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Nigel Farage: Marine Le Pen’s economics would be ‘a disaster’ for France

Farage has previously expressed support for Le Pen and her party. Credit: Getty

July 1, 2024 - 7:00am

Nigel Farage has claimed that the economic policies of Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National (RN) would be a “disaster” if enacted in France. Speaking exclusively to UnHerd yesterday after a Reform UK rally in Birmingham reportedly attended by 4,500 people, the party leader said that the RN will be “even worse for the economy than the current lot”. His comments were made ahead of results yesterday evening from the first round of France’s snap parliamentary elections, which projected a significant victory for the RN.

Farage has previously expressed support for Le Pen, writing that, while her “party’s roots were deep in Vichy” and “antisemitism was embedded in its DNA”, she is a “sincere Eurosceptic”. He added in the 2017 piece that Le Pen “would make a good leader of France”.

Earlier this week, the Bank of England warned in its June Financial Stability Report that an RN election victory would threaten global financial stability and have a damaging effect on the British economy. This followed fears among economists that Le Pen’s policy proposals, including low taxation and extensive spending, would significantly worsen France’s ongoing debt crisis. The country’s current Finance Minister, Bruno Le Maire, suggested that France could face a “Liz Truss-style scenario” if the RN were to reach power, while economists have argued that the European Central Bank would be unlikely to intervene in the event of a full-blown French financial crisis.

RN President Jordan Bardella claimed earlier this month that the party would be willing to cut €3 billion from France’s payments to the European Union, arguing that “the less we give to the EU, the more we can forward money to the real French economy”.

In additional comments to UnHerd, Nigel Farage cited Giorgia Meloni as an example of a Right-wing leader in Europe from whom Reform could learn. “She’s brought her party [Brothers of Italy] into the 21st century,” he said. “Some of the more radical Italians might not like it, but she’s been a very good thing and she’s made her party electable.”

The Reform leader addressed the crowd yesterday at Birmingham’s National Exhibition Centre, alongside speakers including party chairman and former leader Richard Tice and Reform’s Immigration and Justice spokesperson, onetime Conservative MP Ann Widdecombe. In his speech, Farage accused Prime Minister Rishi Sunak of being “slippery” and the “biggest spinner since Blair”, stating that the Tories “are a broad church without any religion”.

Farage also tackled recent controversies involving himself and Reform, labelling Vladimir Putin’s Russia “a brutal dictatorship” after recent criticism over his suggestion that the West contributed to provoking the Ukraine war. On the subject of Andrew Parker, the Reform canvasser secretly filmed by Channel 4 using racial slurs against the Prime Minister, Farage called the news report “the biggest put-up job I’ve seen in my life”, and accused Parker of being a paid actor who had tried to goad actual campaigners into making offensive statements.


is UnHerd’s Deputy Editor, Newsroom.

RobLownie

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AC Harper
AC Harper
11 days ago

Will our General Election become known as a member of the Elite Dirty Tricks Scheme of Things? As demonstrated in the USA, France, Germany etc.?

John Riordan
John Riordan
11 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

It might, perhaps, become known as the time we found out that this is what they always do.

Tony Price
Tony Price
11 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

You sound like a South African rugby supporter – never lost a game fairly!

Andrew S
Andrew S
11 days ago
Reply to  AC Harper

I wonder in what abbreviated way we will remember the last 14 years. “Useless Parliaments” seems all too soft. “Wasted 14 years” is neither pithy nor strong enough.
Maybe “Two Pharohs” of poverty and famine Genesis 41:28–32 but to be followed, no doubt by a “Double Pharoh” in which the pain just intensifies.

John Riordan
John Riordan
11 days ago

Odd thing for Farage to say, especially given that the Bank of England has been accused of meddling in a foreign election by saying the same thing. Farage can hardly want to be associated with the architects of technocratic consensus – unless, of course, he’s trying to prove that his own policies wouldn’t cause the same sort of financial meltdown that happened to Truss/Kwarteng in 2022.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
11 days ago
Reply to  John Riordan

I’d like to hear the actual interview rather than rely on a “Farage said” report from a journalist, even an Unherd journalist.
Incidentally the full Birmingham speech is on TCW.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
11 days ago

The Bank of England couldn’t run a bath let alone make accurate forecasts about any economy. It should probably be closed down and the site turned into a Wetherspoon’s. At least it would then provide benefit to some of the public.

