What's to become of Nigel Farage? UKIP leader ponders life beyond Brexit vote

Leader of the United Kingdom Independence Party (UKIP) Nigel Farage speaks at pro Brexit event in London, Britain June 3, 2016. © Neil Hall
UKIP’s Nigel Farage has been crusading for Britain to leave the European Union all his political life. So what will he do in the event of a ‘Remain’ vote, or if the country decides to leave and his “battle” is over?

“I have absolutely no clue what I’m going to do,” he told Newsweek’s Josh Lowe.

“I’m not some nerd. There are loads of things in life that interest me. This [leaving the EU] has been my great cause.”

Farage thinks a vote to leave the EU on June 23 is the most likely outcome. He is so confident, in fact, that he placed a £1,000 (US$1,442) bet on that outcome on Thursday with 11/4 odds.

“I didn’t get into politics for the sake of politics, I got into politics to fight this battle,” he says.

Farage hasn’t ruled out staying in politics if a Brexit vote is successful.

“It may well be, if we win … I will, of course, then be leading the … British UK delegation in the European Parliament through what are going to be some crucial battles.”

The UKIP leader has not quite enjoyed top-dog Euroskeptic status in the British press, however, thanks to the ubiquitous presence of former London Mayor Boris Johnson and Tory Justice Secretary Michael Gove.

When asked if he could see right-wing Tories and UKIPers working together more closely after the referendum, he said: “We’re all UKIP now, in terms of attitude.”

He doesn’t feel he’s been robbed of his policy.

“The fact that two people who are most likely to be our next prime minister have gone for this, I thought … this is a moment. This is a moment that has changed British politics for the next decade.

“Because they can’t backtrack. It’s done now. They want an Australian-style points system, they want migrants to speak English, they even think, amazingly, that British people might get some priority over housing. I mean this is incredible, this is everything I’ve been saying.

“I’ve felt for a long time that this [immigration] was the issue, and that if we could establish in the minds of the British public the link between open-door migration, European passports, and the fact that we can’t do a damn thing about it as EU members, I’ve always believed if we made that link, the other side can’t answer it.”

Speaking on the possibility of a UKIP leadership challenge, Farage says he’d “walk it.”

“Non issue … I think if people wanted that, they’d perhaps make themselves look a bit silly, to be honest,” he says, but does not deny one could take place.

Matthew Goodwin, professor of politics at University of Kent, says UKIP is distracted by the referendum, but there remain unresolved questions, such as how the party will remedy infighting.

“UKIP needs to decide where it wants to go in the event of a Remain vote.

“Does the party carry on as usual or does it instead try to mobilize something more significant, perhaps through a rebrand and potentially a new leader?” Goodwin asks.