Farage draws a packed crowd for his Brexit campaign appearance in Barnsley
Nigel Farage may have produced few political surprises when his campaign trail took him to the stage of Highstone Road working men’s club in the former mining community of Worsbrough Common.
He left that task to the audience, which obliged by turning out in force for a political rally in numbers which would have been unthinkable before David Cameraon’s referendum on leaving the EU.
For a working class district which has been staunchly Labour for longer than anyone can remember, the gathering of more than 250 people at an anonymous venue illustrated a remarkable about turn in the town’s political complexion.
Names of Labour politicians who might well have been idolised by a Worsbrough Common crowd just a few years ago were treated with derision by the Brexit party supporters who crammed a room more familiar with hosting bingo sessions than national political figures.
He didn’t need to do so, but Farage immediately put himself on safe ground by name-checking local boy made good Paul Sykes, the scrap-buses-to-Meadowhall tycoon who has made no secret of his stance on Europe.
Sykes grew up in the area and lived within ten minutes walk of the club where Farage spoke, before decanting to North Yorkshire, but he remains a warmly regarded figure in the area.
Farage told the crowd: “Paul Sykes has been a massive, massive supporter of all I have done; and he can be bloody minded when he wants to be.”
The message from Farage was that Barnsley voters who opted to leave the EU had been let down by the Labour party which until recently had a vice-like grip on the instincts of the population.
“It is clear what we voted for, to run our own lives and control our own borders. It really wasn’t very difficult,” he said, following a warm-up by candidates in four Yorkshire seats, but not Brexit’s candidates for the Barnsley Central constituency, Coun Victoria Felton, and Barnsley East, Jim Ferguson.
Both were present for the rally, however.
He went on to describe Theresa May – not by name – as “the worst prime minister in British history” and took Brexit party credit for her departure.
“What you are being told by Labour if you vote for them you will get a second referendum because you didn’t get it right first time, you stupid little people.
“That is what they are saying to you, isn’t it?
“I think it is fair to say the Labour party have betrayed communities like this,” he said.