KATE Hoey’s great mate Nigel Farage has announced another career change. The sometime City trader, failed MP, absentee MEP, UKIP leader and Brexit champion has been at something of a loose end since the UK left the EU. They say the hand that wields the sword never wears the crown, and while there was never any prospect of Toad moving to anywhere more salubrious than Toad Hall, his slide into oblivion has been surprisingly rapid.
His latest job illustrates with tragic and painful accuracy the depth of his predicament. While the other big names in the Leave tent are filling their boots with dodgy Covid contracts for their friends and family and getting seats in the Lords, Nige is making a living sending personal video messages to his his gammon supporters for sixty quid a pop.

“Steve in Bradford wants to end the witch-hunt of our veterans and he’s so right. Happy 46th birthday, Steve, from your mum, who also tells me you haven’t been allowed to see your kids in three years. Shameful.”
“Derek in Bishop’s Stortford says not a single person on the tills at the local Sainsbury’s today was white. You know, Derek, you make a crucial point. But never mind. So sorry about your business collapsing, mate. No idea why it’s so hard to get waiting staff.”
But the pranksters were lurking – and in a world where going viral on social media means money in the bank, people have been quick to hand over three grubby twenty-pound notes to get the big hits. Which is why Nigel recently gave a shout-out to a “massive supporter’ of his by the name of Hugh Janus.
But Nigel’s step away from frontline politics lasted only as long as it took the new comedy station GB News to implode. With audience figures for some daytime shows too low to measure, main anchor Andrew Neil having fled to the south of France to escape the humiliation, and intense blowback after the anti-cancel station cancelled one of its presenters, Plan B has been implemented. And Plan B means ditching that pinko, lefty Tory nonsense and going full UKIP. And so we have Nigel fronting a new daily politics show that will take on the key issues of the day.
Celebrating Freedom Day, for instance, as England rejoices in the lifting of restrictions amidst soaring Delta variant rates which have led to a ‘pingdemic’ of businesses closing before they had a chance to join in the revelry. Outing woke Marxists in the media, schools and universities. Uncovering George Soros-funded virtue-signalling conspiracies. Making fun of Marcus Rashford. Trying to get Gary Lineker sacked. Hilarious interviews with Jim ‘Nick-Nick’ Davidson.
And maybe he’ll get an exclusive with his one-time pal Boris Johnson, who’s currently self-isolating at Chequers after having come into contact with his Covid-stricken Health Secretary Sajid Javid. Self-isolating, that is, after saying he wasn’t going to self-isolate. And after BoJo accounced that the Covid vaccine had broken the connection between infection and death – and then said it hadn’t.
For that’s the kind of consistency that Nige has admired and practised all his political life. He famously championed Brexit because he was disgusted by how the EU treats British fisherman, correctly assuming the British media wouldn’t tell his supporters that when he was an MEP he attended a total of one fisheries meeting out of 42.  Before the 2016 EU referendum Nige backed a Norway-style arrangement that would keep the UK inside the single market and subsequently claimed he didn’t. He said Gareth Southgate was “out of touch” and that England fans had a right to boo when players “took the knee for Marxist BLM” and then cheered the team on and donned a union jack waistcoat to scud them in the final. 
The new show is going to be called ‘Farage’, although Squinter can’t help think they’ve missed a trick by not calling it ‘Farage!’ Nige wants you to pronounce his name the French way, of course – ie, rhyming with the way Yanks say ‘garage’.
Seems it winds him up if you rhyme it with ‘marriage’, with rhymes with ‘carriage’, which is an institute you can’t disparage.  Or used to be, anyway.

