Richard Madeley

Nigel Farage wants to be crowned king of the Tories

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One reason Nigel Farage is currently making such a successful Jungle Jim is because he doesn’t duck a discussion or swerve a question. Camp-mates – and viewers – may not like what he says, but they appreciate the direct response. It makes a change from most politicians. It doesn’t matter what question you ask them: if they can dodge it, they will. It’s almost a reflex and it drives me potty when I’m co-hosting Good Morning Britain.

Me: ‘What’s the weather doing where you are, minister?’

Minister: ‘I want to pay tribute to the work of the Met Office. Without these skilled men and wom…’

Me: ‘I just want to know what the weather’s like there.’

Minister: ‘Please allow me to finish. As I was saying, the Met Office does excellent work with its…’ 

And so on, until the clock runs out. Farage will just stick his head out of the window and tell you if it’s raining or not. He’ll happily bare all, be it his buttocks or his thoughts. I think he worked out, long before going into the jungle, that the remorselessly recording cameras and permanently unmuted microphones would rapidly reveal any artifice or pretence. So he doesn’t try. He’s even open with his calculations over how much extra airtime he’ll get if he’s made to do a trial – and hence about his disappointment that he’s not been chosen to do more of them, however disgusting.

I know from my own time on I’m A Celebrity a couple of years ago that hunger is a big factor in affecting behaviour. My son-in-law James Haskell, the rugby player, was doing well during his spell in the jungle until ‘hanger’ got the better of him and he blew up by the campfire. That was him voted out. But here, too, Farage has (so far) displayed impressive self-control.

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