This article is an edited transcript of Nigel Farage's speech at the Brexit party rally in London on 21 May.
Do you know we only launched this party five and a half weeks ago. In that space of time we’ve managed to assemble this fantastic team of candidates. We’ve managed to go to the top of the opinion polls in five and a half weeks - that’s not bad, is it? We’ve managed, in five and a half weeks, not just to frighten the establishment. Oh no, they’re not freighted – they’re absolutely terrified.
Perhaps most important of all... What we managed to do in those five and a half weeks since we launched in that factory in Coventry, is we've managed to give millions and millions of people in this country, who were frustrated, upset, angry, on the point of saying that they’d never engage the democratic process again, so sick to death were they at the shenanigans in Westminster... we’ve given them hope, optimism, and belief in their country.
It’s worth reminding ourselves of why we’re here. I can scarcely believe that I’m here. Twenty years I’ve been in that European Parliament, twenty years. Of getting up – one or two of you may have seen the speeches, I don’t know – giving my always helpful, constructive speeches. Oh, I think Van Rompuy [former President of the European Council] rather enjoyed it really.
Twenty years of taking on him and Mr Juncker, and Donald Tusk, Michel Barnier, one more, better than that: Verhofstadt. Twenty years of doing my bit, but twenty years of trying to do myself out of a job. Twenty years of being the turkey who always wanted to vote for Christmas. So I never imagined I would be standing in elections and come to think of it, if you think I’ve given them a tough time over there, what do you think Anne Widdecombe’s going to do when she’s there?
But look, the reason we’re here is very simple. The reason we’re doing this is because after that astonishing referendum, when Project Fear was in full mode, wasn’t it? We had that Chancellor George Osborne, telling us that half a million jobs would go immediately, there would be an emergency budget, taxes would go up, house prices would crash, foreign and direct investment would cease, trade would collapse… plagues of black locusts. We had all that, and then they even shipped in – and they thought this would be their big card, I won’t say Trump card but he did come from America. And he’s called President Obama, remember that. And their leader said we would go to the back of the queue if we voted for Brexit.
We had of course – we were lucky though – lucky in the referendum that we have a state broadcaster in this country. Well I’m sure you’re all delighted paying your £150 a year for the BBC, aren’t you? I mean personally, I’m particularly a fan of the Andrew Marr show. Despite media bias, despite Project Fear, despite it all, we voted for Brexit, and we did so by a large and clear majority of 1.3 million.
Remember David Cameron – do you remember David Cameron? David Cameron told us in that leaflet that went through every door in the land, that our will would be implemented. And then we had a general election in which the Conservative and Labour parties promised us that if we voted for them they would honour the result of the referendum. And 498 members of parliament voted for article 50 and it went into British law, and it said we would leave the European Union on March the… [audience: 29th], on March the… [audience: 29th]. Thank you: we would leave the EU on March 29th with or without a deal. And that became part of British law.
And I have to tell you that I made, without doubt, the biggest political mistake of my life, because I believed it was going to happen. I believed they were going to deliver. I’m sure most of you believed they would deliver, because after all we are supposed to be a democratic country.
And yet, as the months went by, from Mrs May coming back with her Chequers deal, all the way through to her constant rejections by the House of Commons. Oh, and by the way, have you seen what she’s done this afternoon? Just when you think she can’t sink any lower, she comes back and surprises us. I mean now she has surrendered to virtually everything. Surrendered to the Customs Unions, surrendered to single market rules. And if you vote for her deal there is a chance to vote on a second referendum.
If there are any conservatives out there, or any eurosceptics, who believe in the democratic process, who are thinking of voting for May’s Conservatives on Thursday in the European elections - you’ve just been told: 'you are not wanted'. Well, I know where they can go.
I’ve watched this slow-motion betrayal, and I realised as March 29th approached that we simply weren’t going to leave. And I thought to myself, it was unbelievable really, that I have spent 25 years of my life campaigning. I must be the patron saint of lost causes. But I kept on going. And having seen what Parliament was going to do, and make no mistake, both parties here are as guilty as each other, make no doubt about that. Would I allow myself to simply be rolled over by the political process? Or would I stand up and fight? And I decided to stand up and fight. And that is why I founded the Brexit party.
But clearly, not everybody is pleased. I said to you earlier that the establishment is terrified and they cannot believe that we’ve managed to, in the space of five and half weeks, get over 100,000 people to spend £25 online and support the Brexit Party.
