Nigel Farage urges Ukip not to abandon radical roots
In a speech to the anti-Brussels party’s spring conference, the former leader insisted that “guts” and readiness to “speak the unspeakable” had powered his People’s Army to become the national political force that played a crucial role in winning the referendum vote to leave the EU.
But he warned that some senior Ukip figures wanted to move towards “mainstream” politics.
Mr Farage said: “Ukip is a radical party or it is nothing."
He was given a warm standing ovation from party delegates after insisting that that millions of voters around the world were becoming more radical since the Brexit vote and the election of Donald Trump.
Ukip is a radical party or it is nothing
Mr Farage’s speech was seen as a swipe at some of his rivals in the party unhappy about his recent enthusiasm for the new US President.
In his speech, the former Ukip leader said: “This party succeeded because we were prepared to think the unthinkable – this party succeeded because we were prepared to speak the unspeakable.
“This party succeeded because we had guts, we had passion, we were brave and we were unafraid of criticism.”
“Now I sense that there are too many people in Ukip whose jobs and positions have come directly as a result of that bold strategy who are now urging Ukip to become mainstream.”
He warned that some senior Ukip figures wanted to move towards “mainstream” politics
“Now, I understand this. It’s nice to be popular, it’s good to get invited to all the right social set parties in London, and I guess it is easier in life to be thought of as nice rather than one of those unpleasant populists.
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“But this attitude, folks, is not Ukip. Ukip is a radical party, or it is nothing.
“We need to be leading the political conversation, not trying to sound like all the rest.”
Mr Farage said the Labour Party was “miles” away from the working class people they are supposed to represent.
But Ukip will not win their votes by moving to the mainstream centre.
Mr Farage was given a standing ovation after insisting millions of voters were becoming more radical
He said: “Just look what Trump did in the mid-West of America to pick up Democrat voters and non-voters.
“He didn’t do it by tacking to the Left – he did it by being clear, and whether the people agree with the whole of his platform or not, that was enough to win the votes in those key swing states.
“And I believe it’s the same for Ukip in the Midlands, the North, and parts of south Wales.
“We must not change our policy. We must be seen to be those that fight against political correctness.
“We must be seen as the party that’s moving on the national debate the whole time.”
He insisted that 2016 had been a year of political revolution but he upheaval was not a “blip”
His remarks come just a week before the public vote in the Stoke Central by-election, which Ukip leader Paul Nuttall is standing in.
And they suggest Ukip is divided over what strategy to adopt to woo working class voters disillusioned with the Labour Party under Jeremy Corbyn.
Mr Farage also said there has been a fundamental “change in public attitudes” towards politicians and the media, and people care more about their national identity than promises about the economy.
He insisted that 2016 had been a year of political revolution but he upheaval was not a “blip”, he said.
Mr Farage added: “I have to tell you I am now absolutely certain that the political revolution of 2016 was actually just the beginning of something very much bigger that is going to happen across the entire Western world.
Nigel Farage in pictures
Thu, December 15, 2016
Nigel Farage is a British politician who has been the leader of the UK Independence Party since October 2016.
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British politician Nigel Farage arrives at Trump Tower on December 15, 2016 in New York City. President-elect Donald Trump and his transition team are in the process of filling cabinet and other high level positions for the new administration.
“The change in public attitudes towards politics, towards the political class, towards large sections of our establishment liberal media – those changes in attitudes are absolutely fundamental.
“Far from receding, they are growing with every month that goes by.”
Mr Farage added: “People aren’t interested in arguments about the economy, in arguments about growth, in arguments politicians make about jobs.
“They’re not interested – because they simply don’t believe what they are being told.”
People now cared most about national identity and their own communities.
He said: “People in this country and across the West are beginning to see immigration as a far bigger issue than they even saw it during the referendum campaign last year. None of this is going away.”