - we may criticise the manager if he's not up to it, but to do so does not make us a lesser supporter of our club.