Will you be listening to Nigel Farage’s show?

“Important announcement about to be made on LBC” flashed up the alert on my phone. I winced a bit, remembering how last year had started with the deaths of all sorts of childhood icons.

It actually turned out to be Nick Ferrari telling the world that they had a new presenter on LBC for 4 nights a week. It’s a big commitment for someone who already has a full time job as an MEP. I suppose the best that can be said about Nigel Farage’s new gig is that it will get him off the BBC where he seems to have taken up permanent residence. I half expect to see him turn up presenting Escape to the Country or something.

Anyway, Mr Farage is going to be waxing lyrical on his favourite prejudices for an hour every night from Monday to Thursday.  My initial reaction was somewhere in the region of the dry boak.  Twelve hours later, not much has changed. He has, of course, broadcast on LBC before, but this is a much more permanent arrangement.

What should the reaction of liberals be to this news? I’ve noticed that some people on social media have called for a boycott of LBC, saying that they shouldn’t employ someone with Farage’s views. After his hideous Breaking Point poster during the referendum, you can see where they are coming from. They argue that it’s all about the number of listeners and the more people listen, the happier the bosses at the radio station will be. If we don’t listen, they say, then he’ll get sacked. WE might not listen and feel the better for it, but others will and will be taken in by what he is saying. If we let that happen.

I don’t see much gain in all the liberals retreating into nice comfortable liberal spaces and tut-tutting amongst themselves, though. It will do no good and change no minds.

But there is something I and all others who believe in a modern, diverse, progressive, generous-spirited society can do. We can challenge him. We can phone in and show his arguments up for the populist nonsense that they are. We should use all the charm and humour we can muster to win hearts and minds, to try and build bridges, not to Farage because he’s a lost cause,  but to the people his rhetoric has deceived.

I said the other day that liberals had to get out there, win the arguments and show that there are better ways than scapegoating the pesky foreigners for our own governments’ successive failures to meet even the basic needs of their citizens. That means we need to take the arguments right too him.  If he gets a stream of people ringing in and saying “You’re right, mate, it’s all the immigrants’ fault and isn’t that Tim Farron a traitor? it will give the impression that that’s the only game in town to the hundreds of thousands of people who are listening.

Farage doesn’t like it when he’s challenged. Listen to “Chris from Richmond” at about 4 minutes in on this show.  Let’s have more calls like this. We must not let him have it all his own way.  We need to have the stomach to listen in to this show and take him on.

What do you think?

* Caron Lindsay is Editor of Liberal Democrat Voice and blogs at Caron's Musings

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18 Comments

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Jan '17 - 11:04pm

    LBC shouldn’t be boycotted but I won’t be listening to his show. I would, however, like to see some people call up and ask him very tough questions. We need to politely get under the skin of Farage, ask him about EU nationals with British spouses and children, or even some people born in Britain to foreign-born parents struggling or unable to get a British passport and ask him what he thinks about this and remind him of his German wife. The only European he cares about can’t just be his wife.

  • Eddie Sammon

    Far be it from me to support Farage, but he was one of the first – if not the first – british politician to come out and say any europeans already in the UK should be allowed to stay. He called the governments decision to use them as “bargaining chips” disgusting.

  • Eddie Sammon 5th Jan '17 - 11:54pm

    Malc, thanks for that but there’s not enough noise on it. Theresa May needs to feel real pressure from conservatives of whatever party on it for her to act.

  • Lorenzo Cherin 5th Jan '17 - 11:54pm

    I totally concur with this article and the sentiments in reaction.

    Boycotts are silly and undemocratic. LBC should be aware that , like the frequently overrated and thoroughly overpriviledged BBC, they need to show fairness and balance .

    I think they need more of us Liberal Democrats. Majid Nawaz doing very good service to the cause of common sense on LBC Saturday afternoon could get more publicity from here for a start .

  • Eddie Sammon

    I would love to see the pressure being put on the PM. It’s just a shame the EU seems to be totally ignoring the problem, at least May has tried to get negotiations started, but she needs to do more.

    Lorenzo Cherin

    I agree LBC need to show fairness and balance and I’m sure they would be more than happy if Tim Farron or Jeremy Corbyn wanted to phone in and ask Farage a few questions. Who knows Donald Trump might even give him a call! It certainly won’t be boring.

  • Lorenzo, “Boycotts are silly and undemocratic”. Sorry, I don’t quite get that. If I choose not to listen to someone who is basically an English equivalent of an American shock jock, or not to buy products made in Israel, or Russia, or apartheid South Africa, or indeed to make any other decision as to how I use my individual power as a consumer then I see that as an entirely rational act and akin to casting my democratic vote at an election. In both cases my individual decision probably won’t make much difference. But about five years ago I was phoned by a survey company who went through a long list of questions about banking, and at the end revealed it was on behalf of Barclays. The final question was my attitude towards Barclays Bank, and I said I had always boycotted them because of their support for apartheid South Africa. Some time later they reported that they still had an image problem with regard to their past actions in Africa.

  • I tend to agree with Tony Hill. If your conscience won’t allow you to buy certain products, that is perfectly legitimate. I speak as a long-term Nestle boycotter.

  • Denis Loretto 6th Jan '17 - 8:19am

    Of course like Eddie Sammon we are entitled not to listen to Farage’s show (albeit I think there is a lot to be said for keeping in touch with what the enemy is up to). However I see no liberal case whatsoever for boycotting the station. Caron’s case must be right – flood the thing with coherent and confident challenge.

  • Little Jackie Paper 6th Jan '17 - 9:12am

    Hmmm – ‘I said the other day that liberals had to get out there, win the arguments and show that there are better ways than scapegoating the pesky foreigners for our own governments’ successive failures to meet even the basic needs of their citizens.’

    Firstly It’s rather hard to miss that this argument about what else could/should have been done by successive UK governments WITHIN the EU was one that the REMAIN campaign absolutely did not make. Given that there are some suggestions that a significant part of the REMAIN vote wanted at least some greater control on EU migration this whole thing about, ‘scapegoating foreigners,’ seems rather over-simple to me. No one talked about what could have been done within the EU – see

    http://europeanlawblog.eu/2016/08/18/could-it-all-have-been-avoided-brexit-and-treaty-permitted-restrictions-on-movement-of-workers/

    Secondly you use a very interesting turn of phrase here – ‘the basic needs of THEIR citizens.’ Isn’t that pretty much the LEAVE argument in a nutshell? That the UK government should have as their first priority UK citizens, not anyone who pitches up with an EU passport? I agree with the sentiment here – that the problems that the UK faces are not for the most part caused by the EU. But I don’t think that liberals entirely get off the hook here on the bigger questions about the direction taken by EU integration. Who or what is democracy there to serve in 2017 – national citizens or the European Ideal? Maybe of course those things aren’t exclusive per se, but at a minimum the referendum showed that to a lot of people it rather feels like they are exclusive.

    Don’t get me wrong here by the way, I don’t think that LEAVE were any the better as a campaign on asking the big, hard questions. But I really don’t think more of the same arguments that REMAIN used in the referendum will add anything.

  • Simon Banks 6th Jan '17 - 10:02am

    I thought he was on the Nigel Farage show all along.

  • “Boycotts are silly and undemocratic” “the frequently overrated and thoroughly overpriviledged (Sp) BBC,”

    Watch out, young man. Captain Mainwairing has a description for chaps making those sort of comments.

  • The problem with Farage is that effectively he is still an active politician, which is at odds with his “I want my life back” statement.

    Really he needs to completely exit the political stage – namely, resign as an MEP and close the door on UKIP leadership. Then perhaps he can effect the transition other politicians such as David Mellor have made…

  • Anyone wanting to disconcert Farage needs ‘one liners’…For instance, on the clip featuring ‘Chris’, Farage said he had years of experience in the European Parliament…The one liner of, “But you were rarely there, Nigel. Your attendance was the worst of all MEPs (I know he was actually second worst, but the barb is damn close)”…followed by “You pretended to be concerned about British fishing rights but you only attended one session out of fortytwo; what sort of concern does that show?”…

    Listeners remember one liners and he can’t cut you off without looking weak…

  • Sue Sutherland 6th Jan '17 - 2:34pm

    I agree with challenging Farage but it’s important not to be drawn in and end up telling Leave supporters they’re stupid and racist. I imagine a lot of ‘We are the 48%’ members will want to challenge him but ya boo arguments will never persuade anyone.

  • Stephen Booth 6th Jan '17 - 4:43pm

    Can someone challenge Farrago soon on his programme on why he and his chums are members of the European Parliament? Is it just to get their stickies on lots of cash to campaign for dismemberment of the EU? Absurd that we ever allowed them to stand; at least Sinn Fein had the grace not to take their seats at Westminster.

    The sooner he leaves the stage the better to become a lift attendant at Trump Tower the better. Heaven forfend that he goes to Classic FM (the final resting home of bruised careers and ailing would-be talent). On the other hand it could be instructional when Nigel discovers England’s greatest composer (Handel) was German!

  • Stephen Booth

    “Can someone challenge Farrago soon on his programme on why he and his chums are members of the European Parliament?

    Hint : If you’re going to do a ‘Guy Fawkes’, on an unwanted institution, its much better if you are in the building with a legitimate pass card.?

    “On the other hand it could be instructional when Nigel discovers England’s greatest composer (Handel) was German!”

    If Farage didn’t already know that Handel was German,.. I’m sure his German wife would remind him.?

  • Lorenzo Cherin 7th Jan '17 - 1:43am

    Tonyhill and Caron

    I should add , I mean boycotts are silly and undemocratic in the context of not viewing television or radio political talk shows not in general! For example , not listening to anything on that channel as a protest over one wretched presenter , means good people like Majid Nawaz do not get heard and listening figures for Farage are all the higher in comparison with the other democratically represented speakers , skewing the importance or popularity of the Farage type !

    Perish the thought that I would not support personal decisions on product purchasing in an ethical direction.

    I am a vegetarian , non smoker, non drinker, non driver, I see the ethics in non purchase of harm believe me ! If there were still a Liberal temperence society I would be the President !

  • @ Caron – I thought my family were the only remaining Nestle boycotters! Although I do sometimes struggle when Kit-Kats are wheeled out at meetings. 🙁

    It’s hard to know what to do with regards to Farage. One of the reasons he gets so much air-time and is able to control his own narrative is that he is walking, talking click-bait. He’s guaranteed to say something worthy of a headline, and hits from people angry with him get just as much advertising revenue as those from people who think he’s great. In that respect, I think it’s reasonable to make a decision to ‘ignore’ him.

    On the other hand, he survives because he’s never had proper scrutiny IMO. I sometimes think that if he had won a seat in Parliament, his sloppy ways would have been exposed, and may have been marginally distracted from his media career. The fact is that he does now have this show, and if the brave amongst us can take the opportunity to ask thorny questions, or make pithy points – brilliant. However, you can be sure that you’ll be sandwiched between people who think the opposite, so it won’t be much fun.

    Others may find it easier to show support for the people who better reflect our views, by listening in a way that is registered (they’ll notice online listens) and generally showing an interest in their shows with emails and phone calls.

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