In fewer than fifty words he had tied in all the themes of the right-wing threat narrative – everything from terrorism to xenophobia and white genocide – and was leaping on this awful and as yet largely unreported tragedy. So much credit has to be given to the people of Glasgow – well, people make Glasgow – and the whole of Scotland; they didn’t buy his obvious race baiting comment, and in short order told him what to do with his pathetic racist opinions. But, then, this tweet wasn’t directed at Scotland. Farage knows how poorly he’s thought of in our country.
Honestly, we didn’t think they thought like that – not really, and not so ordinarily. We had our suspicions, but we had no way of knowing just how idiotic and wonderfully deluded the opinion of the average Englishman is. Boasting of empire and the conquest of half the world, taking pride in something analogous to robbing half the houses on Highfield Road, is a special kind of craziness. It betrays the ignorance at the heart of England’s memory of empire, an obnoxious and dark period of British history in which thoughts of racial supremacism led to genocide and ethnic cleansing.
Students of the far-right are well acquainted with this strategy of waiting. Since Oswald Mosley and his British Union of Fascists, all the essential ingredients of true ideological racism – white supremacism and fascism – have been patiently waiting in the undergrowth, moving through a series of permutations; the National Front, the BNP, UKIP, and the Brexit Party – to name a few. Farage is not like the more obvious racists. He’s not like Nick Griffin or Tommy Robinson.
Britain’s empire was always thus, but now the battlegrounds are within England and the imperial mindset has infected the “lower orders;” the former cannon fodder, the worker ants.