Farage goes too far – again

What’s the difference between Jeremy Clarkson and Nigel Farage? On the one hand quite a lot, on the other not so much. One turns political incorrectness into a highly popular comedy act and gets sacked by his employers for his efforts and the other turns political incorrectness into a campaign act and becomes one of the most popular politicians in Britain. But the real similarity is that neither of them knows when they’ve gone too far. “Jimmy Saville and now HS2, Stoke Mandeville has had it all,” Farage muttered yesterday while touring the town. Was this horrendously tasteless gaffe really worth the headlines? He’s had his share, mind you. He suggested Germany should have been made to surrender unconditionally, he expressed pride in forming alliances in Europe with far-right parties and of course there was Thursday’s call for an end to laws banning racial discrimination at work. There have been plenty more personal faux pas but even they pale into insignificance compared to those of other members of his boorish party. The trouble is, really, that while Clarkson is an entertainer, Farage is hoping to change the way Britain is run. Clarkson loses his job and Farage gains votes that may eventually allow him to use parliamentary privilege to bray sound bites for which he would be arrested if uttered in the street outside. Do we really want five years of Farage saying things that you thought you would only hear on a drunken night out with the Alabama chapter of the Klu-Klux-Klan?