Like him or loathe him there’s no denying that Nigel Farage is currently Britain’s most resilient politician. His pilgrimage to Trump Tower to see the new President-elect was inspired politics and is also media manna from Heaven. In the face of Nigel Farage’s trans-Atlantic diplomacy, Theresa May looked weak, isolated and unprepared. There’s been no warm handshake between May and the new Leader of the Free World, no kissing and making up, just a slot on a long-list of calls with world leaders. Instead, the media-savvy Trump and Farage stuck it to the elites yet again with their contrived face to face meeting.
2016 has undoubtedly been the year of the Nigel, and he is onto another winner with Trump. Should May use him as a go-between or messenger, Farage wins. Should May use him as a deniable back-channel, Farage wins. Should Liam Fox and David Davies use him with or without their boss’ permission, Farage wins. Should he be shunned by May, Farage wins. The media covers each twist and turn like a painfully acted soap opera, Farage wins. Nigel should buy himself a lottery ticket fast, because there’s no way he can’t win at the moment.
And when Farage wins, someone loses. And this time the losers are Theresa May and Boris Johnson. Farage’s continuing posturing on TV on both sides of the pond underlines the lack of preparedness in Downing Street and the Foreign Office for these changing times. This week’s leaked memo about the Government not having a Brexit plan might as well have been written about Britain’s connectivity with Trump. If the Prime Minister’s plan on Brexit isn’t clear and her plan on Trump isn’t clear, what exactly does she have a plan on? Burning bridges might be a fun game for cheap headlines but it makes retaining relevance and influence a much harder game as an isolated island nation.
But perhaps Theresa May needn’t worry – we now live in a post-fact celebrity-loving era. If she doesn’t want Nigel Farage as her ambassador to Trumpton, perhaps the time has come to do away with the diplomatic mandarins in the Foreign Office and recruit Piers Morgan for the job. He has spent longer on the phone to the Donald than the PM has. He has hosted his own TV show in the US, is an active user of Twitter, and has irritated vast swathes of the public on the left and the right. Somebody with as much in common with Trump as Morgan does would be wasted sitting at home in Blighty.