Nigel Farage's triumphalist Brexit speech crossed the borders of decency

'This is a victory for ordinary people, for good people, for decent people'

Tom Peck
Friday 24 June 2016 05:44 BST
Nigel Farage: 'Let today be our independence day'

“We have done it without having to fight, we have done it without a bullet being fired. Dare to dream that the dawn is breaking on an independent nation.”

They are the words you’ll be hearing many times over, for decades to come, said by Nigel Farage at 4am on June 24, as, without having set foot in the House of Commons, he became the most influential politician in his country’s recent history.

Follow the latest live updates from the EU referendum

As this new dawn broke over Westminster, the pound fell to its lowest level against the dollar since 1985.

“This is a victory for ordinary people, for good people, for decent people,” he said. "The people who’ve “had enough of the merchant bankers.”

If a recession looms, it will again be ordinary, decent people who will not be shielded from it.

A mere five hours earlier he had all but conceded defeat, blaming ‘the establishment’ as he did so.

But then the Sunderland result came in and Lord Ashcroft’s champagne hit the walls.

Lord Ashcroft wasn’t here. And it wasn’t champagne. It was sparkling wine from his estate in Kent.

The noise almost shook the room. 61 per cent. Above 60 and they knew there was a game on. And the cheers kept coming. If you’d had a decibel meter on the top floor of the Millbank Tower at the Leave.EU party, it would have tracked the crashing of sterling in perfect symmetry.

“The eurosceptic genie is out the bottle,” Farage had warned in those early moments when, for reasons no one knows, he was all but conceding defeat, and blaming the decision to reopen the voter registration deadline.

“I hope I’m wrong,” he said. “I hope I’m made a fool of.”

He was made a fool of. He didn’t seem to mind.

How the EU referendum result unfolded

When Basildon yielded 69 per cent for Leave, it was even louder. So loud, who could barely hear the TV, relaying the chants from the crowds of ‘Fuck off Brussels.’

Nigel Farage paced from one end of his party to another. A TV interview at one end. Another at the other end. Most of the camera crews were European. They looked shell shocked.

“We will win this war,” Nigel Farage had said. “We will get our country back, we will get our independence back and we will get our borders back.”

It was a concession speech. Needlessly given, but the war is likely to just being started. No one on any side of the debate has promised to reduce net migration. If Leave wins and the number doesn’t come down, whatever anger has been seen in this campaign will be as nothing.

Win or lose, this was meant to be Nigel Farage’s last stand. Ukip serves no purpose beyond securing this referendum. Win and the job is done. Lose and the decision is made once and for all. In his moment of defeat he vowed to fight on. If he is to have a moment of victory, he may have to vow to fight on again.

Whatever happens, David Cameron’s plan to end his party’s Europe issue once and for all has backfired on a scale of historic proportions.

The calls for him to ‘resign tomorrow’ are loud indeed. Jacob Rees-Mogg warned to expect a general election ‘before the end of the year.’

And while it all happened, the pound self-immolated, and they there all were, waving their Union Jacks, wanting the night to never end.

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