After the referendum, I retired from active party politics, saying I wanted my life back. And I’ve had a great deal of fun since. Better still, I no longer have to resolve arguments between association chairmen and branch secretaries over how to fold the napkins at their work Christmas dinners and so on. But I’ve watched in dismay as Ukip, the machine that won the last European elections and scared the legacy parties into offering the British people a referendum, has descended into a bunker of its own making. By focusing on radical Islam, it has restricted its ability to get the votes needed to keep Westminster honest.
So, with some reluctance, I’m strapping on the breastplate again and am going to lead the Brexit party. It is very odd, though, to be involved in a party whose sole desire is not to exist. If Westminster took instructions from the people of this country, rather than those around the Rond-Point Schuman in Brussels, we wouldn’t need to reform. Since we launched, we’ve had a huge range of impressive people getting in touch: Greens, Labour, Tories — all wanting a free, democratic UK. We don’t want to fight another battle, but if we have to, we’ve got the heart, we’ve got the people and we’ll have the money too. And this time, it’s no more Mr Nice Guy.
This article is an extract from Nigel Farage's Spectator Diary, available in this week's magazine.