Farage is out of order in the new world order

By Chris Peterson | China Daily Europe | Updated: 2016-11-18 07:46

Donald Trump's election as United States president - a triumph for celebrity over mainstream politics - means the world we've known for years has been turned upside down.

For me as a Briton, watching a smirking Nigel Farage become the first foreign politician to hold a substantial meeting with Trump was unsettling. Remember this is a man who failed four times to get elected to the British parliament and whose only elected office was as a member of the European Parliament. It's a body whose members were last elected in 2014, when only a miserable 34 percent of British voters bothered to turn out.

Farage is the maverick leader of UKIP, a party whose sole platform was getting Britain out of the EU; since the referendum which ended with a Leave vote in June, UKIP has been beset by a series of crises, with Farage initially quitting, saying his job was done. But when the party's leadership elections descended into farce, Farage came back as 'interim' leader, although it soon became clear he was looking for a role.

Trump has given him the perfect opportunity. 'Mavericks attract mavericks' seems to be the message here.

Farage is out of order in the new world order

However he did it, Farage seems to have persuaded Trump's acolytes that he represents Britain. Not in my book, he doesn't.

But the overall message here is a complete upset of the world order.

Yes, I know President Xi Jinping has already been in contact with Trump.

But the fact remains that Trump was elected president of the US in part on a vehement anti-China message - he blamed China for 'stealing' US jobs and said time and time again he wanted China labeled a currency manipulator for keeping the yuan artificially low. He's threatening tariffs of 45 percent on Chinese goods.

Also, it seems inevitable that a Trump presidency is going to mean an inward-looking US.

Farage is out of order in the new world order

Add to that the fairly constant US protectionist attitude, especially toward Chinese companies, and the EU's inability to conclude a trade deal with the world's biggest growth economy, and you start to wonder.

President Xi and his government have urged Chinese investors and companies to look overseas and, economic simpleton that I may be, I figure that all that money - and there is a lot of it - needs to go somewhere.

UK Prime Minister Theresa May, who took over from the markedly pro-China team of David Cameron and George Osborne in the wake of the referendum, is by nature cautious. But she has made it clear she wants the 'golden era' defined by President Xi and his British hosts a year ago to continue and expand.

Her approach to the Hinkley Point nuclear power station, which involves Chinese investment and other ties, is a case in point. She asked for more time to consider a project that had been grandfathered through by Cameron and Osborne but, despite wild media speculation that she had upset the Chinese, President Xi made it clear they respected her position and urged her to take her time.

Net result? A deal that satisfied the British authorities, the French constructors and the Chinese government.

So if that approach continues, I think we can confidently expect continued serious Chinese investment here.

I'm behind anything that blacks the eye of the odious Nigel Farage and his new best friend.

Chris Peterson is managing editor, Europe for China Daily. Contact him at

(China Daily European Weekly 11/18/2016 page10)

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