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So…it has come to this

Police have launched an investigation after Nigel Farage vowed to “take the knife to the pen pushers in Whitehall” after Brexit

Let me get this straight. A very high profile mainstream politician, whose party could feasibly call on a larger base of mainstream support than any other at present, attracts police attention as a result of what is clearly a rhetorical flourish.


28 comments to So…it has come to this

  • Unknown

    It strikes me (oops, used a violent word!) that this is a prima-facie case of someone(s) in the Gwent Police illegally using their position for political purposes.

    I’d need to trawl the regulations on police conduct, but I’m pretty sure that announcing a ridiculous investigation based upon what is obviously a malicious complaint is a breach of their rules.

    Now to find the form of words, and figure out how to make the complaint via some means where a juicy press release will result . . .

  • Perhaps he should have said “scissors”.

    Or was it a paper knife he had in mind?

    Best regards

  • ‘Naomi Long, a Northern Ireland MEP, [claimed] that his remarks were “a clear case of incitement to violence against staff in the Civil Service”. … Mr Farage partially retracted his comments by tweeting: “I should have said ‘take the axe, which is a more traditional term for cuts.” ‘

    I feel sure Naomi Long is capable of insisting this was no retraction but “a clear case” of upping the ante – no longer just a knife but now an axe!

    As regards the reported police statement they ‘would be looking into’ her complaint, it may be appropriate to note that one of the nastinesses of UK ‘hate speech’ law is that (IIUC) the police are under some sort of obligation to note and assess every complaint. This is partly because, when Blair brought it in, it was always intended that the process be the punishment whenever it could not just be an additional punishment. It is also because SJWs did not want police, whom they tend to dislike and distrust even when using them, having any more discretion than could be helped.

    I suppose I could complain to police that this was a clear case of Naomi Long inciting violence against Nigel Farage by intentionally wildly misrepresenting his remarks – but I suspect that those who pretend to believe the greater absurdity will, for that very reason, find some way to disregard the lesser one. 🙂 (and also 😡 )

  • Some politicians prefer it when words speak louder than actions.

    For themselves, and against their opponents!

    Best regards

  • Stonyground

    Can’t we have a law against exhibiting unbelievable stupidity?

  • JohnK

    I think it is important for Nigel to clarify: he didn’t mean a knife with a sharp point.

  • Eric

    The bureaucrats I’ve worked with consider the threat of budget cuts much more serious than they would any kind of “incitement to violence”. People getting stabbed is all well and good, but being forced to get a job in the private sector? Unthinkable!

  • As I thought likely, the police have decided not to proceed with the complaint. IIUC the police had no discretion to drop the complaint as obviously silly but had to go through some formal assessment process, so this has been ended about as fast as is legally permitted. Let us be glad that, even today, though things may be bad, they are not (yet!) nearly as bad as the PC wish.

  • Gavin Longmuir

    Stonyground: “Can’t we have a law against exhibiting unbelievable stupidity?”

    Be careful what you wish for! By the time Ms. Thunberg is finished with her carbon-free tour of world capitals, those of us who don’t quite buy the idea that Anthropogenic Global Warming is real and a clear & present danger may find ourselves falling foul of the Law Against Exhibiting Unbelievable Stupidity. 🙂

  • JohnK


    Our views are already ignored. We are unpeople as far as the green elite is concerned. Literally as far as the BBC goes, where, since “the science is settled”, no views which question AGW are permitted.

    No need to ban views which are already de facto banned. The political and media classes are absolutely committed to the AGW theory. If absolute and undeniable evidence disproving AGW were discovered now, it would make no difference. It would not even get published in the “peer reviewed” journals. Too many people need AGW to be real for anything so jejune as reality to be allowed to interfere.

  • Runcie Balspune

    Interesting that someone automatically regards a knife as a potential weapon, when in fact it has a number of mundane uses, so who is actually the one with violent intent here – the person saying “knife” or the person assuming a knife is used to inflict harm ?

    It should be pointed out that Hansard has a fully searchable online database of everything any politician has said in Parliament, for example, the claim that Boris used the word “traitor” can be fully disputed, I suspect this website is going to get a lot of use on the next month as the stone throwers suddenly hear the tinkle of broken glass.

  • Julie near Chicago

    No, this is a legit case of clear incitement. Just as, some years ago, Sarah Palin was obviously guilty of inciting the attempted murder of Gabby Giffords by publishing a map showing likely Dem-voting districts encircled and under crosshairs.

    Clearly the UK’s movers & shakers are no more nuts than our own.

    By the way. Calling this event “the Gabby Giffords shooting” has always made it difficult for me to restrain my propensity to go nuclear. If anything, bad as her injuries were, they were nothing like those of the six fatalities of the shooting. How about referring to the event as something like “the nutcase Jared Loughner’s mass murder”?

    😡 and a pox on all their houses.

  • Bruce

    Do you still have laws about “malicious prosecution” in the UK?

    Supplementary question: Do you still have a judiciary that would allow such a charge to be heard?

  • Flubber

    Supplementary question: Do you still have a judiciary that would allow such a charge to be heard?

    Who the hell knows? As the Supreme Court ruling proved, we’re in making it up as we go along territory now.

