Thursday, 26 April 2012

Friend for Friday: Nigel Farage

This weeks Friend for Friday is UKIP leader Nigel Farage. Forever in the limelight, usually for the wrong reasons, Farage causes controversy and occasionally has some good points to make.
I joined him in late 2010, where we discussed the EU, politics and students (interesting to note that he made me conduct the interview outside, because he wanted to smoke!)

Recently elected UKIP leader, his second time at the job, as well as the South-East MEP for England since 1999, Nigel has been in and out of the media regularly. Whether it is his party's failure in the general election, appearances on Have I got News for You? on the other hand, his near-death in his recent plane crash, we have all the information on his political career.

Have you any advice for students who wish for a career in politics?
Well the main thing is to enjoy it, and that is what I do. I enjoy being a politician. If you enjoy it, you believe in what you do and the rest will follow! That is my best advice anyway.

You suffered severe injuries in a plane crash on May 6th 2010. Has this changed your view on life at all?
Well I had a miraculous escape, I was very lucky indeed. I mean my political agenda has not changed, however I have adopted the ‘live life to the full’ approach. You only live once, and I realise that now!

You are the MEP for our local area; the South East of England. What would you say your most important role has been as MEP, which you were elected as in 1999?
When I went into the EU, most of the people of this country had no idea what the EU was. My job, my philosophy has been to unravel the secrecy which is tied around Brussels, and give information back to the people of this country. I honestly believe I have shaped public opinion since my appointment.

You were once fined by the European Parliament for describing the President as having ‘the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low paid bank clerk’. This links to many other public blasts you have made in the past (Prince Charles was a famous one.) This has led some commentators to dub you ‘anti - Europe’ - is this true?
It is certainly not true. I believe in what I believe in, and reflect my party’s views and ideology. If the public do not like my opinion and those of UKIP then they would not vote for us, however our recent success shows that we did do well (they came second behind the Conservative party at the most recent EU Elections.)

What about the party's failure in the 2010 General Election (the party secured no MPs). Would this suggest people are changing their views on your party?
No, I do not think so. At different elections, people vote differently. It is that simple. Yes, it was not what we hoped for, however I hope my appointment as UKIP leader will change this view. My aim is to not sit there and argue about changing our country for the better, it is doing something about it, which I feel strongly for!

Finally, you are no beginner to the media world. Whether it's public speaking, criticism in national papers and a memory that sticks with me personally is you being a guest on Have I got News for you - would you say you are a fan of being in the limelight?
(Laughs) You take the rough with the smooth. I love being part of these shows, and I enjoy the criticism! It is as simple as that.

Interviewed by Kieran Watkins

Picture courtesy of Wikipedia

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