NIGEL Farage is trying to draw the line on a new culture war - and this time he is content to literally let the planet burn for his own gain.

The former UKIP leader is no novice when it comes to starting and running a campaign from the political sidelines, and the success of getting Brexit over the line has galvanised him into taking on a new lefty-villain - the climate crisis and bid for Net Zero.

Never mind the science, Farage has a particular crowd to play to - the Tory fringe and the far-right.

So why is Farage suddenly so interested in a referendum on Net Zero, and is there anything in his Brexit campaigning language that gives any clues?

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Who is the referendum on Net Zero bid aimed at?

The same with Brexit - Farage is playing to the hard-right of the Tory party and at the same time those in society who feel disenfranchised by those in power.

The headline of his Mail on Sunday piece fires at “Net Zero zealots” and “elitists” - you don’t even have to go back as far as 2016 to see Farage levelling the phrase “political elites” at the EU, and subsequently, the Tory UK Government for not bringing in Brexit fast enough.

With energy bills rising, the public is already feeling the pinch on their finances, and Farage has leapt on the moment to try and sow further division. He sets out his pitch succinctly in one sentence: “If we are not careful, the only zero will be the amount in people’s bank accounts as we send our jobs and money overseas.”

The National:

Why Net Zero?

The Tory fringe have been rumbling about climate change policies in the background for a while, and it’s no coincidence that there’s another party within a party group - like the European Research Group (ERG) - whose members are publicly spouting anti-Net Zero claims.

The Net Zero Scrutiny Group (NZSG) is reportedly made up of around 19 Tory MPs, and links to the lobby firm Global Warming Policy Foundation - which campaigns against policies to mitigate climate change - have been established by The Guardian.

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Farage has spotted an opportunity to pull influence here once again. The UK Government and front bench ministers, despite watered down commitments at COP26, have made pledges to reach Net Zero by 2050, and it was part of the Conservative’s manifesto promises in 2019.

Instead of pushing them to go faster for the good of the planet, Farage has stuck a trillion-dollar price tag on it and is attempting to spread fear and fury amongst the public. And let's not forget that the PM is dependent on his backbenchers - who likely populate these groups - to keep him in power.

The National:

How does this link to his Brexit campaign?

As noted above, Farage as a politician has a way of using language to stoke the fire and create division. He is again using similar language in his Mail on Sunday piece to establish a line between the public and the “elites”, as if there isn’t widespread support for Net Zero policies by the UK public, according to a poll from October last year.

Farage himself is connecting the two, as he wrote in the Mail: “Even though many privately knew it was an ill-thought-through aim, it has since become an article of faith among most MPs, with the mainstream media following obediently behind.

“The same high-minded principles that pertained to Britain’s membership of the EU apply to Net Zero.”

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The National:

Why now?

It’s not clear why Farage has chosen now to launch his next referendum bid, we could speculate that flailing ratings on his GB News programme have made him desperate for relevance and to be front and centre of the public eye once again.

It could be that he is keen to move the conversation away from his former admiration of Putin, lamenting that oligarchs had their assets seized or any perceived links between Russia, Brexit and Vote Leave.

Either way, Farage has proven himself once again to be without conscience and that he will create division for the sake of a few headlines, and potentially whatever his dark money sponsors tell him to. Let's hope the public won't fall for it this time.