Farage: ‘Getting Our Entire Country Back on Track’ Much Bigger Than Brexit

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Anti-Brexit campaigner Nigel Farage, and former leader of the Reform UK political party, speaks during a press conference in central London on March 20, 2023. (Photo by Daniel LEAL / AFP) (Photo by DANIEL LEAL/AFP via Getty Images)

While UKIP and then the Brexit Party fought hard to win and safeguard the 2016 referendum the much bigger task of fixing the UK’s broken institutions and changing the priorities of the political class is just beginning, ‘Mr. Brexit’ Nigel Farage said.

Speaking at a semi-launch of the Reform UK party’s 2024 general election campaign in which several former Brexit Party Members of the European Parliament — including long-time Conservative MP and Brexit maverick Anne Widdecombe — announced they would be backing the party, Brexit leader Farage underlined the scale of the challenge ahead.

Stating “Brexit wasn’t just about leaving the European Union, it was about a new, different kind of politics in this country, inside reformed institutions”, Farage said there was now a “political gap” in the United Kingdom. This, the speakers at Monday’s launch made clear, was in part thanks to indistinguishable establishment parties offering the same policies with slightly divergent branding.

Fixing the United Kingdom is set to be a herculean task, the Brexit frontman warned, making clear it would be a considerably larger task than just Brexit itself, a process that has already exhausted, divided, and broken the British establishment-right. Reflecting on the idea that the Brexit vote itself was once seen as an impossible ambition but was made possible by hard campaigning and by bringing the British people onboard, Farage said another mountain had to be climbed.

The veteran campaigner told journalists and campaigners in London on Monday:

…three and a half years on Brexit has not been completed, we’re still under the jurisdiction of a foreign court in Strasbourg, our borders are as open as they have literally ever been, we have a high-tax, big-state, low-growth, low-productivity society, and our public services are fundamentally broken… We’re much at the juncture we were exactly ten years ago.

Exactly ten years ago UKIP was mainly considered to be pretty much a fringe party… and actually, as it became clear to the electorate that the differences between Labour, the Conservatives, and the Lib-Dems were almost non-existent that it was in 2013 that UKIP began to rise. And, like it or not, have a significant effect on the shape of British politics.

The job for Reform is even bigger than the task that was faced by UKIP. Our task was a simple one, to achieve and help win a referendum. This is about getting our entire country back on track, changing the priorities of our government and opposition.

While Farage praised Reform UK leader Richard Tice for taking this work forward, he made it clear that he’d not be getting closely involved himself, saying his role was “honorary and advisory”. Referring to his several attempts to step back from front-line politics and enjoy something like a retirement, Farage said “I’ve managed to get my life back… I didn’t want to re-enter the fray”.

Reform UK has said it will challenge every UK constituency seat at the news parliamentary elections, likely to take place in late 2024. While critics have said the Reform UK party standing everywhere will do nothing but damage the legacy Conservative Party, figures like Farage and Tice have made clear destroying the party is a key objective, given the illusion of conservative governance while actually governing like liberals is one of the roadblocks to fixing the country.

The Conservatives, for their part, hit back at Farage’s claims Monday, claiming that PM Rishi Sunak’s new Brexit deal would solve some of the problems Farage identifies, saying — per The Telegraph — that “We think this delivers on fixing the longstanding problems”.

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