Farage and the Anglo-American Dream
“English-speaking people have a shared history, heritage, culture in common. It was shameful that we turned our backs on Australia. We now need to build the alliance, in terms of military, trade, security and culture”. Nigel Farage to Sky News Outsiders program 11th August 2019.
The first Australian CPAC came and went just a couple of weeks ago, and well, nothing much took the attention of the Australian media apart from some coverage of comments by Labor Senator Kristina Keneally. As reported in the Sydney Morning Herald, it was pretty mild, a “mixture of political civility and conservative rhetoric”, though Nigel Farage did a naughty and called Malcolm Turnbull a ‘snake’.
The CPAC event was attended by about 500 people, what the organisers had moderately aimed at, bringing together notable neocons from the UK, US and Australia for the first of many such events, according to the organisers. While topics of conversation were not identified prior to the event and media were not permitted to record the proceedings, the first day was mix of Australian conservative culture wars mixed with pleas for a ‘better political discourse’, particularly from former deputy prime minister, and all round reasonable guy, John Anderson.
Mr Abbott’s topics d’jour were the issues of legal abortion in NSW and voluntary euthanasia in Victoria, calling them, “death on demand” and claiming Australian should read the Bible more. He claimed the recent Commonwealth Liberal/National election win was due to a ‘pragmatic’ ideology while at the same time being less ‘ideological’ than their Labor opponents.
Sounds clear? It goes something like this. The coalition won the election he claimed, because they were not obsessed with Labor’s ‘ideological agenda’ on tax, climate, unions, and ‘big government’. He seems to think the Coalition won because they supported support smaller government, lower taxes and did not have an obsession with climate issues. He also claimed that the Coalition was not obsessed with gender and identity, which probably explains their strenuous efforts to thwart gay marriage recently. Of course above all, it was the right leaning people in this country who were the real patriots, or the ‘quiet Australians’.
Reporters though agreed, “It was the Americans who brought the aggro” on the first day. Particularly through the persons of ‘Judge’ Jeanine Pirro, a Trump fan and former prosecutor, notable Fox News fixture and gun lobbyist, who threw some ‘red meat’ out to audience to fire them up. She was preceded by the American congressman Mark Meadows and the American Conservative Union’s Matt Schlapp, who in conjunction with LibertyWorks here in Australia, had organised the event. Both were relatively mild in demeanour though made a joke at Kristina Keneally’s expense, prompting some audience chanting. Keneally was also attacked by British commentator Mr Kassam during a predictable anti-Islamic rant.
The big moment of the conference however, though little reported in the main stream media in Australia, was UK Brexit Party leader, Nigel Farage on the second day. Like a snake-oil salesman with a heavy dose of American evangelical zeal, Farage took the stage with the key message that the broad conservative movement he represents was rising around the world. It was a ‘nationist’ worldview, not ‘nationalist’, though he has used this word in the past, he painted the world poised in a struggle between nations and globalism. Nigel said a lot of things in his 20 minute address, including wishing to draw on the ‘success’ of the American approach to rising conservatism, “What is happening in America … the shock result you saw here in Australia, the fact is we are winning.” He also told Boris Johnson he had to ‘deliver or die’ on Brexit.
But who is Nigel Farage and how important are these views? A better idea of the vision Farage brings to the world stage are evident in two interviews he did straight after the CPAC event to Sky News Australia’s Outsiders program and to the Jeanne Pirro on Fox News on August 11th. More recent global events since the conference have shown his predictions to be uncomfortably accurate.