This article originally appeared on VICE UK.
Last week wasn't the easiest for UKIP leader Nigel Farage. He spent the first few days of it defending himself, after letting slip he reckons we can do away with anti-racial discrimination laws. On Thursday, one of his party's brightest stars, Janice Atkinson, was suspended after the police started investigating her for fraud. If that wasn't bad enough, trolls have been taking the piss out of his new book in a load of sarcastic reviews on Amazon.
So, as many of us would after a difficult few days, Nige headed down to his local yesterday for a quiet Sunday afternoon pint, to forget about the stress and the elections, the over-packed diary and the immigrants, to unwind with his wife.
But a bunch of protesters had other ideas, interrupting his me-time with an aggressive multicultural conga that forced him to flee the pub in his car, leaving his drink (and apparently children) in the boozer. It's caused a bit of a stir; Nigel has called them all "scum," saying his kids were scared shitless, while the organizers of the protest say they are receiving death threats.
This isn't the first time Farage has had bother in the pub; a gang of drinkers staged a small walkout after he rocked up to the Phoenix in Faversham earlier last week, while back in 2013 he was forced to barricade himself inside a pub in Scotland by a mob of protesters. Why is this becoming a common occurrence? Is it a dick-move to scare the Farage offspring? Do politicians deserve a day off, too? Or does Farage deserve all the flak? We talked to one of the organizers of yesterday's protest, Dan Glass, in order to find out.
VICE: Right, let's start at the beginning with this: Why did you all head down to Downe in Kent yesterday?
Dan Glass: We went down because that's where Nigel's local is, and for far too long he's been spreading prejudice and hate, targeting communities with sexism, racism, homophobia, HIV prejudice, Islamophobia, and a whole lot more. We'd had enough, so a group of us got together to make a celebration of diversity down at his local, to show him what it's all about, so he knows there's nothing to be scared of.
You said a celebration of diversity— what does that entail, then?
We had a Muslim call to prayer, an HIV anti-stigma class, a talk from a Holocaust survivor, a jig from a Palestinian dance group, a bunch of Mexicans came along with a piñata, there were language classes, breast feeing mothers, an "It's Raining Men" gay dance group. You get the idea.
That's a pretty bizarre line-up.
Well, Nigel has said that breastfeeding mothers should sit in the corner facing a wall, like naughty kids thinking about what they've done wrong, so they all came along. When asked which kinds of people should be let in to the UK, Farage said: "People who do not have HIV, to be frank. That's a good start," while another Ukipper said people with HIV should be quarantined.
Gay rights groups joined us, since one of his chums is convinced that it's LGBT people who cause flooding. There was an immigrant traffic parade out the front, since Nigel seems to think they're to blame for traffic-jams on motorways. We even laid on some language classes because he's shit scared of people he can't understand having a chat on the train.
We wanted to show Farage, and anyone thinking of voting UKIP, that we're not people to be scared of. This was the point of our little day out.
Do you think you achieved that?
Yeah, people were getting really involved. To be honest, I reckon even if local people hadn't participated it was a success, as we pulled together groups from all over who have to face the shit that bigotry induces, to celebrate our diversity.
It was so beautiful and heartwarming, I cried at one point. And I laughed. A holocaust survivor smashed up a piñata with "bigotry" pasted on the front while a gay donkey minced through the dining room.
Do you really think that turning up at someone's local and making a scene is the way to convince people that UKIP aren't the answer? Didn't you just piss off the people who already thought Farage was on to something?
Not at all. We had loads of great conversations with people who were in the pub with us. People from the area got involved with the talks, participated in the classes, and were having a gay old time.
This was the point, we wanted to show what a world beyond UKIP looks like. He can spout hatred from his soapbox and tell people to be scared of people they don't know, of cultures they may not fully understand. It's easy to target people when they're not near you, painting a picture of someone to blame. We wanted to show that he's lying, and today we proved it.
Were you really expecting Nigel to turn up to this? It doesn't really sound like his cup of tea...
No, it wasn't on our agenda as such. We weren't there for him, we were there to celebrate our diversity, meet the people at the pub, and if he turned up it was a bonus. If he happened to come along we were going to welcome him with open arms, show him what diversity is all about. The first thing we'd get him doing was the citizenship test led by a Bulgarian migrant group.
Unsurprisingly though, even though we'd been advertising pretty hard online, he was a no show, so we carried on with out him. But as the show was coming to a close, someone came in and told us that he'd turned up at the pub across the road. By that point it was the last act, a "We Are Family" conga line, that we were going to snake around the bar and gardens. But with Nigel so close, it felt rude not to go and say hello, so we decided to conga off to the pub opposite where he was having his pint.
When we got there he clearly wasn't up for joining in and scarpered off to his car.
You say he "scarpered." Nigel has said his "children were so scared by your behavior that they ran away." Is it OK to scare his kids? They're kids.
Of course not. If his children were freaked out by us arriving then of course we're sorry. But we didn't see any kids, and I'm not convinced that they were even there. We didn't see them, he left in his car, but only with is wife. To be honest, I reckon it's calculated. He must have known we were next door, we'd been shouting about it on the internet, he came along anyway and is now trying to paint a bunch of mothers, dancers and disabled people as some kind of pitchfork-wielding angry mob.
If he was so concerned about the welfare of children, he had a pretty good way of hiding it as he charged through a line of breastfeeding mothers to get to his car.
We all came along as one big happy family, there was nothing to be afraid of.
Aren't politicians entitled to a day off? It was a Sunday, after all...
When you stir up hatred, cause conflict and create tensions, you can't just take a day off from being held responsible.
You have to remember, the prejudice and fear he is spreading has consequences. He's inflicting people with stigma and hatred. The groups that he blames for our society being so unfair have to live with the results of his actions every day. Immigrants, gay people, and Muslims don't just face prejudice 9 to 5, Monday to Friday. There's no weekend when it comes to discrimination, so it's only fair that Nigel deals with this on a Sunday, too.
Plus, most of us have to go to work today...
Farage has said he wants a taxpayer-funded police escort while he's on the campaign trail. Do you reckon what you've done just shows he needs it?
Of course not, it's a massive waste of the taxpayer's money. It doesn't take a genius to ask why people are angry. Let's look at the root cause. I can see why he reckons he needs one, as people are pissed. But, if he stopped being so fucking rude about people, then he wouldn't need one. If I went round calling everyone names and telling them they're the cause of all evil I reckon people would be pissed off too.
We don't need to defend him, with public money, we need to stand up to his bigotry. You don't need a bunch of cops to protect you from gays in hot pants, lactating mamas, and a Palestinian dance troupe.
(He reads a text aloud that he receives as we're talking, that calls him "scum," telling him he "needs to be taught a fucking lesson.") What was that?
Just another message. Nigel Farage has called us scum, and I've received about 20 death threats tonight already, I'm not too worried though, it's like water off a gay duck's back. All I'd say to these people threatening us is let's have a cup of tea, and have a chat... oh, and don't vote for UKIP.
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