A sweaty bigot on a podium
I am puzzled by people suggesting that if Farage tells lies, he is democratically accountable for them in Thanet South. I don’t understand this. The truth regarding his “migrants with HIV”, threat-to-purity Nazi fantasy will never receive as much prominence as a damaging statement made very emphatically during a TV debate watched by 8 million. Truth is simply never sexy enough, compared to a sensational lie. This means lasting damage has been done.
It has always struck me as a very strange legal concept that one can be sued for damaging personal reputations by falsehoods, but that anybody can slander entire groups, by spouting outrageous and hurtful lies, with complete impunity.
What good is Thanet’s possible rejection of Farage to the people stigmatised by his lie? And what might be the effect of Thanet possibly electing him? Would that turn a lie into truth in some strange democratic “the majority don’t give a rat’s arse about the truth” sort of way? Doesn’t it always start with some fantasy of nationalistic purity and a vague threat of contamination? Doesn’t it always start with people saying their aim is not to victimise the “other”, but to safeguard the rights of “our people”? Doesn’t this shit always, always, always start like that? Have we learned nowt?
If the broadcaster had made a programme in which these lies featured, they would be forced into an apology and correction by the regulator. But put a sweaty bigot on a podium and, seemingly, anything goes.
Nigel Farage’s ludicrous back-of-an-envelope guesstimates have been throughly demolished by health experts here: