Communicator of the Week: Nigel Farage
29th January 2014
Leader of UKIP, Nigel Farage, uses his man of the people image to great effect and, coupled with his straight talking approach, has seen his party rise to an all-time high in opinion polls. With expected successes in this year’s European elections comes greater scrutiny and with it media stories regarding strange views held by some UKIP members.
The most recent of these featured remarks by David Silvester, a UKIP councillor, who said this winter’s flooding in Britain was punishment by God because of the legalisation of gay marriage. Last year the Press Association compiled this helpful list of UKIP gaffes to put this remark in context.
When under consistent scrutiny political parties or indeed businesses usually offer responses to individual queries from journalists. This form of rebuttal will however only result in your comment appearing as part of a story which is likely to be 90 per cent negative. A good rebuttal operation will attempt to stop the rot and try and regain control of the ongoing wider story or narrative. In politics, if you don’t control the dialogue and are just reacting to your opponents then winning becomes very hard.
This is exactly what Nigel Farage tried to do by appearing on the BBC’s Sunday Politics programme and presenting a spoof weather forecast.
In his broadcast he highlighted some extreme views held by members of other political parties and even the Lib Dem councillor who was jailed for planting a series of bombs in north Wales. Farage finished his broadcast with a few jokey lines including advising viewers to “avoid light aircraft” a reference to an air crash Farage was involved in from which he was lucky to survive, and hopes for a “sprinkling of real ale”.
There was a serious message at the heart of this stunt which was picked up by all the major national newspapers and blogs in a way that merely issuing a few words of comment would never have achieved. That’s why Nigel Farage is my Communicator of the Week.
Communicator of the Week is written by Edward Staite.