Nigel Farage, the former leader of the right-wing UK Independence Party, is set to appear at a campaign event with Donald Trump on Wednesday night in Jackson, Mississippi.
Farage was arguably the most prominent pro-Brexit voice in Britain. Like Trump, his campaign message was based largely on anti-immigrant xenophobia that at times invoked propaganda from some of history’s most reprehensible regimes.
Appearing on a local radio show in Jackson earlier today, Farage said UKIP’s message—that “immigration should be controlled, that we should control the numbers, and we should control the quality of people coming into the country,”—was what ultimately led to the successful Brexit vote.
To illustrate the point, he recounted a story about a train ride four years ago. Departing from a station in central London, Farage said “it wasn’t until we had gotten past the first four or five stops that I heard anybody else speaking English.” Farage said he was “castigated” by the British media when he originally told his story publicly, “but people heard it.”
As Salon’s Amanda Marcotte pointed out in a piece comparing the strains of right-wing populism shared by Trump supporters and Brexit voters, “anxiety about not being able to eavesdrop on other people because they aren’t speaking English is a common trait among Trump supporters in the U.S., as well.”
Farage suggested the same kind of anxiety he felt about immigrants on that fateful train ride slowly grew among a silent majority of British people — a bloc that ultimately ended up providing the margin of victory for Brexit supporters despite last-minute polling suggesting the Remain campaign would prevail.
“There are some things in life that matter more than just money, and your community, your street, your town, whether you feel safe about your kids going out to play with their neighbors matter more than money,” he said. “There was an unease about [changes in the community] that was building up… the Brexit vote gave them an opportunity to express that.”
Farage cautioned that while he’s not planning to formally endorse Trump tonight — “It’s not for me as a foreign politician to say who people should vote for,” he said — he “would not vote for Hillary, even if you paid me.” He described Clinton as the “establishment, status-quo candidate.”
As for what he plans to say at the Jackson rally, Farage said he’ll talk about how “the circumstances, the similarities, the parallels between the people that voted Brexit and the people that could beat Clinton here in a few weeks’ time in America are uncanny, and if they want things to change, they gotta get out of their chairs and make it happen. We just proved it.”
But Farage also proved that promising disaffected voters change is one thing — actually delivering it is another. Shortly after the Brexit outcome was confirmed, Farage walked back his oft-repeated campaign vow to reallocate EU funds to Britain’s National Health Service. Asked during a TV interview to detail how he planned to follow through on his promise to allot the £350 million a week Britain was sending to the EU to the NHS, Farage said, “No I can’t, I would never have made that claim. That was one of the mistakes made by the Leave campaign.”
— Paul Wheeler (@fourthlinewing) June 24, 2016
In a similar vein, Trump has made a number of promises he’s unlikely to be able to deliver on if elected, such as revitalizing the coal mining sector in Appalachia and forcing Mexico to build a border wall.