A lot of question marks over heads this week as people spot the Clegg vs Farage EU spankathon and ask each other, Why exactly is this yawping, no-talent ignoranus blarting all over my television?
They usually mean Farage, and though the question would be just as appropriate if applied to Clegg, you could at least point to the fact that the Lib Dems have fifty-six seats in Parliament, while Farage's grandest achievement is sending a gaggle of wizened, sexually-retired eccentrics to Brussels to badger the Continentals.
Don't get me wrong - it's possible that somewhere in the UK, there exists a constituency in which a majority of voters aren't content with hating their countrymen, and aim great rivers of bile at Belgium also. That would make UKIP their number one choice come election day, and would give Farage a chance at snagging a seat and sending an actual MP to Parliament. Barring that, seems unlikely that we'll see legions of half-hysterical geriatrics storming the Palace any time soon.
For now though, UKIP is easily outmuscled at Westminster by the Democratic Unionists, the SNP, Plaid Cymru, the Greens and even bloody Respect... And I don't see the nation's media stampeding to bombard, say, Jonathan Edwards or George Galloway with breathless questions about their opinions on gay marriage or the price of fishcakes in Hong Kong, or what have you. Hell, Caroline Lucas could fart the 1812 Overture into a microphone
in Piccadilly Circus during rush hour, and it might make a four-inch column on page 18. Maybe.
Now, perhaps the nation is just red-hot with rage over the European Union, and desperate to be slathered with lackwitted propaganda about it by a half-bright, rubber-faced twit. I doubt that's true, since it seems to be an issue that only really animates a small but determined bunch of raging throbbers who live mercifully far to the south of me, but who knows? Maybe the manias of a tiny band of aged Hobbits out in the arse-end of wherever have miraculously overthrown the nation, and I missed the headlines.
Nonetheless, a simpler, nastier explanation springs to mind - one in which the Farage clownshow serves only to force the Tories rightwards toward ever-loopier policies and pronouncements, while also acting as a big, scary sheepdog keeping core Labour voters corralled.
The situation isn't without precedent, given that the BNP spent most of the last decade performing exactly this function. Their mere and meagre existence was enough to produce a rainforest's-worth of tedious, identical articles about the Very Real Concerns Of The White English Whomever, resulting in precisely the same poll-chasing intolerant guff that led us to where we are right now. Nasty Nick had no more political clout than No-Nuts Nigel does, but he served a Very Real purpose in our national conversation, alright.
So the current bout of cretinous Faragephilia keeps people who own newspapers cheery, but it just represents yet another collossal affront to the populace - a new and supposedly radical political force, which wholly owes its flimsy position to the owners of the nation's newspapers, for no other purpose than creating an even bullshittier form of the status quo. An entirely confected insurgency, useful only as a second layer of soft control. It's a pretty insulting state of affairs, you have to admit.
You do have to wonder what the next right-wing fucknut uprising of exactly the same people is going to look like. Frankly, if Godzilla rose roaring from the Channel and started laying waste to the south coast on Saturday, I wouldn't be surprised if the fucker was on the front of the Telegraph by Thursday taking a great radioactive dump on Tower Bridge, surrounded by a bunch of leathery ex-UKIP lunatics blathering about straight bananas and fishing quotas.