Controversial UKIP MEP Nigel Farage is campaigning to take the UK out of the European Union. The 41-year-old hit the headlines by tabling a motion of 'No Confidence' against the entire Commission. He lost, but the point was made. UP Front dragged him down the pub to talk about smoking, football, the fairer sex, beer and, er, a bit of politics…
UP Front: So what's with the pipe, Nigel?
Farage: The pipe is merely an anti-cigarette device. I was a monster smoker. Since I was eighteen I was doing 50-a-day, 60-a-day, every day. No mucking about - a proper smoker for 23 years. If this conversion to the occasional bowl of tobacco with a pint of beer is a way of dealing with it then that can't be a bad thing. I am violently opposed to banning smoking in public places. If the governor of the Dog and Duck declares it a smoking pub, then that's what it bloody well should be. If people don't like it, they should sod off.
UP Front: Alright, here's one. You're not American yet you call football 'soccer'. Why's that?
Farage: Its real name is association football. When I was at school it was all rugby football. I was dragged up this way. I remember that the school notice board used to say what the football team was. And the football team was, in fact, the rugby team. Even then I thought it was a bit bizarre! It was compulsory to play rugby and I was absolutely bloody useless at it. But we often used to bunk off down the road to Crystal Palace to watch the soccer team.
UP Front: Can you tell me Palace's nickname?
Farage: Oh dear, I don't think I can... [He can't]
UP Front: So, should women play soccer?
Farage: Here's the bigger question. Do we think, chaps, when we're there in the front line, when the balloon goes up, with fixed bayonets, when the whistle's about to blow to go over the top, do we actually want to be there with women beside us? [Fat Boy's barman shouts out: 'Yes!' Nigel is horror-struck.] Do we? What an extraordinarily bizarre idea! I certainly don't think so. But maybe it's because I've got so many women pregnant over the years that I have a different view [there are four kids "on the official list"]. I find it very difficult to think that we could stand up and run over the top together, into the machine guns or whatever. Men and women are different - thank God!
UP Front: What do you think of your UKIP colleague Godfrey Bloom's comment about women workers?
Farage: Dear old Godders! Godfrey's comment that 'no employer with a brain in the right place would employ a young, single, free woman' has been proved so right. With this lunacy, that if you have children you get three months paid leave off work, or six months paid leave off work - he absolutely got it spot on.
His comments get to the absolute heart of the problem of the EU. Social policy against employment policy...that's why there are over 20 million unemployed in the EU.
UP Front: Alright then, what do you think Mrs Bloom thought of Godfrey's comment about Yorkshire women not cleaning behind the fridge enough?
Farage: Oh, Mrs B wouldn't have been a big fan of that. The great delight of Godfrey is that he's the classic hen-pecked husband. That's why those of us who know him found it even funnier. Vote for Godfrey - he's more useless than Farage! [Thinks] He once played Princess Anne at tennis, you know.
UP Front: Really? How would YOU beat Princess Anne at tennis?
Farage: Get her in the bar first. I'd drink her under the table then go out and beat her. [There goes the Knighthood...]
UP Front: We'd better not say anymore on that. How do you cap the last year politically?
Farage: Difficult, because the early months of a parliament are the most important. It's all settled down. My job now is to find fresh scandals. Every one of the buggers who wants to destroy my nation is a target.
The agenda will come back because of the sheer incompetence of our 25 governors in the EU [the Commission]. They will make stupid mistakes, they will do ludicrous things, and our time will come again. I said last year "Would you buy a used car from this Commission?" The answer is 'No'.
UP Front: OK, stop banging on Nigel. Name your favourite bar in Brussels?
Farage: I love proper English pubs. I'm a monster fan of real ale…but Brussels bars? That's a tough one as there's nothing worth drinking here. Tell you what, make me the governor of an English pub in Brussels and it'll be mobbed every night! We'll sell more real ale than any pub in London. I'd be the top landlord in Brussels. This interview has convinced me!
Watch this space...