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Stretch, grab a late afternoon cup of caffeine and get caught up on the most important news of the day with our Coffee Break newsletter. These are the stories that will fill you in on the world that's spinning outside of your office window - at the moment that you get a chance to take a breath.
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It’s Full-Out War Between Nigel Farage and Tommy Robinson

“It feels like Westminster is tumbling towards a political crisis without modern precedent,” wrote the BBC’s Ben Wright on November 27. On July 23, 2016, British subjects voted to leave the EU; on December 11, the House of Commons will decide whether or not to approve the horrible deal that Prime Minister Theresa May has struck with the EU honchos and that, her claims to the contrary, comes nowhere close to returning full independence to the UK. If, as seems likely at the moment, the MPs turn down May’s deal, it’s not clear what will happen next, even though, one way or the other, Britain’s EU membership is scheduled to expire on March 29 of next year.

The most important thing at stake in all of this is Britain’s ability to control its own borders, formulate its own immigration policies, and expel certain individuals from the country without having to ask permission from some court in Brussels. These things are important, in turn, because the only hope for Britain’s long-term survival as a Western democracy lies in a radical change in its approach to, in a word, Islam.

To be sure, it may be too late to rescue the UK. The Muslim population may already be too large and the demographic trends irreversible. Certainly a divorce from Brussels won’t be enough by itself to save the day. The two main parties refuse to talk honestly about Islam, as do the mainstream media. Authorities would rather ban Islam critics from the country than deport preachers of terror. Even Mr. Brexit himself, Nigel Farage, has consistently taken a see-no-evil approach to the Religion of Peace. In recent months, however, his successor as head of the UK Independence Party (UKIP), Gerard Batten, has started speaking the truth about Islam – and has even taken on Tommy Robinson as a personal advisor – and has thereby made that party even more of a ray of hope for Britain than it was before.

Unsurprisingly, these actions on Batten’s part have outraged Farage, resulting in some very unpleasant conflict in the top ranks of the pro-Brexit crowd. In recent days, Farage has repeatedly called Tommy a racist – an allegation that anyone familiar with Tommy’s record knows to be untrue. By associating with the likes of Robinson, Farage complained on his December 2 radio/TV program on LBC, “UKIP becomes the BNP,” i.e., the British National Party, a genuinely racist group that Robinson joined in his youth and quit shortly thereafter as soon as he realized that it was racist.

On that same show, Farage also labeled Robinson a “thug,” citing his prison record without acknowledging that British authorities have been going after Robinson for years in much the same way that Robert Mueller is going after Trump, desperately looking for crimes to pin on him. Robinson’s most recent incarceration, of course, was the result of a shamefully irregular courtroom exercise that was later condemned in the sternest terms by the nation’s highest judge, but Farage made no mention whatsoever of that farcical miscarriage of justice. Farage further maintained that participants in the pro-Tommy rallies that took place across Britain this summer had committed acts of violence on a large scale. This, too, was untrue.

“I am disgusted,” Farage said about Robinson’s newfound ties to UKIP, charging that thanks to this connection, and thanks to Batten’s public comments about Islam, UKIP now looks like a party that is “fighting a religious crusade against Islam.” Noting that Robinson is scheduled to speak at a pro-Brexit rally on December 9, Farage fretted that his presence would draw the wrong sort of people and result in widespread acts of public disorder: “I don’t want Gerard Batten and Tommy Robinson to be seen to lead something that is violent, nasty, and unpleasant and that will be used…to say ‘this is what Brexit represents.’”

On his show, Farage takes phone calls from listeners and also answers questions apparently sent in by text message. Some of his listeners on December 2 shared his concern about the changes in UKIP. Others did not. They pushed back at his characterization of Tommy’s followers and his claims of violence at Tommy’s rallies. “You are insulting a lot of decent people,” one listener told Farage. “You are demonizing Tommy Robinson.” Another listener pointed out that Farage, too, had long been smeared as a racist and Islamophobe. “Yes,” Farage replied, “but in my case it was unfair.”

Several listeners felt, as I did, that Farage’s remarks about Tommy and Tommy’s “background” (as Farage put it) and Tommy’s followers (whom Farage actually dismissed as “convicts and thugs”) reeked of class condescension. Farage rejected this accusation. “I’m not being snobby about this,” he insisted. “Not at all. I’ve always wanted UKIP to embrace as many working class people as possible.” He simply wants, he declared, to keep UKIP “respectable.”

A couple of Farage’s listeners directly took on his refusal to breathe a negative word about Islam and praised Robinson’s courage in drawing attention to Muslim rape gangs at a time when the police, the media, politicians, and social workers alike were all pusillanimously covering them up. Apropos of those gangs and those cover-ups, Farage would only concur, blandly, that “blind eyes have been turned to some serious goings-on.” Now that’s classic British understatement at its best. This sort of dodge is par for the course with Farage: asked recently by an interviewer whether he thinks Islamic ideology is compatible with Western values, he answered with a question: “Is the Old Testament compatible with Western values?”

Perhaps Farage’s most absurd statement was that UKIP is “obsessing about Tommy Robinson.” No, he is. (He repeated that charge, word for word, on his December 3 program. And on December 4, he did some more ranting about UKIP and Robinson, and then announced his official resignation as a UKIP member.) And perhaps the ultimate irony of the whole hour-long December 2 program was that at the end of it, Farage handed over to the fellow who hosts the program following his, Maajid Nawaz – an oily customer whom Joshua Winston quite rightly described as “[t]he media’s go-to Muslim darling and ex-terrorist self-promoter.” Like Farage, Nawaz is one of those eminently clubbable types who routinely aver that the overwhelming majority of British Muslims are loyal UK subjects who love democracy and are appalled by Muslim rape gangs.

Tommy Robinson, in a YouTube video released the other day, said what needed to be said about Nigel. “Farage has spoke [sic] more out against me than he has against Theresa May’s plans for Brexit,” Tommy noted. Indeed, Farage seems angrier these days at UKIP than at the EU, less worked up about Muslim rape gangs than about Batten (who on Monday, by the way, survived a no-confidence vote by UKIP’s National Executive Committee). Given that Farage is the gent who has devoted decades of his life to the struggle to leave the EU, these are peculiar developments indeed. Or perhaps they just seem peculiar to an American. It could be that the explanation for Farage’s seemingly bottomless contempt for Tommy Robinson is as simple as the one Tommy offered the other day, addressing Farage in his video: “You’re a toff,” Tommy said. “You’ve always been a toff.”