Belfast Telegraph

Farage condemns 'messiah' Brand

Russell Brand has been exposed as a "messiah with feet of clay" in his Question Time clash with Nigel Farage, the Ukip leader has claimed.

The comedian condemned Mr Farage as a "pound shop Enoch Powell" on the BBC One show, which saw the two field questions from a studio audience on immigration, schools and Brand's anti-politics campaign.

And both took to the internet to continue trading insults after filming was complete.

Writing on his blog, Revolution author Brand said Mr Farage was " worse than stagnant, he is a tribute act, he is a nostalgic spasm for a Britain that never was; an infinite cricket green with no-one from the colonies to raise the game, grammar schools on every corner and shamed women breastfeeding under giant parasols".

He accused the Ukip leader of trading on fear, claiming that in an unbroadcast section Mr Farage had backed parents' right to smack their children on the grounds that: "It's good for them to be afraid."

Brand said: "There is a lot of fear about in our country at the moment and he is certainly benefiting from it. But the Britain I love is unafraid and brave. We have a laugh together, we take care of one another, we love an underdog and we unite to confront bullies."

He added: "Nigel Farage in the flesh - gin-blossomed flesh that it is - inspires sympathy more than fear, an end of the pier, end of the road, end of days politician, who like many people who drink too much has a certain sloppy sadness."

Meanwhile, Mr Farage wrote on the Independent website that the "sometime comedian turned banker-basher" had been "limp".

He added: "Maybe it was the ChapStick that his make-up artist applied to his lips at the last moment, but he didn't seem to utter a word of sense.

"Mr Brand will swan around and tout long-discredited, even conspiratorial, theories about the City of London, and 'who owns politicians' - but actually he had very little to give."

Both were disparaging about the Question Time format - which pitted them against Conservative Penny Mordaunt, Labour's Mary Creagh and journalist Camilla Cavendish.

Mr Farage said it was "all a little formulaic", while Brand described it as "a pantomime... a timid and tepid debate where the topics and dynamism of the discussion are as wooden and flat as the table we gamely sit around".

Both agreed that the most vital contributions came from the audience, including one man who challenged Brand to stand for Parliament and a woman who told Mr Farage that immigration was a side-issue which should not dominate the political debate.

Brand said "the only worthwhile sentiments, be they raging or insightful, come from the audience".

Mr Farage said audience members had expressed "sensible" ideas on immigration, grammar schools and the NHS.

He said: "People are attracted to Mr Brand's 'I'll rant and rave but never stand for Parliament myself' politics. Don't vote. Don't engage. What's the point?

"You can see the logic. But morally, you can't really justify it... This isn't the way politics is done in this country. And I'll be damned if a chest-hair obsessed Hollywood type tries to tell us it is.

"T he messiah has feet of clay, and the revolution is not occurring on Mr Brand's side - it's happening with Ukip, and it's happening fast."

Mr Farage claimed that Brand had his chest hair "straightened" before going in front of the cameras.

"Everyone fancied that Mr Brand and I might butt heads, but actually, as we entered the studio, and his personal make-up artist straightened his chest hair for him - I kid you not - I realised that perhaps he might be a bit lighter weight than expected," said the Ukip leader.

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