Capital News Service video by Jason Lewis and Charlie Richardson/Bournemouth University
Editors note: Jason Lewis and Charlie Richardson, journalists from Bournemouth University in England, are covering the GOP convention for Capital News Service. Lewis offered this reflection on covering Nigel Farage — one of the leaders of the British movement to leave the European Union — who spent time in Cleveland during the GOP convention this week.
By Jason Lewis
Capital News Service/Bournemouth University
CLEVELAND — On hearing the rumours that Nigel Farage planned to attend the Republican National Convention in Cleveland, I was shocked.
A man that for the majority of his political career has been part of a minority party on the fringes of the British political scene was appearing at an American national party convention. The rise of UKIP (the United Kingdom Independence Party), who currently have just one MP in Parliament, is unique.
Farage’s appearance at a breakfast in the Cleveland Flats was similar to the setting of many seaside towns on the south coast of the UK. Along the backdrop of the Cuyahoga River, Farage was on his finest form alongside host and White House Correspondent Steve Thomma, at a forum sponsored by McClatchy Newspapers.
Amongst his now what seems usual repertoire of jokes and acts, such as highlighting the European Union on the front of his passport, which he removes from his jacket and displays to the audience, the former UKIP leader discussed the “story” of Brexit, the British exit from the E.U. that Farage championed.
Farage went into some detail about how he feels Brexit resonates with the support Donald Trump is getting from the American people.
“There is a blue collar group of people in America much as there is in the U.K. who have not had a great time of it for the last 10 or 20 years,” Farage said. “They are very frustrated. They have generally been disengaging from voting completely, but if you give them an opportunity to say something and do something, then they are actually the people that can tip it one way or the other.”
The British media in attendance all seemed to be indifferent to the member of the European Parliament’s anecdotes that charmed the American majority in the room. The UK press have heard it all before.
The Brit was keen to point out that he is not in Cleveland to directly endorse the Republican nominee. He said he does, however, hope to get to understand more about an American political process that is extremely different from what he has battled for more than 20 years.