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Sunday, December 11, 2016

Farage confirms that UKIP was his vanity project

The Guardian reports on a remarkable interview with former UKIP leader, Nigel Farage in which he tells the paper that he is relieved to no longer be Ukip leader because it had meant “having to deal with low-grade people every day”. He further confirms his status as a man-of-the-people and champion of the working class by claiming that his £85,000-a-year salary had left him “poor” compared with his City banker friends:

Farage said he now has global ambitions beyond the Eurosceptic party, including negotiating trade deals with the US president-elect, Donald Trump, and finding a solution to the Middle East conflict.

The MEP, who also hinted he will attempt to make his eighth bid for a seat in parliament despite seven unsuccessful runs, said he was happy to continue to be a public face while Ukip’s new leader, Paul Nuttall, ran the party.

“I am having a great time,” he said. “I am not having to deal with low-grade people every day. I am not responsible for what our branch secretary in Lower Slaughter said half-cut on Twitter last night – that isn’t my fault any more. I don’t have to go to eight-hour party executive meetings.

“I don’t have to spend my life dealing with people I would never have a drink with, who I would never employ and who use me as a vehicle for their own self-promotion. There are a lot of great people in Ukip. The problem is that Ukip has become a bit like the other parties: people view it as a means to get elected.”

Farage said his years as Ukip leader had meant he had sacrificed much of his earning potential. “I have no regrets about being poor,” he said of his MEP’s salary. “I don’t drive smart cars, I don’t go on fancy holidays. All my money has gone on my kids’ education.”

Has there ever been a greater example of hubris on the part of a former party leader? The man appears to think he is some kind of political messiah.

There is no doubt of course that without Farage, UKIP is a busted flush, but that does not qualify him for a wider role on the world stage, where he has no experience whatsoever and where he would prove an even bigger embarrassment than Boris Johnson.

Farage obviously considers UKIP to have been his own personal vanity project. There is an element of truth in that view. That he thinks he can remain the public face of a party, which has elected a successor-Leader is going to be a source of conflict (and entertainment for us) for some time to come.
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