Nigel is off on his hols

Now Nigel Farage has joined David Cameron and Boris Johnson in deserting the ship that they sank.

Nigel Farage says he is standing down as leader of the UK Independence Party.

Mr Farage said his “political ambition has been achieved” with the UK having voted to leave the EU.

Marina Hyde has some commentary on this scarper.

It is fair to say Nigel remains unaware of the difference in calibre between himself and a figure such as Theresa May (whatever your views on her). You sense he will be condemned to wonder furiously why the call to the top table doesn’t come, much as Liz Hurley may enquire furiously of her agent why she has been overlooked again for a role in favour of Meryl Streep.

Keen to get a clearer sense of the Farage diplomacy doctrine, I asked him: does he think the tone he took in the European parliament last week was a good negotiating tactic that will help the UK to get the best deal out of Europe? After all, for an MEP who must have spent a lot of time near airport bookshops over the past two decades, Nigel seems mystified by the tenets of even basic business manuals. Unless I missed the bit in Sun Tzu that explains that all battles are won by mugging off your opponents before you start.

Explaining the “context” of his artless and embarrassing rudeness, Nigel claimed that the session had been “the worst event ever in the history of the European project”. It was only right, he went on, “that they got just a tiny little piece of my mind”. That is certainly all he would have to spare. His failure to understand how avenues are being opened up for any future deal appears total. Any manoeuvrability is deemed “backsliding”. “If we start to concede in these negotiations now,” he explained, “we will get a rotten deal. We’ve got the trump cards.” Certainly the Trump cards. Perhaps he could use his new free time to pen Nigel Farage’s Art of the Deal.

Either way, according to Nigel, we are now going to see “the real me”, now he is no longer constrained by … by what? Decorum? Ukip’s famously rigorous party discipline? EU-based race discrimination legislation? It was rather unclear. Of all the Farage disguises, incidentally, Daffy Nigel is the least convincing. Was he going to get a seat in the Lords? “Oh gosh, I shouldn’t have thought so for a moment.” The main thing about his victory, he reminded listeners for the 2,345th time, was that “we were against the entire UK establishment”. Spoken like a man who had literally spent yesterday at a garden party at the home of newspaper proprietor Evgeny Lebedev, sitting opposite Liam Fox and Rupert Murdoch.

What does that remind me of? Oh yes, Donald Trump working up the crowds by railing at…the elites. Donald Billionaire Scam-artist Trump pretending to be a populist opposed to Elites.

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