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Paul Nuttall Is a Pub Fantasist Politician

And therefore the perfect figurehead for our times.

(Top photo of Paul Nuttall and Nigel Farage: Sang Tan AP/Press Association Images)

There's this guy who drinks at the pub my girlfriend used to work at. He's an artist, or at any rate he likes to tell people he's an artist, and he claims he got his degree from the Bauhaus – an institution that closed some 20 years before he was born. He lived in Paris, apparently for about a decade, and one time, he says, he got really pissed with a Metro driver who let him drive "his train" round and round the system when it was closed at night, swigging champagne straight out the bottle and "waving to all the cops on the platforms" as they went. Once, during a visit to Berlin, he was taken in by some local punks who, impressed by his Class of '77 credentials, lifted up a manhole cover to show him "where we really party" – a secret subterranean world they'd built in the sewers below Alexanderplatz full of bars, clubs and even a cinema.


Anyway, that guy is basically the leader of UKIP now. By now, we're all used to the idea that we're living in some sort of "post-truth" era. Of course, that notion is dubious, since politicians have always lied. But certainly it seems true that lying about absolutely everything is increasingly likely to confer on politicians a key strategic advantage. As yet, however, all the major "post-truth" figures – Trump, Farage, Kellyanne Conway and the rest of the ghouls – have been content to confine their most prominent lies to the external world. Paul Nuttall appears to enjoy lying about the external world, too – just today he was reported as saying that Brexit hasn't led to a spike in hate crimes, following news that Brexit has led to a record spike in hate crimes – but really, it would seem his favourite thing to lie about may be himself.

Paul Nuttall was awarded a PhD in History from Liverpool Hope University in 2004, according to a LinkedIn profile attributed to him. Except he wasn't, because Liverpool Hope didn't become a University until 2005, and awarded no doctorates until 2009. He blamed the claim on an "over-enthusiastic researcher".

Paul Nuttall played professional football for Tranmere Rovers, except he didn't, because he never graduated from their youth team. Paul Nuttall was present at the Hillsborough disaster, where he lost a "close personal friend", although actually he's since admitted that he didn't lose anybody close to him (and, in fact, he never even claimed that he did – except, er, for all those times that he absolutely did make that claim).


Paul Nuttall lives in Stoke-on-Trent, where he is currently contesting the by-election that will be held there next week, but his "home address" was empty when he submitted nomination papers.

We're probably mere days away from finding out that "Paul Nuttall" is really Baron Gottfried von Schamm, the famous international master of disguise, and this is all part of an elaborate plot to steal the crown jewels.

It's not hard to see why Paul Nuttall would lie about himself. He needs to pad out his CV with all these fantasy achievements and fill in his emotional life by exaggerating his involvement in great atrocities to compensate for the fact that, otherwise, Paul Nuttall would just be a total blank. I like to imagine Paul Nuttall howling into the mirror, claiming at the top of his lungs that there's no one there, and then bursting into wild, uncontrollable laughter, and then starting to cry.

Of course, there are strategic advantages as well. The days, in which an insurgent by-election bid could be derailed by the sort of scandal that has erupted over Nuttall's Hillsborough claims, are long gone (except, perhaps, you know, in Liverpool). The Stoke-on-Trent Central by-election is as black an epistemological hole as the Syrian Civil War, a no man's land of disinformation, vested interests and probably some covert Russian influence. Labour has held the constituency since its inception, but it's exactly the sort of deprived, working-class area that the party no longer remotely understands.


The resigning MP, Tristram "beyond excited Stoke is getting a Pizza Express" Hunt, got fewer votes than any other victorious candidate in 2015; the race is split at least three ways; and no one can honestly say what is going to happen. Labour and the Tories have been handing UKIP de facto control over the country by tailoring their policies to fit the fears of their voters for years now, and in this context, Nuttall seems like the perfect figurehead: like a World War I dazzle ship, it appears he has bedecked himself with lies as if with the express purpose of confusing his enemies.

In short: if Nuttall wins in Stoke on the 23rd, we can probably expect many more figures like him to succeed in his wake. If the Farage era represented the triumph of the sort of pub bore who'd corner you at the bar to yammer on about his awful opinions over his warm pint of Spitfire, those once-doomed irrelevances emerging from their bitter stupor to settle the fate of our nation for generations to come, then the new, Nuttall era will be the age of the pub bore fantasist – and who knows where their deranged, self-aggrandising ramblings will lead us. I, for one, welcome our new full-of-shit overlords.


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