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Ignore the furore, Farage is right about Ukraine

Nigel Farage has well and truly sent the political establishment into apoplexy. In a BBC Question Time appearance on Friday, Farage dared to say what is on the minds of those with a working knowledge of the Russo-Ukrainian conflict beyond that of the reductive binary narrative perpetuated by the mainstream media since February 2022: the West provoked the war in Ukraine. 

Almost immediately, the Conservatives, Labour, and the Liberal Democrats came out in all their virtue-signalling glory to dismiss these comments as merely Putin-sympathising and a ‘revelation’ of what Farage actually is - someone deeply unpatriotic. What utter tosh. The established parties are desperate to stem the hemorrhaging of support to Reform UK and this fallout acutely demonstrates this. I am certainly not about to justify the carnage of Putin’s invasion - you can’t - but you can understand the rationale behind it. To dismiss the very sensible concerns raised by Farage is to dismiss all hope of balanced, informed diplomacy to bring an end to the senseless loss of both Russian and Ukrainian lives. 

Farage asserted that the relentless eastward expansion of the European Union and NATO towards Ukraine provoked Putin’s invasion. Absolutely, this is an indisputable fact. After the end of the Cold War, promises and assurances were made over Ukraine’s neutrality in order to give up its vast Soviet nuclear arsenal. That neutrality is now dead in a ditch. The West’s overt meddling throughout the Euromaidan in 2014 was the killer. I’d like to remind people that it was the European Union and the United States that systematically facilitated the overthrow of the democratically elected Viktor Yanukovych. Be under no illusion, this was no popular uprising. Unfortunately for Yanukovych, he was friendly with Putin. For the so-called ‘champions of democracy’, this was grounds to violate the virtue they espouse so explicitly. I would argue this was a provocation of the highest order. Historical context is important. In this instance, crucially so. It is rarely mentioned, if at all, in British public discourse. Good for Farage for saying it as it is. 

Sunak has come out and said that Farage’s comments ‘play into Putin’s hands’. Others labelled the remarks as ‘disgraceful’. Most humorously, Labour went so far as to say it was ‘shocking’ to see Farage ‘get down on his knees and kiss Putin’s boots.’ Lord, give me strength. This is desperate politics. You cannot keep perpetuating this outrageously simplistic narrative of ‘Russia bad, West good’ without it having real, catastrophic effects, not just in Ukraine but across the West too. It needs to stop. 

Farage quite rightly highlighted the need for the United Kingdom to prioritise its own domestic security over foreign entanglements. With a depleted and underfunded military, not to mention the plethora of economic and societal issues plaguing our nation, why would we continue to antagonise for further military involvement in a war in Eastern Europe, least of all against one of the largest nuclear powers? It seems somewhat suicidal. The duopoly holds seriously misplaced priorities. 

I agree that saying you admire Putin as a statesman is unwise. It is and was always bound to cause such heckles from the mainstream parties to arise. But this does not detract from the importance of understanding the historical context and foundations behind the Russo-Ukrainian war. We cannot continue to live in blind ignorance assuming that Putin is just a deranged dictator with no political or strategic motivations. We also cannot continue to escalate and perpetuate a war with continued economic and political support without appreciating why the war broke out in the first place. 

The Western position, as highlighted by Farage, is deeply unsustainable. As the war prolongs, so too does the ongoing energy crisis in Europe. There was nothing ‘kissing Putin’s boots’ about Farage arguing that Britain’s resources are better spent being redirected to solve pressing domestic issues, such as energy security and economic stability, rather than funding, to our own detriment, an entrenched conflict abroad. 

Both Labour and the Conservatives lack a clear and distinct alternative to the war in Ukraine. They continue to follow a path that Farage, quite rightly, argues is leading the United Kingdom towards greater political, economic, social, and military instability and insecurity. We are acting as though we can actually afford our involvement in a foreign war. In contrast, Farage's Reform UK is gaining continued traction in the polls, reflecting the growing public discontent with the duopoly and their policies. In at least three polls this week, Reform have polled above the Tories with Labour tanking. For Reform, they promise a focus on the national interest and pragmatic foreign policy, ending the days of costly, virtue-signalling strategies that only exacerbate suffering both at home and abroad. Clearly the public agrees.

Ignore the mainstream furore over Farage’s comments on Friday. They are deeply exasperated that there now is a politician in the fray who is not afraid to say it as it is, to speak for the minds of many Britons up and down the country. The obsession seen on Saturday over the comments tells you everything you need to know. Not only is Farage right about Ukraine, his sentiments resonate intensely with how the country feels. 

Image: Gage Skidmore

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1 Comment

Jun 25

Article would be a lot stronger if the author had bothered to substantiate his claims that: (a) the West promised to Russia that EU/NATO would not to 'relentessly expand' (by which he means allow countries apply to join an organisation of their own free will); and (b) that Euromaiden wasn't a popular uprising but rather the result of the 'overt meddling' of the West (most polls seem to put for/against at 50:50, with this rising to much higher support in Kyiv, where the bulk of the protests took place).

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