Nigel Farage has declared he “loves Europe” in an advert for an Irish bookmaker, released on the opening day of the UK Independence Party’s conference in Doncaster.
In the tongue-in-cheek video for Paddy Power, Farage backs Team Europe, who will take on the USA in the 2014 Ryder Cup tomorrow (26 September).
“I love Europe,” the Eurosceptic says, “No I really do, the wine, the food, the excellent transport systems, the clogs…and the greatest golfers in the world.”
After boasting Team Europe will fight the USA “in the bunkers”, he continues in the parody party political broadcast, “Swing for Europe, your continent needs you!”
The publicity stunt is a deft move by Farage and plays on his anti-politician image. He tells USA supporters worried about Tiger Woods not playing, “Cry me a river America – preferably a great European river like the Rhine or the Ouse.”
His call for “You, me, everybody to get behind Team Europe” is already drawing significant attention on social media.
I hope people find this fun… https://t.co/EAHyDK2QD3
— Nigel Farage (@Nigel_Farage) September 25, 2014
EURACTIV has asked Farage if he was paid for the promo and if so, whether the money will go to him personally or the party. Members of the public have asked the same on Twitter. At time of this article’s publication, there has been no response.
Commentators have speculated that the Eurosceptic party, which leads the Europe of Freedom and Direct Democracy group in the European Parliament, would struggle to maintain the momentum it gained by being the successful British party in May’s European elections.
Without the European elections, they argued, UKIP would not be able to maintain the same publicity or popularity it could during the European elections in the run-up to next May’s general election in the UK.
But the high profile surprise defection of Conservative MP Douglas Carswell to UKIP, and the by-election it has caused in Clacton, Essex meant that Farage has kept the party in the headlines, and UK Prime MInsiter David Cameron under pressure to be tougher with the EU.
The advert will draw attention to today’s UKIP conference at Doncaster Racecourse (25 September). It is set to be their biggest ever, according to UKIP, and runs until 27 September.
It comes after the Labour Party’s conference in Manchester earlier this week, which was dominated by talk of UK constitutional reform after Scotland’s “no” vote to independence.
The conferences are seen as the time for Britain’s political leaders to set out their agenda for the 2015 elections.
The election could have significant ramifications on the UK’s membership of the EU. Cameron has promised an in/out referendum in 2017, if he wins the poll.
Some members of the public have praised the advert, while others have accused Farage of just doing it for money.
— MAITLIS (@GoddessMaitlis) September 25, 2014
— Nick Pettigrew (@Nick_Pettigrew) September 25, 2014
UKIP was the most successful British party in the European elections.
The Eurosceptic party is now looking to build on that success, adding to the pressure on Prime Minister David Cameron ahead of May's national election.
Cameron has promised Britons an in/out referendum on Britain's EU membership if he is re-elected in 2015.
- September 25-27: UKIP party conference
- May 2015: UK general election
- 2017: Proposed date for UK's referendum on EU membership
UK Independence Party
- Website: UKIP
- EURACTIV.com: UKIP gains Westminster MP after Tory defection
- EURACTIV Germany: UKIP: Farage erklärt Europa seine Liebe?
- EURACTIV France: Nigel Farage déclare sa flamme à l'Europe dans une publicité