It is hardly surprising that the general view of UKIP as a racist and as a detested organisation is firming up. In the face of stiffer scrutiny of its policies, scions and demeanour its leader is continuing on the offensive. Equally it is not outstanding to remark that he uses the Telegraph as his preferred organ of emission, given its compromised status and editorial limpness. Maintaining this particular image would require additional bilious Viagra, so having dug deep the thrust of the argument needs to be exercised. Rubbing Kippers up the wrong way is easy but satisfying.
Farage had a nasty experience with testicular cancer in the 1980s. That is unpleasant and nasty for the sufferer. He was misdiagnosed. When he took advantage of an additional opinion, paid for through private health insurance, it was correctly diagnosed - although probably the symptoms had developed sufficiently for greater confidence. As a racist, he couldn't help but observe that one of the incorrect diagnoses came from an "Indian" doctor. Had this been a personal issue, then this could be left to rest.
However, Nigel has turned this into a political crusade. So the immediate response of human concern should be supplanted with a "so bloody what?" test. Medical diagnoses are not 100% certain, and in three decades progress has been made. Hundreds, if not thousands of incorrect diagnoses are made every year - and in some cases these are fatal. If one adopted the judgemental skills of the average Kipper, one step up from the kind of eugenic theory that propelled the European dictators into genocide, then it it is possible to hypothesise that the real tragedy is that the misdiagnosis was not as severe as in other cases. Not wishing Farage dead, this is an inhumane response, but one which if extrapolated to misadventure affecting anyone else, especially if covered by the demonology of immigrants, scroungers and the undeserving poor, many of his followers would not regard such a view as an unacceptable denial of humanity.
The irony is that Farage was an enthusiastic supporter of the privatisation of the English and Welsh NHS in the 1980s, as a foot-solider in the Thatcherite revolution. By the time that he required its services the focus of activity had moved towards the managerialism and marketisation that paved the way for the subsequent Tory and Labour orgy of PFI-mandated theft, rather than diagnostic skill. So it could be argued that he was a victim of his own ideology.
Now Farage is using his personal experience to argue that this is an excuse to encourage people to opt out of the NHS if they can afford to. Notwithstanding the continued and unremarkable inconsistency between different parts of his motley band's views, this is a clear example of how the Kippers are in the hands of lobby groups and the shadowy right - hoping that the distortions of the electoral system will convey on them legitimacy after the General Election. The debate around public versus private provision is not being carried out with the interests of taxpayers and patients at the centre of it, rather how much profit can be syphoned out either through marketisation of core public service provision or by eliminating the service in such a way that those who can afford to are taxed through insurance to replace it, and those excluded are forced to hope for the best as they are excluded from health care.
The Kippers are basing their position on the far right of the Republican Party in the USA, who have frustrated healthcare reform. The irony is that the UK health provision is both relatively good and relatively cheap as a share of GDP, especially when compared to the debacle that unfolds across the Atlantic. However it does create opportunities for enrichment for individuals and organisations, who then bestow their beneficent largesse upon their client politicians. This is the model of politics that City-boy Nige, whose populist act is transparent to the point of nudity, wants to institutionalise.
So, even though Farage claims a swelling around the size of a lemon (an image of UKIP that will be very hard to remove), he should be seen as a canting liar and hypocrite. At the same time, he is providing further camouflage for further NHS privatisation - in a pincer movement with that other scummy toad Clarkson - and therefore should be hung up for further ridicule. His misdiagnosis was unfortunate, but using for it political ends diminishes those who have suffered more grievous loss than he did through misplaced and retrospective incompetence.
This weekend we have seen one of his MEPs compare a Scottish Minister to a convicted terrorist ("only a joke"), another candidate stand down over embezzlement charges, another round of blaming extreme weather on moral turpitude rather than climate change. Last week one of his councillors was charged with stealing from his father's shop. These are not people fit to lecture the rest of the country on morality - and their leader's descent into the cesspit should act as a further warning of the dangers of pandering to a narrow, demagogic politics of fear and envy.