The results of the historic Brexit vote are in: Britain has voted to leave the European Union. And everyone is stunned — including, apparently, United Kingdom Independence Party leader Nigel Farage, who was the main driving force behind the pro-Brexit movement.
At least, I’m hoping he was stunned, and that’s the reason he made the shockingly tasteless remark that the "Leave" campaign won the vote "without a single bullet being fired."
Coming mere days after the horrific murder (by bullet, as well as a knife) of the young British member of Parliament Jo Cox — by a man who early indications suggest may have been motivated by Cox’s pro-immigrant and anti-Brexit stance — Farage’s "victory speech" is beyond the pale.
One hopes it was nothing more than an unfortunate but innocent gaffe on Farage’s part. Given Farage’s many other disrespectful, inflammatory, and outright racist statements, however, one fears this reference to a bullet being fired was anything but innocent.
Either way, if the past is any guide, Farage may well decide, now that the British press and social media are skewering him for his "crass" statement, that blaming his choice of words on his being stunned or tired after a long night of poll watching may be good idea.
After all, the best demagogues know that one of the most important skills to have is the ability to play off your most offensive and outrageous statements as having been nothing more than mere slips of the tongue or unfair misinterpretations by the media should the backlash against your statements get a little too hot.
But while I’m also pretty stunned and tired after a long night of Brexit poll watching, I’m not sure I’m quite tired enough to truly convince myself that Farage’s statement was an innocent mistake.