Support 110 years of independent journalism.

  1. Politics
25 February 2010

Nigel Farage’s contradictory attack on van Rompuy

Shouldn't he be pleased that the EU is led by a political pygmy?

By George Eaton

Nigel Farage’s astonishingly rude attack on the EU president, Herman van Rompuy, is making waves this morning. In a transparent attempt to replicate Daniel Hannan’s YouTube success, the Ukip MEP declared that van Rompuy has “the charisma of a damp rag” and the “appearance of a low-grade bank clerk”. At one point he even asked, “Who are you?”

The former Belgian prime minister’s mild response, an eyebrow raised here and there, went some way, inadvertently, to backing up Farage’s outburst.

I think we can all agree that van Rompuy, to borrow Winston Churchill’s description of Clement Attlee, is a modest man with much to be modest about. But here’s what I don’t understand: surely, as an anti-federalist, Farage should be grateful that the EU is led by a political pygmy? Wouldn’t the traffic-stopping Tony Blair have been far worse?

Select and enter your email address Your new guide to the best writing on ideas, politics, books and culture each weekend - from the New Statesman. A quick and essential guide to domestic politics from the New Statesman's Westminster team. A weekly newsletter helping you understand the global economic slowdown. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email. Stay up to date with NS events, subscription offers & updates.
  • Administration / Office
  • Arts and Culture
  • Board Member
  • Business / Corporate Services
  • Client / Customer Services
  • Communications
  • Construction, Works, Engineering
  • Education, Curriculum and Teaching
  • Environment, Conservation and NRM
  • Facility / Grounds Management and Maintenance
  • Finance Management
  • Health - Medical and Nursing Management
  • HR, Training and Organisational Development
  • Information and Communications Technology
  • Information Services, Statistics, Records, Archives
  • Infrastructure Management - Transport, Utilities
  • Legal Officers and Practitioners
  • Librarians and Library Management
  • Management
  • Marketing
  • OH&S, Risk Management
  • Operations Management
  • Planning, Policy, Strategy
  • Printing, Design, Publishing, Web
  • Projects, Programs and Advisors
  • Property, Assets and Fleet Management
  • Public Relations and Media
  • Purchasing and Procurement
  • Quality Management
  • Science and Technical Research and Development
  • Security and Law Enforcement
  • Service Delivery
  • Sport and Recreation
  • Travel, Accommodation, Tourism
  • Wellbeing, Community / Social Services
Visit our privacy Policy for more information about our services, how New Statesman Media Group may use, process and share your personal data, including information on your rights in respect of your personal data and how you can unsubscribe from future marketing communications.

Either way, in the unlikely event that Farage beats John Bercow in Buckingham, we can expect the celebrations in Brussels to continue long into the night.

Content from our partners
How placemaking can drive productivity in cities – with PwC
The UK needs SMEs to reach net zero
To truly tackle regional disparities, we need a new type of devolution

P.S. Over at the First Post, Neil Clark also argues that Farage’s attack is incoherent.


Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter.