Farage is an asset and Trump’s billionaires are a blessing – so says the Times op-ed page

More right-wing nonsense from Murdoch's broadsheet


As the former paper of record, The Times has a reputation for being a serious newspaper, less tainted by the bias of the tabloids.

But as we’ve chronicled many times, in both its reporting and its opinions, Rupert Murdoch’s Times is often well to the right of the Tories.

Today’s op-ed page is a case in point – even though we’re spared the likes of Melanie Phillips.

First up is Tim Montgomerie, who argues that although Nigel Farage is completely unsuitable for the role, we should use him as a sort of trade envoy to president-elect Donald Trump.

Implying Farage deserves the title of ‘Britain’s politician of the year’ for his role in the EU referendum, Montgomerie says Farage is ‘as toxic a politician as he is consequential’.

But leaving the EU requires a ‘radical resetting of our economic and foreign policies’. He concludes:

“Getting a good trade deal with the world’s biggest economy could be a key element of that reset and while Mr Farage is too undiplomatic and indiscreet for an official position, it is petty and partisan for ministers not to seek his advice and help.”

If we’re so desperate for trade deals that we need to make a neo-fascist City boy part of our foreign policy, perhaps this Brexit business wasn’t such a great idea.

Next we have Justin Webb, who sees no contradiction between Trump’s supposed populism and the billionaires in his prospective cabinet.

‘Working-class Americans’, we’re told, ‘particularly white working-class Americans, do not see a cabinet of billionaires as an affront to them’. How Webb knows this is not shared with us.

But on he goes, saying the ‘simple and devastating truth’ is that working class Americans are hostile to doctors, lawyers and teachers,

“But the rich, in their planes, in their pools: these guys don’t disparage you or order you about or tick you off. In fact (of course) you never meet them. They just smile from the pages of the magazines. And they worked hard for it and nobody gave you the bill — or at least not in a way you noticed.”

This is ignorance on an impressive scale. Nobody gave working class Americans the bill for the financial crisis, the collapse of the housing bubble and the Wall Street bailouts?

As for working hard, please. Trump inherited his wealth and had to file for bankruptcy six times. Yet show some people a golden door, and they’ll lick your boots.

Webb goes on to suggest brain surgeon (hang on, isn’t that a sort of doctor?) and fruitcake Ben Carson would be a great person to put in charge of housing, while Putin crony and ExxonMobil chief Rex Tillerson ought to be US Secretary of State. He writes:

“Ask yourself, would a working class American […] regard either the wealth of these people or their inexperience as anything other than a giant plus?”

If Webb believes the latter, he should have the courage to say so in his own voice, and stop patronising American workers who are harder to dazzle with shiny objects than he appears to be.

Brexit, Trump, Farage and billionaires – another Monday on the op-ed page of The Times!

Adam Barnett is staff writer for Left Foot Forward. Follow him on Twitter @AdamBarnett13 

See: Six reasons Nigel Farage should not be US ambassador – sorry Donald

See: Donald Trump’s attacks on unions are a betrayal of American workers

See: Donald Trump is no working class hero – don’t parrot his propaganda

Like this article? Sign up to Left Foot Forward's weekday email for the latest progressive news and comment - and support campaigning journalism by making a donation today.