“All political lives, unless they are cut off in midstream at a happy juncture, end in failure, because that is the nature of politics and of human affairs.” Enoch Powell's majestic generalization has few exceptions. Nigel Farage's is outstanding. He has just stood down from the leadership of the United Kingdom Independence Party, having led it to the stunning victory of the LEAVE campaign. UKIP, a fringe group that nobody took seriously when he took it over, has advanced to the point when it led all other British parties in the 2014 European Elections and then frightened David Cameron into promising a referendum on British membership of the EU. He called it and lost.
Only a constant observer of British politics can have registered the unending stream of contempt, derision, vilification, and hatred that Farage endured over the years. A singleinstance: “the Conservative Party will have to choose between the interests of the nation, and the politics of the public bar.” That was Matthew D'Ancona, a former editor of the Spectator. Only the other day a Lefty was frothing with outrage on TV at the UKIP poster, which depicted the famous drone shot of migrants in column of march with the caption BREAKING POINT. That was a good, hard-hitting campaign poster. To the Left it was a betrayal of the human race.
It is given to very few to say that they have changed history. Farage did. UKIP was less a party than a movement, which owed everything to the personality of one man who converted a nation to his way of thinking. You can see that personality in action in his final speech to the EU Parliament: “You're not laughing now.” There is principle, and there is also, and always, human beings in their raw or cooked state. David Cameron made the most unwise statement of his political life when he dismissed UKIP, on TV, as being composed of “Loonies, fruitcakes, and closet racists.” He is now slain, while his opponent—who will not throw back those words at his defeated adversary—walks away with honor from his self-allotted task. The full-page advertisement in the Telegraph that LEAVE.UK placed in the aftermath of victory, thanking Nigel Farage, cited that noble quotation from Theodore Roosevelt, “It is not the critic who counts . . . ” Nigel Farage has won, and a nation should doff its cap to him. He moved the points of the rail, and the nation now travels in a different direction.
Ralph Berry writes from England.