Nigel Farage has campaigned for 20 years to get Britain to leave the European Union, and he now leads the United Kingdom's fastest-growing political party, the Independence Party, which is gaining strength largely due to Farage's anti-European Union message. Farage's dislike of the bureaucratic governing body stems from the Union's intent to do away with the sovereignty of European nations.
“What I did not understand was the sheer fanaticism behind the [European Union] project — there is nothing that will stop these guys,” Farage told the New York Times. “But what they have completely missed is the rise of identity politics.”
As Farage lambasts European Union bureaucrats who live lavish lifestyles funded by taxpayer monies and rails against their ambitions plans to "extend the sweep of European federalism," his Independence Party has gained strength in Britain and has forced British Prime Minister David Cameron, of the Conservative Party, to deal with the Independence Party's ascent.
According to the Times, “there is no disputing the Independence Party’s rise in Britain under” Farage:
In the 2009 election for the European Parliament, the Independence Party came in second to the Conservatives, taking 16 percent of the vote, and in 2014 many expect it to become the No. 1 vote-getter.
With Farage leading the charge, the "Independence Party in Britain is about to replace the Liberal Democrats as the third-largest political party behind the Conservatives and Labour," which "heaps more pressure" on Cameron to deal with the rising anti-European Union sentiment.
Some in Cameron's Conservative party, seeing the rising threat of the Independence Party and the general anti-European Union sentiment across Europe, "called for the Conservatives to enter an electoral pact with the Independence Party before the next election in 2015, in return for a referendum on whether Britain should remain in the European Union."
The Times writes Farage takes glee in disseminating his "his anti-European Union message by highlighting the bloc’s bureaucratic absurdities and spendthrift tendencies" and "mocking with glee the most prominent proponents of a European superstate."
Farage, for instance, has said the head of the European Commission, José Manuel Barroso, and the European Council president, Herman Van Rompuy, are “ghastly people, and neither pass the Farage test: Would I employ them or would I want to go have a drink with them?”
He has relished ridiculing the European Parliament to his face as he "squirmed."
"I said you’d be the quiet assassin of nation-state democracy,” Farage once told the European Parliament president Herman Van Rompuy. "And sure enough, in your dull and technocratic way, you’ve gone about your course.”
This "damn the technocrats" rallying cry -- "raw, profane, and born of genuine conviction," as the Times describes -- is sweeping across other European countries like Greece, Portugal, Ireland, Italy, and Spain, who feel shackled by bureaucrats far removed from their countries and the lives of their citizens.
The Times notes that Farage's political views started to gel when he "witnessed the ejection of the pound from the Europe-imposed system of fixed exchange rates that was a precursor to the euro" and "concluded that any power ceded to Brussels, about monetary policy or anything else, would be sheer folly."
According to economists, "Britain paid $16 billion to the European Union," but, "if the cost of regulation, waste and misallocated resources is included, the annual cost of membership rises to $238 billion a year, or about 10 percent of Britain’s economic output."
Farage, according to the Times, has railed most often against what he considers the “most egregious example” of European Union profligacy: the European Parliament building in France itself.
As the Times notes, it costs taxpayers nearly $250 million a year to transport the 754 members of parliament to the French building that is only in use three days a month.
When asked what motivates his fierce opposition to the European Union and embrace of national sovereignty, Farage said he wants to preserve his country for his grandchildren and ensure they do not inherit the "lunacy" that would be a stronger and more bureaucratic European Union.
“I just would like for my grandchildren to read some day that I did my part in saving my country from this lunacy,” Farage said.