Freedom Day came a wee bit early round Belfast city centre


SQUINTER was in the city centre at the weekend. He’s not going to burden you with the banality of his mission there, except to say that it entailed him going to a number of shops for what you might call a niche item – ie, something that he was unable to access via local businesses.
And it’s clear that the days of disciplined mask-wearing are over. Six weeks or two months ago compliance was, at Squinter’s estimate, 90 to 95 per cent. In other words, the public was still taking Covid seriously. But now? In the places Squinter went into it was 50 per cent – at best.
The people of Belfast consume a lot of British media, and since the ludicrous Tory talking point of ‘Freedom Day’ has been slavishly taken up by the broadcasters and newspapers, it’s no surprise that many have been fooled into thinking we’re on the finishing straight of this pandemic.
Anyway, as Squinter sipped a cold £5.50 pint before getting the bus home, he tweeted out the following observation.
“I'm in the city centre, for my sins. Mask wearing has completely gone to sh*t in shops. Very uncomfortable experience.”
The responses, when they came, were in the majority of cases expressing concern that complacency could bring us to a very bad place. But there was a minority – a very sizeable minority, in fact – who have bought into the ‘lockdown-is-tyranny’, ‘down with face-nappies’, ‘Bill-Gates-puts-micro-chips-in-vaccines’ craziness. Nothing new there, of course, but what really hit Squinter like a slap in the face with a wet kipper was that many of the anti-mask crowd were people with whom Squinter has interacted with before on Twitter – people he had considered to be intelligent and thoughtful types.
So anyway, for your pre-weekend delectation, here’s a review of the thoughts of some of the social media Covid experts about Squinter’s mask observation (all of them in their original form)…
• Great. Stay at home or seek mental help for your anxiety.
Conflicting messages here, Squinter feels. While it is of course possible for Squinter to stay at home and seek mental health help, this epidemiologist-cum-psychologist appears to think it’s an either/or situation.
• Sure if your wearing yours, are you not safe? So why don’t you mind your own business?
Robustly put by the boul’ Claire, but how it’s possible to go a year-and-a-half without understanding what we were told at the outset – that masks are to stop you from infecting other people – then one’s entitled to wonder about her information-absorption facility.
• Stay home in your wet bed.
Squinter’s not gonna lie here – he’s been in a few wet beds in his time, and that’s not something he’s proud of. But in his defence, he will say he has never stayed in a wet bed. Or, at least, not after he became aware that it was wet. Hygiene advice like that does not inspire confidence.
• Perhaps you should stay home and order in ..we cannot put out lives off because you like being gagged.
Now Squinter’s seen a few movies in his time and he knows what a gag is. In most of the movies a gag is to stop a restrained person from shouting out. In a few of the more niche ones it’s for rather more exotic purposes. Perhaps instead of a face mask this guy has been wearing a piece of cloth knotted tightly around the mouth, or a leather strap with a snooker ball. In which case Squinter can only agree that Freedom Day can’t come soon enough.
• Stay in the house, let the rest of us get on with it! Personal responsibility! It was very uncomfortable during the troubles but you supported that!
Now Squinter has heard of people supporting the British army, the RUC, the IRA, the UVF.  But he’s never heard of anybody supporting the Troubles. How exactly would Squinter have gone about doing that?
• Fantastic news, people are eventually seeing through the bullshit.
Isaac Newton, a scientist one or two of you might have heard of, is said to have made his breakthrough on the theory of gravity because of a disturbed apple. And that’s enough talk about clever people.
• Flimsy, reused, dirty disposable masks don't work. They will not stop CV19 particles. Masks are politically motivated.
Very brave of Páidí to admit he’s been wearing reused and dirty masks for 18 months. Squinter certainly wouldn’t have the guts to do it, so fair play. That said, let’s exercise extreme caution about taking medical advice from someone with such an appalling personal hygiene regime.
• Shove you're masks where the sun don't shine.
This charmer is a Hibs fan. The motto of the Edinburgh club, of course, is ‘Condemnant quo non intelligunt’ – ‘They condemn that which they do not understand.’ Isn’t it? If it’s not it should be.
• Mask touts about.
Another Troubles-linked observation and, to be honest, Squinter’s afraid to think about whether Mr Magpie would like to see the ultimate sanction for touts, but he kind of hopes that with the conflict being over and peace breaking out and all, just a mixed grill or being put out of the country would suffice.
• Don't go then. Lock urself in a dark room or a bright one and never leave. You will be safe there.
Chris touches on a popular theme – that of mask-wearers being imprisoned in order for non-mask-wearers to enjoy their god-given freedom. Chris most likely doesn’t appreciate the delicious irony of his position. Don’t be like Chris.
• Mate why don’t you just concentrate on wearing yours and leave others that chose not to, to themselves. No one is ostracising you for deciding to get an untested vaccine and wearing a mask them at has little to no effective against air Bourne viruses. Respect not division.
A lot to unpick here, tbh. If people who don’t want to wear a mask beside other people want to be left to themselves, then Squinter’s all for it. Unfortunately, they don’t. They want to get close to people who don’t want them to get close. And that’s just creepy. And don’t think Squinter’s not grateful for not being ostracised for wearing a mask. And it’s important that we respect the virus’s air Bourne Identity.
• Stay in the house then.
Another freedom-denying champion of freedom. But with an Irish name. So all good.
• Get your stuff delivered if that's the case, you cannot enforce mask wearing just to suit you. I believe people like you, who despite having 18 months to look this stuff up, still believe wearing a mask reduces their chances of getting infected are a lost cause and a burden.
Squinter must humbly confess that he has not bothered to ‘look this stuff up’ in the same places that this contributor looks it up – ie on uncle Tommy’s Facebook page and on HangBillGates.com.  He’ll try to put that right.
• Uncomfortable? Being face to face with other human beings?...panic not...it's called society, living & I suppose a 'little freedom of choice'...do you remember 'freedom' & what that actually means?
Kieran is familiar with the word ‘society’ only up to the point where it means people living together. Kieran is unfamiliar with fact that ‘society’ involved people living in a way in which they support and protect each other. Kieran needs a new dictionary.
• Aw sure it could be worse, somebody could be planting bombs in the city centre. Now that would really uncomfortable.
This guy’s Twitter handle refers to Kayser Soze, a character in the film The Usual Suspects, which is a fascinatingly confusing tale in which small-time criminals duck and dive and lie in the service of a sinister puppetmaster who… Wait, this stuff is infectious. Let’s leave it there, shall we?