For well over a decade, Nigel Farage was the face of Britain’s eurosceptic movement and, as such, of the entire eurosceptic movement in Europe. Although he failed to win a seat for himself in the British Parliament, he did guide UKIP to great election victories in elections for the European Parliament. And, of course, he was vital in a) bringing about a referendum on Brexit and b) making sure the Leave campaign won.
Last year, Farage stepped down as UKIP’s leader. His absence caused a leadership struggle in the party. In the end, it was UKIP MEP Paul Nuttall who was selected to lead UKIP heading into the British elections. The results were a disaster: the party was wiped out.
As a result, Nuttall resigned. Candidates to succeed him have until the end of July to throw their hat in the ring.
Many people have been lobbying Farage to come back. I know I have. There are few politicians — if any — in Britain with his charisma and leadership abilities. Sure, the man has also failed on numerous occasions, but overall, UKIP couldn’t possibly wish for a better leader. Sadly, Farage has announced that he’s not interested in the job:
While many have been lobbying me and urging me to come back, I have decided that this would not be the right thing to do and I will not be standing. While I remain a strong supporter of the party and think there is a real chance in two years that Ukip may be more relevant than ever, the party itself needs serious reforms.
Farage’s main problem is that UKIP is run by an elected National Executive Committee (NEC). This body is, sadly, occupied by rank amateurs. They’re passionate and enthusiastic, but they have no idea how to run campaigns, play the media, or raise money. As the leader, Farage felt that this governing body of the party was holding him back. “Time and again I was outvoted on important decisions and could not take the party in the direction I wanted,” he writes. He concludes:
The thought of going back to a job I may not be allowed to do, if, again, I’m held back by totally unqualified people is not something I’m prepared to contemplate. I hope the new leader takes on the battle for major constitutional change or the party will return to being an amateur shambles.
Although political watchers can sympathize with Farage, he leaves behind a party that’s in shambles and that desperately needs a leader — a leader like Farage. Sadly, if the man himself doesn’t step up to the plate, there’s nobody with his gravitas to replace him. Nuttall tried but failed. His successor will undoubtedly suffer the same fate. There’s nobody else in UKIP with Farage’s political acumen and charisma.
And that means that the end of UKIP as a political player is in sight, which would be a terrible loss not only for Britain itself but also for the rest of Europe, which desperately needs eurosceptic parties — parties that put Brussels’ feet to the fire and warn the citizenry about the secret power grabs of the European elites.