Nigel Farage’s goading of European Parliamentarians on Tuesday morning was unedifying, undignified and un-British, writes Comment Central.

A key characteristic of being British is magnanimity in the face of victory. It was unedifying therefore to see Nigel Farage’s performance during yesterday’s European Parliament debate.

Parliamentarians had convened an emergency session to discuss the implications of our vote to leave the European Union. Proceedings began reasonably enough with Commission President Jean Claude Junker humbly pledging that despite the referendum result “the British remain our friends”.

“Democracy is democracy” he conceded, with a not so faint hint of regret in his voice. It was at this point the UKIP leader began to clap, prompting Junker – with all the vitriol of a spurned lover – to turn to Farage and howl: “That’s the last time you’re applauding here! The British people voted for the exit! Why are you even here?”. He had a point – why was Farage there, but to rub salt in the wound?

It then became Guy Verhofstadt, the former prime minister of Belgium’s turn to decry the UKIP leader, lambasting him for the out campaign’s tactics during the referendum campaign.

When Farage stood to respond, he was greeted by a chorus of jeers from his fellow Parliamentarians. “Isn’t it funny?” he began; the audience could sense what was coming, “When I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me – well I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you?”, the sense of glee palpable in his voice.

He went on: “What happened last Thursday was a remarkable result – it was a seismic result. Not just for British politics, for European politics, but perhaps even for global politics too.”

Relishing in his victory, he added: “What I’d like to see is a grownup and sensible attitude to how we negotiate a different relationship. I know that virtually none of you have never done a proper job in your lives, or worked in business, or worked in trade, or indeed ever created a job. But listen, just listen.”

As if to bate the wounded bear further, he continued: “You’re quite right Mr Schultz – Ukip used to protest against the establishment and now the establishment protests against Ukip. Something has happened here. Let us listen to some simple pragmatic economics – my country and your country, between us we do an enormous amount of business in goods and services. That trade is mutually beneficial to both of us, that trade matters. If you were to cut off your noses to spite your faces and reject any idea of a sensible trade deal the consequences would be far worse for you than it would be for us.”

And on it went. The exchanges between Junker, Verhofstadt and Farage, each trading blows with one another. Unedifying to say the least. Like a domestic dispute in a broken down marriage.

What was Farage thinking? Not a whimper of humility, or contrition. As he himself pointed out, these are people we must work together with. They are our biggest trading partners, even outside the European Union we are still mutually dependent on one another. By antagonising our European neighbours, you serve only to stiffen their resolve to give us a raw deal.

However, it may be that Farage is a master strategist, and that by burning bridges with our European neighbours he reduces the chance of any kind of u-turn being achieved over our European membership. But more likely is that the simplest explanation is correct, and that Farage has proved himself to be a brittle and spiteful little man whose fragile ego motivates him to petty vengeances. If that is the case, nobody should be satisfied that the country is represented, even in a limited way, by such an unstatesmanlike figure. He talks of being grownups; Nigel, it is you that needs to grow up.

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