Did anyone else notice a curious change in rhetoric from Nigel Farage in the BBC debate the other day?
UKIP has always painted itself as the heroic defender of British business interests, fighting back with the sword of patriotism against modern-day European aggressors.Â Of course, British business has been staunchly unequivocal in its support of Britain’s EU membership, so it was always puzzling that Farage kept trying to insist otherwise.
But in his second debate with Nick Clegg, the UKIP leader came out with several prepared lines which seemed to pull in the opposite direction, even at one point saying something like (I quote from memory) “It’s no wonder Nick wants to support the EU — he’s on the side of the Westminster establishment and big business!”. It seems Farage now wants to paint himself as some kind of Mr Everyman, the heroic defender of small businesses and the “white working class”.
Is this a rare case of Farage backing off from a dubious claim in the face of overwhelming evidence? Or is it merely a cynical attempt to ditch his unpopular city-trader image, in favour of a new persona as Mr Everyman? I leave it for the reader to judge which is the more likely.
But whichever it is, the obvious problem with Farage’s late conversion into a crusader against big business is that small businesses and entrepreneurs are just as supportive of Britain’s EU membership.