The Nation: Lloyd Burr interviews Nigel Farage
On Newshub Nation: Europe correspondent Lloyd Burr
interviews Nigel Farage
Nigel Farage's list of credits is long - right-winger, Brexit-backer, Trump supporter, broadcaster. One thing he is not is a fence-sitter. Mr Farage says the UK stabbed New Zealand in the back 45 years ago and the Western world is now on the verge of "fundamental change". Europe correspondent Lloyd Burr sat down with Mr Farage ahead of his speaking tour to new Zealand.
Nigel Farage: We made June the 23rd our Independence Day when we smashed the establishment.
Farage is a self-proclaimed preacher man. His message: ‘Change is coming’ – for the Western world at least – a kind of ‘me first’ movement shunning globalisation.
Nigel Farage: 45 years ago, we stabbed you guys in the back in the most dramatic way. Despite everything New Zealand had done to help us, support us – at massive cost to yourselves – we stabbed you in the back because we signed up for the globalist order. It was called the European Common Market. It then became the European Union. Brexit, which I was involved with, was the first real kickback against this move towards decisions being made at a high level, and now that revolution is rolling out across the whole world. ‘America first!’ is the cry from Donald Trump, and I think what you’re going to see is a complete rebalancing of the West, where what people do unashamedly is put their own interests above that of the big multinationals and the global businesses. Our leaders chose to go in a European direction and turn our backs on you guys – frankly, our own kith and kin, our own real friends around the world. That was an historical mistake this country made. Brexit is the opportunity to correct that mistake and to get us back on a better basis.
Lloyd Burr:The Brexit campaigner once hit the headlines for saying he’d be concerned if 10 Romanian men moved in next door.
We’re not against the Europeans, but our real friends in the world speak our language, have common law, shared histories, traditions – as a joke, I used to say even play cricket as well.
And Britain’s real friends, he says, are in the Commonwealth.
The Commonwealth is based on the concept of individual nation states that run their own affairs, that cooperate together where they choose to cooperate. Now, that is the complete opposite of the globalist model. The globalist model is that we hand away our national democracy to higher international institutions. The Commonwealth is something I believe that we should all want to build on.
Lloyd Burr: There’s something interesting about what you talk about – claiming back Britain and claiming back Britain’s sovereignty – when Mother England, Great Britain, the British Empire, whatever you want to call it, has got such a big history of stealing other countries’ sovereignty.
Do you know, if you want to play the history game with me, you can. All right? Compare the relationship that the Germans have with their former colonies, the Belgians have with their former colonies, the Spanish have with their former colonies, the French have with their former colonies. They all hate each other. We’ve got the Commonwealth. And, yes, of course, cousins and people in close relationships always have frictions and always have difficulties. The very fact we have the Commonwealth, we have the Commonwealth Games, we’ve now got countries that want to join the Commonwealth that were never even part of the British Empire, tells you you’ve got something here that is of value.
Lloyd Burr: But what value does it bring? New Zealand pays, what, $5 million to be part of the Commonwealth every year, to pay for bureaucracy, pretty much. Australia pays $10 million. What do we get from it apart from being able to go to the Commonwealth Games or spending a whole lot of money at a talkfest called CHOGM? What do we get from it?
What we get is the opportunity, now that Brexit is on the horizon, to have a new, different order – an opportunity trade-wise for us to be a little bit fairer with you than we’ve been for the last 45 years, because we haven’t been, and I’m sorry about that. And, look, we have shared values. When it comes to the threats that face the world, you may be further away from those threats, geographically, than we are, but don’t think international jihadism and things like that – don’t think for one moment you’re immune from that, because you’re not. And these are our shared values; these are the things we can work on. We can work on that. We can work on trade. And I think we should grab the opportunity.
Lloyd Burr: So what’s jihadism got to do with your tour to New Zealand?
You may not have suffered jihadi attacks, but the Australians have, all right, just being next door to you, so let’s just understand that there are a series of values that exist within the Commonwealth that it’s worth fighting for together. And, please, you guys, maybe, just learn from us. Look at what we’ve got so badly wrong. We were lulled by big global businesses into surrendering our sovereignty, into forgetting the very basis of a nation state democracy is to put ourselves first. Learn from us and don’t make those mistakes.
