A piece published online by the Telegraph a couple of hours ago:
The Reform Party leader is stepping back after almost three decades. But he’s still got the woke brigade in his crosshairs
Brexit is done – and so is Nigel Farage. The former leader of the UK Independence Party and the Brexit Party, credited even by his sharpest critics as the most influential politician of the past two decades, has finally quit politics. And this time it is for good.
In an interview with this weekend’s Chopper’s Politics podcast, which you can listen to on the audio player above, Mr Farage announces he is resigning as leader of the Reform Party and turning his back on politics after three decades of political street fighting.
He says: “There is no going back – Brexit is done. That won’t be reversed. I know I’ve come back once or twice when people thought I’d gone, but this is it. It’s done. It’s over.”
Mr Farage famously quit after the 2016 referendum, saying “I want my life back”, but then reformed the Brexit Party two years later in 2018 to exploit disaffection with the way the Government was handling the Brexit negotiations.He adds: “Now’s the moment for me to say I’ve knocked on my last door. I’m going to step down as the leader of Reform UK. I’ll have no executive position at all. I’m quite happy to have an honorary one, but party politics, campaigning, being involved in elections, that is now over for me because I’ve achieved the one thing I set out to do: to achieve the independence of the UK.”
The 56-year-old insists that he had no plans to retire, saying: “I’m not packing up. I’m not off to play golf four afternoons a week and have half a bitter afterwards. That’s not happening.” Instead, he will be trying to influence the national debate on China’s influence in the UK and the battles over the so-called culture wars.
He says he wants to “do battle” on two “very big” issues: “One is the extent to which the Chinese Communist Party is taking over our lives and certainly has undue influence in our country. And the other thing [is] the ‘woke agenda’ – literally the indoctrination of our children from primary school all the way through university with now a completely different interpretation of history.
“I see our communities being divided more than ever by this agenda. And I’m very worried about it. I want to fight all those things.
“I have built up over these years quite a considerable social media platform. I’ve got reach. So I want to go on influencing the debate. I want to go on changing debate. But I can do that without going out and fighting elections.”
Mr Farage tells the podcast he will not miss running “an insurgent anti-establishment group” and having to raise money and discipline candidates and supporters. He likens running Ukip to the bitter Zoom meeting held by Handforth Parish Council, which went viral in January after millions marvelled at the way parish council convenor clerk Jackie Weaver took control of a rowdy meeting in Cheshire.
He says: “It was like that in Ukip every month, but 25 years with the NEC. But just the aggro dealing with it. I had to deal with that [and] with a very hostile media.”
Asked what advice he would give to other new parties, he says: “The greatest quality politically that you need to lead an insurgent party is patience. You have to wait for the right moment.”
He adds: “You’ve got to bide your time, and you’ve just got somehow to be impervious to all the criticism. The really difficult bit is the way that it affects those close to you, your family, your children.”
Mr Farage pays tribute to the late Sunday Telegraph columnist Christopher Booker for telling him in 1999 the morning after he was first elected to the European Parliament that “you must decide today whether you’re in politics because you want to do things or whether you’re in politics because you want to be somebody”.
He says it has been an “honour” to lead Ukip as it eventually put enough pressure on David Cameron to call the EU referendum in 2016.
“Brexit was a grassroots rebellion and it was my honour to lead those grassroots. Without a single person of real influence in this country advocating leaving the EU, we still got to the stage when a referendum was called. And that is a remarkable thing.”
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