It was slightly disappointing that Nigel Farage declined the challenge to a duel with swords issued by the Polish Prince Janek Zylinski, over the (inaccurately) perceived insult to Poles in his remarks about immigration. The best response would have been for Nigel to accept the challenge and appoint James Delingpole and me as his seconds at the proposed dawn encounter in Hyde Park.
In the ideal scenario, Jeremy Clarkson could have been the umpire of the duel which would have ended with a minor scratch satisfying honour on both sides followed, in the finest traditions of duelling, by an incontinently alcoholic breakfast for all parties involved. Some UKIP supporters have been sufficiently misguided to post rather sour, ungracious attacks on Prince Zylinski online, simply because he has challenged the only politician in whom genuine Britons repose any confidence today.
They have missed the point. The point is that a duel is the most gloriously politically incorrect event that could be conceived of. For a start, it breaches every elfin-safety precept that was ever confected by a calorifically challenged local authority PC harridan dressed in black, with cropped hair and dangly earrings. A duel is traditional, elitist, masculine, militarist – what’s not to like?
The fact that somebody has had the chutzpah to inject a swashbuckling element into this unspeakably boring election campaign in which the stale, discredited liars from the legacy parties are rehearsing limp falsehoods we all see through and despise is a matter for celebration. Instead of vilifying Prince Zylinski, UKIP supporters should recognise him as a man embodying, albeit from a Polish perspective, the essential values they themselves endorse. His father led a successful cavalry charge against German troops in 1939: that is in the same heroic mould as the Dambusters and all the other British legends of World War II.
Granted that the Prince’s challenge smacks of publicity seeking, at least he had the grace to refer to Nigel Farage as “an English gentleman”, which is a considerably more courteous terminology than the UKIP leader’s English opponents have been accustomed to employ. Both the Prince and Mr Farage are clearly good eggs, so at first sight it is frustrating to see them at daggers drawn (literally) when they are surrounded by bad eggs. Why could Prince Zylinski not challenge one of the leaders of the legacy parties?
Of course, after a moment’s reflection, the answer is self-evident. The timeless laws of duelling dictate that this form of quarrel resolution is restricted to gentlemen and since none of the legacy party leaders qualifies under that description, only Nigel Farage was eligible for impalement on the sabre of a Polish nobleman.
There is, buried in all this rococo flummery, a serious message for UKIP policy makers. The party, which is the only one to represent British concerns about out-of-control immigration, has understandably emphasised its opposition to unrestricted inward traffic from the EU. This has helpfully complemented its main platform of withdrawal from the European Union, but it has also been used by UKIP to counter the predictable, gramophone-record charges of “racism” routinely levelled against it by the legacy parties and complicit mainstream media.
The equation is straightforward: EU migrants are white so, in trying to reduce their numbers, we cannot be accused of racism, was the UKIP argument. Yes, fair enough. But the danger for UKIP is that, in seeming to take a more relaxed view of non-EU migration, which is the area in which jihadist and similar concerns arise, the party may be seen as targeting one part of the problem rather than the whole.
Of course Prince Zylinski is completely wrongheaded in imagining that Farage insulted the Poles: he did not. Polish migrants, who tend to work hard and return home, are the least threatening of all visitors to our shores. The large numbers of Polish girls who have worked in cafes, restaurants and other hospitality outlets are not only extraordinarily easy on the eye (please let that throwaway remark give some neurotic feminist harridan a seizure), but good at their jobs.
The hard-riding cavalry background which was the heritage of Prince Zylinski’s father is a reminder that Poland once saved Europe and delivered the biggest ever body blow to the religion of peace, in 1683, when King John Sobieski destroyed the Turkish forces at the gates of Vienna. That event is worth remembering, to recall exactly who, in the unchanging cultural confrontation of history, are our friends and who are our unrelenting foes.
In any case, this incident has provided welcome light relief in a general election campaign whose intellectual dishonesty marks the high watermark of the fast-dissolving PC consensus. On second thoughts, Nigel Farage should accept the challenge to a duel, but on his own terms: it should be a drinking competition, with the honest English Yard of Ale prominently featured. In that event, Delingpole and I must definitely be called upon to act as seconds – no excuses accepted.