Nigel Farage Taken Apart in Landmark LBC Radio Interview with James O’Brien

A005 - CopyUKIP leader Nigel Farage must now regret his decision to challenge LBC Radio’s James O’Brien to a debate today  over the broadcaster’s criticisms of the party .  In a dazzling example of gloves-off political interview technique, O’Brien came armed to the teeth with awkward questions that left Farage floundering.  We need more of this.

The Interview

I highly recommend you grab some popcorn and watch the entire interview as O’Brien carefully unpicks the fabric of Farage’s nice-guy, man of the people act.  Question by question he exposes Farage’s connections to the far right at home and in the EU, along with matter of corruption, misleading claims and spivvery by Farage personally and his party at large.


O’Brien begins the interview by asking Farage what will be done about UKIP Councillor for Gloucestershire John Lyndon Sullivan’s remarks on social media that:

A005Farage first attempts to dismiss this as a feature of all parties, and claims that Sullivan doesn’t represent UKIP, stating Sullivan is merely a candidate.  Sullivan is in fact an elected official of Gloucester County Council representing UKIP.


O’Brien quickly moves on to the party’s Small Business Spokesman who was recently found to have employed 7 illegal immigrants.

Farage attempts to distance his spokesman from the scandal by stating that this happened at a business that he had stepped down from managing.  O’Brien is quick to point out his resignation came just days AFTER the immigrant story broke – catching Farage in another misrepresentation.

Links to the Far Right

O’Brien allows Farage a lengthy whinge about separating the fringe lunatics in his party from the majority of moderates, and his stance on denying former mebers of far-right parties like the BNP membership to the party – then exposes Farage’s own links to the far right.

Farage was pictured in 1997 (image below) with two prominent members of the far right.  The first is Tony LeComber, former member of The National Front, and a director of the BNP jailed in 1991 for attacking a Jewish teacher. The second is Mark Deavin, another BNP member who in the same year this picture was taken, wrote the anti-semitic time ‘Who are the Mindbenders?’ intended to expose some sinister Jewish ownership and control of the British press for nefarious purposes.

Farage attempts to distance himself by stating simply that people change and he was disappointed by the changes in these men.  He is caught in another misrepresentation when O’Brien points out Farage had lunch with Deavin after he was ditched by UKIP.

Nigel Farage
Tony LeComber Neo Nazi with Bomb Convictions
Mark Deavin BNP


Then O’Brien challenges Farage’s membership of the far-right group in the European Parliament which includes The Danish People’s Party, The True Finns, the Dutch SGP and the Lega Nord. Farage chairs the group with Lega Nord’s Franscesco Speroni who said of Norway’s mass murderer Anders Breivik “Breivik’s ideas are in defence of western civilisation.”

Farage immediately closes this down, attributing the comments to a member of Lega Nord that they dismissed from the group. “No he didn’t, one of his members did and we kicked him out of the group” insists Farage.  But O’Brien has done his research – Mario Borghezio who praisied Breivik in 2011 was suspended by the right-wing European Parliament group in May 2013 for making racist remarks about a Congolese-born minister of the Italian government.

Farage dismisses his party cosying up to Europe’s fascist parties as necessary political compromise.

Farage and the Media

Next O’Brien challenges Farage’s claims that ‘the political class and their friends in the media’ are out to get UKIP.  O’Brien points out that Farage has weekly columns in the Express and the Independent, has appeared BBC Questiontime more than anyone except David Dimbleby, and that Private Eye have reported that Farage’s medical bills are being paid for.  We don;t get to find out by whom as Farag cuts him off citing ‘libel’.  When asked if he will be suing Private Eye over the accusations if they are untrue, Farage states that he’s too busy running an election campaign, to which O’Brien neatly retorts ‘too busy to know who’s standing on the council in Gloucestershire on your watch’.

Farage is, by this point, clearly seething.


O’Brien moves on to challenge Farage’s role as company secretary for a business that was wound up by the Indland Revenue owing £125,000 in taxes.  For which Farage struggles to find a plausible answer.

By 12 minutes in, Farage is pleading for O’Brien to take his focus off his party and onto the issues.  No chance.

How many non-English speakers can you fit on a train?

O’Brien challenges Farage about his recent anecdote about how he was made to feel uncomfortable travelling several stops on a commuter train without hearing the English language being spoken.  Farage is stuck as to how to explain this without making xenophobic remarks and falls back on the issue of integration and it being wrong that people who relocate to England don;t soeak english.  While Farage struggles to answer O’Brien’s simple question “How do you know they can’t speak English?’, the presenter moves on to bring on Farage’s German wife, who could well have been on that train making a call home. Would that make you uncomfortable? O’Brien asks a red-faced Farage.

