THERE are two Brexit-themed marches this week, and one seems more shaped by satire than the other. One is a pro-Brexit trudge from Sunderland to London, the other is a People’s Vote march.
The first is already in moaning motion; the second takes place in London on Saturday. Friends of mine are taking part in one of the marches. Should you be wondering, they haven’t set off yet.
Nigel Farage organised the Sunderland march to protect the will of the people and because, clearly, he likes a good long walk. He was there on the first day, wearing a flat cap while sitting upstairs on an open-topped bus. In the rain. He didn’t look especially happy, but perhaps it was the thought of the long miles ahead.
Yet sitting in a roofless bus in the pissing rain does seem like the perfect image for Brexit, especially the way things have been shaping up. All that sunny optimism; all that rain.
Farage joined the marchers as they set off and trundled out a few of his greatest hits, like a cynical old pop star singing the same old song. Yesterday the pro-Brexit ramble reached Yorkshire and he was nowhere to be seen. This was good news for Yorkshire but suggests the former Ukip leader is less keen on walking than he’d let on.
Perhaps he nipped across a field for a fag and never came back, inspired by that dodge he had for cross country when he was a boy at public school (that infamous training ground for would-be men of the people).
The pro-Brexit marchers were shown on BBC Look North, making their way through Knaresborough to a rousing chorus of support from the crowds thronging the street. Oh, sorry, something went wrong there: the march was shown going along a dull suburban road that looked to be empty. A married couple, one pro and one anti, chatted to the reporter over their garden fence.
Over in nearby Wetherby, pensioners from both sides of the Brexit divide were shouting at each other. Their argument was caused by the march that never arrived. Maybe grumpy old people of both persuasions were the only ones with times on their hands in Wetherby yesterday.
It’s a fair bet that Farage won’t be seen again on that march, or at least until it reaches London, when he will nip back across that field in a cloud of cigarette smoke.
Thinking of Nigel Farage in this knockabout way is always tempting, partly because taking the mick seems to cut the awful man down to size. The trouble is, it doesn’t – and that’s because he’s far worse, and far more dangerous, than the crusted caricature suggests.
Farage will have written himself a sick note for his march because he will be too busy propagandising on his LBC talk show. Or too busy fomenting Brexit trouble in Europe.
For the sad truth is that Farage is only a failure in the sense that he never managed to become an MP. Other than that, he is a leading figure in right-wing European politics, cosying up to other right-wing forces – and getting pally with US president Donald Trump. That clubby old caricature casts a long dark shadow.
And talking of Trump, if there is one thing more cheering than the Prez shoving his nose into our politics, it’s when his no-nothing son picks up the family baton.
In an article for the Brexit-bonkers Daily Telegraph, Donald Trump Jr writes that Theresa May should have listened to his dad on Brexit. “A process that should have taken only a few short months has become a years-long stalemate, leaving the British people in limbo,” the mini-me Trump writes.
Oh, I’m sure the British people would love to hear what all the Trumps think: his glitzy daughter, the dodgy son-in-law, wife number three or maybe some of the nine grandchildren. Perhaps they’d like to arrange a chlorinated chicken supper to trash it out.