The former leader of the UK Independence Party stepped down in 2016, right after the Brexit referendum. He says not only had he achieved his goal, but he knew he’d be frozen out of the Brexit negotiations.
I have been the most mocked, derided figure in public life probably since 1945, and yet, I proved them all wrong. We did it; we got to the top of the mountain. I couldn’t see anywhere else to go.
Lloyd Burr: But you could have stayed in Parliament, at the top of that mountain, and made sure that you got the Brexit deal that you wanted.
Oh well. I’m still in the European Parliament. I’m still leading a group in the European Parliament.
Lloyd Burr: And causing trouble.
And I’m delighted to see my Italian colleagues are now the government in Italy. My Swedish colleagues are heading on for a massive victory in September. My German colleagues may be on the verge of ousting Mrs Merkel. Oh, I’m still involved in politics. But when it comes to the Brexit deal and the Brexit negotiations, I’m sorry to say that it was clear to me immediately after the referendum that the snobby Conservative Party wouldn’t even speak to me. My bit with British politics at that moment was done.
Lloyd Burr: And I think at the time you said if the Brexit didn’t go the way that you wanted, if Theresa May didn’t do the Brexit that was the right Brexit, you’d maybe enter back into politics. Is that something you’re considering?
If Brexit in the end became a forward pass. To a nation of great rugby players; I’m sure they’ll understand that one. If there was a forward—
Lloyd Burr: Then you’d come running on to the park.
Absolutely. I’d be back on the park. But, look, of course I’m going to be frustrated with the deal, with the lack of clarity, with the delay. But do you know something? If I wake up on March the 30th next year, we’ve left these treaties and we’re a sovereign, independent nation again, I’m going to be a very happy bunny.
Lloyd Burr: Just a few days ago, there were tens of thousands of people marching just around where we are now, calling for another referendum.
Lloyd Burr: Do you think the British people still want to leave?
Nearly all called Lucilla or Hugo. Nearly all upper middle class, very comfortably off, many on trust funds, none of them actually living in the real world. Come on. We had 1.5 million marching against the Iraq War. We had nearly half a million marching against banning fox hunting. We’ve seen many demonstrations before. That doesn’t prove a blooming thing. The fact is quite consistently, 70 per cent of the country say, ‘Can we please just get on with it?’ At least, that’s the polite interpretation of what many of them say to me, including over a third of people who voted remain – people who say, ‘Look, it was a democratic result. Let’s just do it.’ It’s happening. It’s happening. The biggest constitutional change for 300 years is happening.
Lloyd Burr: And while he’s fond of his Commonwealth friends, his speaking tour here in September will be the first time he’s visited New Zealand.
I hope we’re going to have a crowd. I’m sure we’re going to have a crowd. I think people will be interested, they’re going to want to know why Brexit happened. They’re going to want to know why Trump happened. They’re going to want to find out whether I’m really the demon that many have made me out to be. I’ve got some big calls and big predictions for the future as well. I’m sure we’re going to have some fun. And I very much hope, if he’s got time, Winston Peters turns up too.
Lloyd Burr: I think they’re going to find that you’re quite a likeable character. You’re killing me with your charisma.
Do you know something? What is so bizarre is that I’ve been characterised as some sort of extremist figure that’s come on to the political scene. I’m basically a middle-class, southern Englishman who worked in the commodity business, played a bit of golf at weekends, had kids, went to the village pub, went to church; I just believed in national sovereignty, and so I fought against the globalist movement. And looking back on it, the fact that anyone’s even called me extreme is bizarre. I’ve stood for what I believe to be normality and continuity, and I think now, maybe, a couple of years on from Brexit, people are beginning to understand that the reason these vile things were said about me is because big money controls the world, and it’s time big money didn’t.
Lloyd Burr: You mentioned Winston. You have a lot of similarities with Winston Peters.
I know him, and I like him. I took him to a cricket match. He was over this year, earlier. I took him to a cricket match. He’s a great character.
Lloyd Burr: You’ve got the same politics, same charisma, same passion.
Yeah, no, he’s a great character, and he finds himself in an extraordinary role in New Zealand politics right now. But, no, I think in a way—See, it’s interesting, isn’t it? In New Zealand, you maybe think, ‘Oh gosh, what’s happening in Europe and America’s a long way away,’ but you’ve got your own version of Trump in Winston Peters.
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