Support 100 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?

Sign up for The New Statesman’s newsletters Tick the boxes of the newsletters you would like to receive. A weekly newsletter helping you fit together the pieces of the global economic slowdown. Quick and essential guide to domestic and global politics from the New Statesman's politics team. The New Statesman’s global affairs newsletter, every Monday and Friday. The best of the New Statesman, delivered to your inbox every weekday morning. The New Statesman’s weekly environment email on the politics, business and culture of the climate and nature crises - in your inbox every Thursday. Our weekly culture newsletter – from books and art to pop culture and memes – sent every Friday. A weekly round-up of some of the best articles featured in the most recent issue of the New Statesman, sent each Saturday. A newsletter showcasing the finest writing from the ideas section and the NS archive, covering political ideas, philosophy, criticism and intellectual history - sent every Wednesday. Sign up to receive information regarding NS events, subscription offers & product updates.

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
“I learn something new on every trip"
How data can help revive our high streets in the age of online shopping
Why digital inclusion is a vital piece of levelling up

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


Follow the New Statesman team on Twitter.