Jonathan Andrews
Jonathan Andrews
11 days ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Predicting things is difficult, especially about the future.
The Bank needs to try to make predictions and, much of the time, these have been bourne out. However, it has and always will fail to predict those things that matter; the financial crisis and the recent “transient ” inflation. There is a hubris among economists that makes this inevitable.

Much that I’d love to see a Spoons on the site of the Old Lady, I think it is necessary and even, at times, useful. There does need to be support for banks with liquidity problems and some occasional attempts to remove the punch bowl when the party gets going. Unfortunately, they haven’t done this well. For what it’s worth, I think their ignoring of the asset price bubbles has been a major error.

Andrew S
Andrew S
11 days ago

It would be a good thing if it paid more attention to the past and the present. It failed to recognise the over spending and over borrowing and the ballooning of money supply under Gordon Brown. This was going on for a decade and there were many comments in the press but the BoE didn’t notice. Or not enough to mention the risks to Brown or to set its own policy to handle any fall-out.
Then 2008 happened.
BoE and HMT pumped shed loads of cash into the economy and left it there. When tings settled it should have been neutralised. At no point in the last 25 years did the BoE notice the asset price inflation and wonder what caused it.
They were very slow to raise interest rates when inflaton starrted, as it was bound to do and as serious commentators had forecast. I do not complain about a single month delay but many months. Whatever goes on at the MPC?

John Riordan
John Riordan
11 days ago

Mervyn King’s book about 10 years ago was excellent on this subject. It gives a brief standard history of central banks, including Walter Bagehot’s insights about what central banks should do as the lender of last resort and what they should not, and then argues King’s own variation on this, namely his Pawnbroker for all Seasons theory, which would have the distinction that asset bubbles and hidden risk would be easier to spot by policymakers.

Graham Strugnell
Graham Strugnell
11 days ago

You can’t predict things about the past.

Russell Sharpe
Russell Sharpe
11 days ago

It’s a famous quotation, quite possibly apocryphal, usually ascribed to Niels Bohr, and self-consciously tautologous.

Michael Cazaly
Michael Cazaly
11 days ago
Reply to  Russell Sharpe

“The past is never dead, it isn’t even past”…Faulkner
And predicting its consequences are what the BoE should be doing, and acting appropriately but it does neither.

Jim C
Jim C
11 days ago

A genuinely capitalist economy wouldn’t have a coterie of central planners setting the most important price in the entire economy: the price of money.
They repeatedly have set the price too low, leading to credit booms, which (inevitably) lead to credit busts.
Even this wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t then bail out selected sections of the economy.

Lesley van Reenen
Lesley van Reenen
11 days ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

Remember Mark Carney and Brexit….

William Cameron
William Cameron
11 days ago
Reply to  Michael Cazaly

The Bank of England couldn’t run a Wetherspoons.
It has presided over the greatest theft ever seen in the UK- its cheap money policies have created a huge shift of wealth from ordinary folk to rich asset holders. A wicked and terrible thing.

Adam K
Adam K
11 days ago

Even if that actor was a genuine activist, it would not be right to disavow Reform over that, especially given the horrors that the government have put the British people through. I’m disappointed that Farage has not made more out of the once Clacton Labour candidate who said that he wants to drink white people’s tears. As usual the scumbag mainstream media ignore that.
https://theheritagesite.substack.com

Tyler Durden
Tyler Durden
11 days ago

Yes, a valuable distinction between Signora Meloni’s populism and Marine Le Pen’s neo-Fascist tradition (I would also put Germany’s AFL in the latter category).
In fact while The Spectator is sometimes sceptical of AFL, their little battery of France correspondents have been fostering support for the new Front National.
They should think again- the attitudes that seek complacently to out Labour in power until 2040 could be far more destructive in France which more closely resembles Weimar at this point.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
11 days ago
Reply to  Tyler Durden

You mean AfD, surely? To the best of my knowledge, there’s no AFL party in Germany.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
11 days ago

Perhaps he means NFL. Nonsense anyway.