Farage has also made a big deal about the number of children in UK schools for whom English is a second language.  But misrepresents the issue as if this referred to children who don’t speak English.  O’Brien points out that this is the case for Farage’s own daughter’s for whom German is their primary language. So is Farage campaigning against children like his own daughters?

After thwarted attempts by Farage’s press officer to close down the interview, a clearly disgruntled and flummoxed Farage is bid farewell by O’Brien.

We Need More of This

This is the kind of journalism that our political class should be facing, day in, day out.  All too often, charismatic but morally bankrupt politicians like Farage, Boris Johnson, David Cameron and others are treated with kid gloves by interviewers keen not to lose favour with their respective press offices.

It is not that we wish to see politicians beat up for no reason other than to enjoy some voyeuristic sadism – O’Brien made zero ad hominem attacks and maintained a neutral tone throughout the interview.  But such painstaking analysis of what our politicians say and what they do, this is what is missing from the majority of political journalism today – which remains pivoted around personality and personal life.  By this I mean, while a politician having an extra-marital affair is considered a scandal, Theresa May giving herself the right to strip people of their UK citizenship is not.

We need more James O’Briens and fewer Nick Robinsons….


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19 thoughts on “Nigel Farage Taken Apart in Landmark LBC Radio Interview with James O’Brien

  1. Pingback: Solidarity Betrayed: UKIP and Pride | howupsetting

  2. O’ Brian did his usual trick of throwing questions at people right in the middle of the answer being said, a tactic used to throw the person off and therefore make them look as though they’re wrong, and used by rude and ignorant people who haven’t got a justified opinion of their own. Not a great interview at all and I get the feeling that this articles author has a slightly biased view against Farage.
    Taken apart?! Hardly the interview I heard. It would be nice if you could take on an unbiased role when you write articles and that goes for O’Brian when he interviews people too!

  3. I think you just heard whatever you wanted to hear and not what was actually said. I am not a fan of this man or his party or his ideals. Far from it. As far as I am concerned, this interview was directed at a man who, rather than his policies, was forced into defending himself. I am not interested in the man. Leaders change. I am interested in why so many have fallen for it – hence why I needed to hear more of the party and not him. Who cares about him? I don’t. But I do care where this party is leading those who believe in it. Do better next time. This whole thing annoyed me no end.

  4. I live with a Romanian and have 4 living next door and they are all lovely,like you say every party has idiots so does every country and you appear to be one… I used to agree with some things you say Nigel but it looks like I will have to become a non-voter as it would seem every one is just out for them self’s !!!

  5. could you do 3 surveys for all future posts….it will help you and inform us readers:
    1) what do you think of the person/event being described? on a scale of 1-4 (despicable – fantastic)
    2) how balanced and fair was the article? on a scale of 1-4 (very biased – extremely fair)
    3) is this the type of issue you want us to find and comment on? Yes/No
    4) what subject would you like us to cover? provide a box to describe this.

  6. Farage is brilliant at getting publicity (where are the Greens ????) and while he has faults at last he – so far – does not behave like the other parties and speak unbelievable waffle.

  7. It is about time that the Left realised that they can’t control people anymore, we are sick of being treated like mugs over Europe. Apparently to even suggest that we should be able to control our borders and prevent our infrastructure and services from going into meltdown is some kind of racism. iI doubt if you post this anyway as you only seem to want plaudits not brickbats.

  8. The BBC’s Nick Robinson does not come across as a professional journalist, but as a sycophant. LBC Radio’s James O’Brien, on the other hand, comes across as intelligent, fearless and impartial. I admire his treatment of Farage. I must listen to more of O’Brien’s work. Thanks for highlighting him.

  9. Pingback: Nigel Farage Taken Apart in Landmark LBC Radio ...

  10. O’brian shows his ignorance by continually butting in and not allowing Farage to answer the questions. It is a disgraceful interview technique which is common for anyone who does not want to hear the truth but slant it by denying a full answer.

    • I couldn’t agree more. The attacks against Farage were all personalised nothing to do with the big issues of mass immigration EU diktats or Muslim extremism!!
      O’Brien comes across as a typical arrogant left-wing journalist.

    • oh George! You can’t be serious?! And denial is a disgraceful technique which is common for half-wits who do not want to hear the truth,.

  11. Only thing is (I live in Glos so I know), John Sullivan is not a councillor. Fortunately he lost the election last year. But as well as his homophobia he links on his FB to neo-Nazi US sites such as White Rabbit Radio and some of his posts make him sound like a disturbing sex pest as well.

  12. It’s a travesty that more interviews such as this (that are made memorable because of the skill and erudition of the interviewer rather than the natural outspokenness of the interviewee) do not occur.

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