They’ve decided to go on an all-out attack. Yesterday we saw Gordon Brown attack the potential financial probity of the Brexit Party. Yeah, that’s right, Gordon Brown attacked our financial probity. This is the man… who told the world the date on which he would do it, and sold 400 metric tonnes of gold at 270 dollars an ounce. Thank you, Gordon Brown for that.
Gordon Brown, along with Tony Blair... I’ll try my best not to get sued for libel here, when, shall we say, an astonishing number of Labour donors went to the House of Lords, and he has the effrontery to attack us for our funding.
Guess what happens. The Electoral Commission announce that they can announce a dawn raid on the offices of the Brexit Party. Let me tell you this for a fact, alright. We have a team of professionally trained accountants looking after the money. We’re not stupid... Last week we met the Electoral Commission and they said our processes were correct, they have no concerns. Indeed, we said to them: would you come into our offices and have a look at our systems? They said no, we haven’t got time before the election. We asked them to put it in writing, that our processes were good, but they didn’t decide to take us up on it... Now it was decided that I might not be the best person to greet them. That was a good call. So Richard [Tice] got the job. Can I tell you – after seven hours today in the office, the Electoral Commission have not found a single trace of wrongdoing.
Let’s make it clear to the conspiracy theorists, to those who think somehow the Russians are funding us, let’s make it clear to the media where our money comes from. Would you please put up your hand if you paid your £25? That is where our money is coming from, it’s coming from a mass movement of people who are excited, energetic and optimistic and realise we will get Brexit, but we just have to stand up and fight for it again.
I won’t even dignify the behaviour of that yobo yesterday by talking about it, but why vote for the Brexit Party on Thursday? This is now about far more than leaving the European Union. This is now about a bigger, more fundamental question of democracy. Do you trust our political class? And how do you think the rest of the world now sees us? Mrs May, by her constant abject surrenders to these unelected bully boys in Brussels, has humiliated our nation and I’ve had enough of it. Let’s stand up and be proud.
If the Brexit Party can win well on Thursday, we put back on the table, with that new deadline of 31 October, Halloween, trick or treaty. If we win the election well, we put back on the table... our exit on WTO terms.
If we win big on Thursday, we will kill off any prospect of Parliament forcing a second referendum upon us, because they will lose. If we win on Thursday – given that democratic mandate, that people on this team, people who’ve got competence, people who have been in business, people who do deals for a living, unlike the career politicians on our front benches – we demand that we are part of the negotiating team, to make sure that we do leave the European Union on 31 October.
If we win well, if we win big on Thursday, there are a couple of really nice, little bonuses that will be attached. The first is, we will quickly get rid of the worst, most duplicitous and, I still disagree with Anne Widdecombe, she’s not the worst Prime Minister since Anthony Eden, she’s the worst Prime Minister in the history of our nation. A big Brexit win may get rid of Jeremy Corbyn as well.
I will never make the same mistake again. I keep being asked what will happen when the Conservative party has a new leader, what will happen when somebody like Boris becomes leader. He said that Mrs May’s new treaty would lead us to vassalage, it would lead us to being a slave state... I thought 'Steady on. He’s using language even stronger than I am. What’s going on here?' And then what happened? What happened on the third time Mrs May brought it back to the House of Commons? Despite all he’d said, and all he’d done, he voted for it. You cannot trust the political class in this country.
Happily, the two party system doesn’t work anymore. Politics is broken. Somebody, us, the Brexit Party, has to challenge and break the two party system. We need major reform. We’ve got to get rid of the House of Lords. Mr Blair’s and Mr Cameron’s cronies. Oh, and the Electoral Commission. Filled up with political placemen and women – all of whom are Remainers, all of whom are part of that Westminster establishment. I think they should all be... more representative of this country.
We’re the only party fighting this European election with a clear, distinctive message. We must leave on the 31 October this year. We must leave, with or without any form of trade agreement. Because we demand nothing less than a self-governing, independent, proud nation, who governs herself, chooses her own alliances and friendships around the world. And look at the advantages we have. 2.4 billion people living in the Commonwealth, let’s reach out to them.
All I’m asking is for you to come out and protest on Thursday. If you think I’m asking you to stick two fingers up to the establishment on Thursday, and there’s good reason of course to stick up two fingers to the establishment. But actually, I’m not asking you to do that. I’m asking you to vote for us on Thursday as the first step to fundamentally changing politics for good in this country.
We are attempting a peaceful political revolution in this country.