Gobby Little Englander Nigel Farage MEP is overly fond of overblown metaphors, but all of us who are unconstrained by the need for political and diplomatic niceties can play that game. Farage may think that he belongs in this category, but his recent outburst in the European Parliament could so easily come back to bite him in the bum.
This afternoon Farage looks set to be disciplined by the president of the European Parliament for his insulting behaviour in the chamber. Last week Farage turned on Herman van Rompuy, saying among other things that the European Council president had “the charisma of a damp rag”.
Farage knew exactly what effect his rant would have, addressed as it was to a domestic audience, courtesy of the TV cameras and an army of scribbling hacks who were no doubt briefed beforehand about the planned spectacle. Farage cares not what his fellow European parliamentarians think of him, and is unconcerned with any sanctions that Jerzy Buzek may impose today. In a few weeks Farage will stand for a Westminster seat, and, whether or not he takes Buckingham from its nominally Conservative incumbent, his political future lies in London, not Brussels.
So what should Buzek do? If the European Parliament president has any nerve, he will use the British media to address the voters of Buckingham. Whatever these electors may think of the European Union and its leaders, they should ask themselves whether Nigel Farage is a man of honour and integrity. Do they want an MP who is so contemptuous of the hand that for the past decade has fed him so handsomely?