Vesselina Zaitzeva
Vesselina Zaitzeva
11 days ago
Reply to  Nick Faulks

True. Little knowledge is dangerous.

Stephanie Surface
Stephanie Surface
11 days ago

Just wondered what T. Durden was talking about. The right wing German party was called AfD, after Merkel’s famous words that there is no “Alternative” (für Deutschland) to the Euro. Also the party is not neo-Fascist. He should read their manifesto, which sounds very much like Reform .

Adam K
Adam K
11 days ago

Even if the actor had not of been an actor. It still would not have made sense for people to disavow Reform over it, especially in the context of a Labour candidate who wants to drink the tears of white people. It’s funny that the msm don’t focus on that. https://theheritagesite.substack.com

https://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/farage-clacton-labour-candidate-election-b2562143.html

RA Znayder
RA Znayder
11 days ago

This is exactly what Thomas Fazi predicted in an article last week. When the right party is in power public spending is no problem. Or in fact when the banks and financial manipulators need money – because they screwed up again – the trillions are printed using QE like it’s nothing. But when the wrong people threaten to seriously undermine elites they suddenly pull the austerity trick out again. Of course nobody can indefinitely print money. However, in general financial specialists just do not seem to know what they are talking about. At the end of 2007 public debt was rather low and decreasing. Things looked fine and that is exactly what economists told is. Well, we know how that ended. Japan is another situation where economists have been consistently wrong.

It’s interesting that Farage still seems to follow the neoliberal consensus. What the racial left or right want to achieve can never work with the neoliberal world order still there. You need to break with it.

Martin Layfield
Martin Layfield
11 days ago

He’s the best we have in UK politics. Alas, he’s still a boomer, so we have to take a few howlers on the chin. Of course, the reporting may not be accurate.

R Wright
R Wright
11 days ago

The boomer cannot help but, Cronus style, devour his own.

Martin Layfield
Martin Layfield
11 days ago
Reply to  R Wright

To be fair on Nigel too, he is more immune to the shortcomings of being from the boomeroisie than many others, as shown by his savvy social media campaigning and appeal to zoomers. But even he has limits and can’t wholly break from the truth regime that generation adopted wholesale.

Nick Faulks
Nick Faulks
11 days ago

Where can we see more about these comments made “exclusively to Unherd”?
I wonder whether they have, to be as charitable as possible, been “taken out of context”.

j watson
j watson
11 days ago

Markets seemed a little calmer about Le Pen first thing. She’s not done as well as they feared.
The political class may have a view on Le Pen but the Right runs into difficulty when it starts to contend all the Pink short brigade doing the trading part of some conspiracy too.
As regards our Nige, Unherd increasingly is a Reform publication. the owner is v sympathetic. Hence such brevity in any scrutiny.

Christopher Barclay
Christopher Barclay
11 days ago

The French government budget deficit is set to rise if the RN is denied a majority and instead a left-wing government rules with the support of the Macronista centrists.

Red Reynard
Red Reynard
11 days ago

In which case the ECB will buy up the French debt, thereby securing the ‘right’ government’s stability.

James Kirk
James Kirk
11 days ago

Farage is right but doesn’t clarify. If Reform won our GE the Left, the Civil Service, the HoL would put so many obstacles in the way it would be difficult to govern. Sunak’s problem to date and Le Pen’s starting already. The last time the French had a revolution her surrounding neighbours dreaded the fervour spilling over. Our most likely revolutionaries are far better organised while Uncle Fred waves his stick and grumbles from his armchair.

Citizen Diversity
Citizen Diversity
11 days ago

Ah! Liz Truss, the handy albatross to hang around the neck of any political formation!
And what a strange view about Meloni, the Italian ice cream that melted in the sun of the ECB.
Hasn’t Unherd’s Mr Fazi explained how the bond markets and the ECB will geld the RN?

Mark epperson
Mark epperson
11 days ago

Nigel is on a run!

Claire D
Claire D
10 days ago

Maybe focus on the UK economy and let the French worry about theirs.