  • “If absolute and undeniable evidence disproving AGW were discovered now, it would make no difference.”

    The disproof is pretty much undeniable already. During the warming period of the 1990s and into the early part of this century, the AGW doomsday predictions were barely plausible. At present we have several hundred years worth of temperature, wind and rainfall records that show no significant trends other than a very slight and irregular warming since the end of the Little Ice Age. The hypothesis that a miniscule rise in atmospheric CO2 levels has any significant effect has been completely falsified.

  • Mr Ed


    Plod’s attention may be drawn to the provsions of Section 5 (2) and (3) of the Criminal Law Act 1967, for England and Wales:

    (2) Where a person causes any wasteful employment of the police by knowingly making to any person a false report tending to show that an offence has been committed, or to give rise to apprehension for the safety of any persons or property, or tending to show that he has information material to any police inquiry, he shall be liable on summary conviction to imprisonment for not more than six months or to a fine of not more than level 4 on the standard scale or to both.

    (3) No proceedings shall be instituted for an offence under this section except by or with the consent of the Director of Public Prosecutions.

    And should the DPP refuse consent, bring a private charge against him for misconduct in public office and/or judicial review.

  • Lee Moore

    we’re in making it up as we go along territory now

    We crossed the border long ago, and we’ve been camped in the Capital City of Never Never Land for a quarter of a century. Lord Denning was the standard bearer of make it up-ism, in the 1950s to 1970s, and though he was hailed as brilliant*, the Law Lords regularly shot him down for making stuff up. But by the mid seventies, his approach seemed to gain traction with senior judges (and why wouldn’t it) and the HoL started making up tax law like billy-o to squish tax avoiders. So, stir in a bit of EU make-it-up-ism and by the 1990s, make-it-ip-ism is mainstream. But by now it’s long standing orthodoxy.

    In many ways it’s that long march through the institutions / personnel is policy stuff again. If you only appoint megalomaniac progressive judges you’re going to get megalomaniac progressive judgements. (And likewise with bishops.)

    Interesting make it up-ism is a native plant of the United States and they started making it up nearly a century ago. But since the 1980s, and snce Scalia in particular, make-it-up-ism has begun to go out of fashion at least at Appelate and Supreme level (except the 9th, obviously) and read-the-effing-words is coming back in. So we’re about fifty years behind the game.

    * he actually said – in so many words – that Parliament didn’t have the time to sort stuff out, so it was the judges job to do it, and anyway judges were better qualified to do it. We got an echo of that in the Supreme Court prorogation business with one judge asking a question along the lines of – you say it’s not justiciable, but if we don’t intervene, the Queen might be embarrassed, surely that couldn’t be right.

  • Lee Moore

    It’s actually a bit of a shame Farage hasn’t been prosecuted for this.

    We’d never have had to listen to “The Cuts ! The Cuts ! ” again.

  • James Shepherd

    In the 1970s Generals Carver and Hackett were tasked with making defence cuts. With names like those should they have been arrested?

  • James F Hargrave

    The 11 dwarfs of the pretend supreme court should be placed in a room, like a school detention, and made to write out the Bill of Rights a hundred times, then tested to see if they now understood what it said, and only released when they showed that they had understood it.

  • NickM

    My late Granny was fond of this phrase when she strongly objected:

    “It’s neither fair nor right – like the darkie’s left tit!”

  • Graham

    I knew that free speech was doomed when that chap was arrested for saying that his computer took longer to shut down than Nelson Mandela.

  • Johnathan Pearce (London)

    As I understand it, the EU wishes, or already has attempted, to make criticism of it illegal.

    The reasons for leaving this shitshow continue to expand.

  • Runcie Balspune

    I’m not really sure why Farage semi-apologized on this and proffered “taking the axe” instead.

    Using the image of a knife to make administrative cuts a.k.a. redundancies, was in common usage back in the day, in particular during the financial services downturn (which is probably why Farage, as an ex-employee of that industry, used it). In my own experience a finance company I worked for employed the infamous John Mack as CEO, specifically to reduce the workforce, he was commonly known as “Mack the Knife”, but I personally did not witness him physically stabbing anyone.

    The phrase “taking a knife to” is also often associated with surgery, where although a knife of some sort is used to cut flesh, it is intended to benefit rather than incapacitate.

  • I’m not really sure why Farage semi-apologized on this and proffered “taking the axe” instead. (Runcie Balspune, September 30, 2019 at 11:50 am)

    Farage may have been trolling (or very polite, but I doubt he thinks the complainer deserves it).

    – An axe is more violent than a knife, in ordinary usage. His reference to its being “more usual” may suggest knowledge of other MPs (Labour ones, maybe?) having used it.

    – You are correct that, in industry, ‘take the knife to’ is commonplace, but in parliament and media reporting of politics one more often ‘axes’ things.

  • Paul Marks

    British law has become absurd – and, eventually, people in charge of enforcing absurd laws (the police) become absurd themselves.

  • Bruce

    British law has become absurd – and, eventually, people in charge of enforcing absurd laws (the police) become absurd themselves.

    That is usually the point at which the bodies really start to stack up.

  • Paul Marks

    Yes Bruce – sadly so.