Nigel Farage On The Year Of Political Revolution
"Mr. Brexit" explains the transformational politics of 2016 at the Freedom Center's Restoration Weekend.
Below are the video and transcript of Nigel Farage’s address at the David Horowitz Freedom Center’s 2016 Restoration Weekend. The event was held November 10th-13th in Palm Beach, FL.
Nigel Farage: Wow, wow, well, thank you very much indeed, and thank you to David and the Freedom Center, and thank you for that wonderful warm introduction. You know, often there are decades in which very little happens. And occasionally there’s a year in which decades happen, and I think when our grandchildren, great–grandchildren look back at the history of this period of time, 2016 will be the year of political revolution; the year that changed everything.
Now, I never had any doubt after Brexit that what we managed to achieve was possible here in the United States of America, and the parallels, the crossover between the debates and the arguments and the type of people that were motivated to vote for Brexit and vote for Trump are really very interesting. But, what I’m really enjoying, what I’m really enjoying even more than the independence of my own nation, even more than President–Elect Trump, what I’m really enjoying are the faces of the media on CNN.
It is as if they’re in mourning, isn’t it? They simply can’t face up to the idea that there are people out there that don’t share their own very narrow metropolitan view, and I’m enjoying that enormously. My goodness me, they’re right to be worried because this revolution that has taken place in Britain and now on a much bigger scale here in the United States of America is, I hope and believe, gonna roll out over the course of the next couple of years across the entire Western world. We are going to get our democracy back.
Now, I got involved in this – I was actually in business. I had a proper job before politics. How about that? It seems pretty amazing, doesn’t it? You know, certainly Westminster is full of a group of college kids who go straight into the Houses of Parliament in their early 20s who have never had a job in their lives, who don’t really believe in very much, and they are professional career politicians. What they worry about is getting reelected. What they worry about is playing safe, and because of that, and because of the direction of the media, we have suffered now from decades of political correctness where no one dares stand up and speak their mind. They’re frightened of being criticized.
Actually, when we use the term political correctness, we aren’t really being accurate. What it really represents is a crackdown on our democratic rights and liberties, a crackdown on freedom of speech. That is what has been going on. And I know exactly what Donald Trump has gone through over the last few months. In fact, I think that Trump and myself are the most reviled people by the media across the entire West, but you know what, I’m happy to be judged by my enemies. I have no problem with that. But my journey on this was as a businessman who had never been actively involved in politics, although I was a massive supporter of Thatcher and Reagan back in the 1980s, and I thought they gave hope and wealth to tens and tens of millions of people.
But, I got involved in politics because I simply could not believe that my country, my ancient country, who had done more than anyone to develop the concept of parliamentary democracy had been happy for a career political class hand–in–glove with big multinational businesses and banks to progressively piece by piece give away our ability to make our own laws, to run our own country, and, crucially, to control our own borders. And, I thought, well the hell with this, I’m gonna stand and fight. And it was a very long fight. In fact, it took me nearly 25 years to win this battle. But, for the last 10 or 15 of them, the reason that I suffered personally at the hands of these people is because I dared to touch on a subject that through political correctness, through the crackdown on freedom of speech, had effectively become banned in the United Kingdom. You were not allowed in British politics to even discuss immigration. It had been banned. And despite the fact that we signed up to complete open borders with nearly half-a-billion people within the European Union, despite the fact we’ve had a growth of international jihadi terrorism, no, we weren’t allowed to even discuss the issue. So, I did talk about immigration, and I did take the brickbats for years, and I’m pleased to say that, actually, the main reason we got Brexit is because ordinary people had simply had enough of open door mass immigration driving down their wages, stopping them getting access to public services, and seeing social change within their communities the likes of which they’d never experienced before.
You know, it’s not just about controlling our borders and numbers and economics. There is an issue of culture here. There is a big issue of culture. You know, I come from a country that is a Christian country within its very constitution, and I believe that you can stand up and defend Christian values and Christian culture without giving offense to any other religious minority, but it’s time we had leaders that recognize that. And I think in the same way in this campaign here in America, Trump dared to talk about issues that everybody had brushed under the carpet that everybody else found too difficult. What kind of message does it send to people in this country if illegal immigrants that come into America from Mexico are given pardons after a few years? What message does that send to Mexicans who have actually gone through the process and done it legally and done it properly? And I have to say I admire Trump. I admire him for having the courage to put immigration at the front and center of this campaign. Well done him.
But something even worse than that had happened to our political classes. It’s what I call in Britain the “victory of social democracy.” It was parties that had been on the left and parties that had been on the right who decided to merge together in the middle where, frankly, you couldn’t put a cigarette paper between the manifestos of these parties at successive general elections. It was part of this process of professionalizing politics. It was part of the not wishing to cause offense. It was part of not wishing to take any risks and certainly, as far as the British political system had become, we were run by a group of people who all went to the same handful of schools, who all went to the same university, who all studied the same degree, who all went straight into politics and who all married each other’s sisters. That is what had happened to British politics.
And nobody was daring to say anything, but at the same time, look, it happened here, didn’t it? I mean, come on, look at the last presidential election. What were the big ideological fault lines that existed between Obama and Mitt Romney? I couldn’t spot them. I genuinely couldn’t spot them. It didn’t actually make a fundamental difference whether you had Obama or Romney. Yeah, sure, there are issues of policy, but there weren’t fundamental issues of principle. And all this was happening whilst our leaders in Britain, but yours, too, in America, were happy to give away increasingly your powers to make your own decisions, whether it’s signing up to the Paris Deal, whether it’s Hillary Clinton’s vision, which I’m pleased we got from that secret Wall Street tape recording where she saw the European Union as a prototype for a bigger form of world government; where you in America increasingly would have had your laws made somewhere else. This fight back matters, and I tell you above all what the history books will say is that 2016 was the year that nation state democracy and people being proud of their own identity came back onto the agenda.
And I was sneered at, condescended to for daring to say that I was proud to be British, for daring to say that I believed in our nation. It was as if I’d said something dreadful. Well, just to prove the point … [Laughter.] And, again, Trump’s big slogan “Make America Great Again.” You’re in no doubt, are you, when that guy speaks that he believes in this country, he believes in its people, and he believes in your ability to take things forward. So that’s good. And I also think what we’ve done similarly together is we have rejected this desperate creep of corporatism; the business by which the big businesses now effectively own the political class. They and the lobbyists basically set the rule book and set the agenda for how industries are run, and while it may be burdensome to big business to put up with laws, it suits them because it puts out of business or it prevents entry into the market of small and medium–sized business. And I think one of the debates that we need to have, and it probably will start in America – isn’t it funny? Normally, America catches a cold, and London sneezes. You are normally 20 years ahead of us in terms of most social and technological trends. I’m pleased to say that with Brexit this time we showed you the right way to go.
But here’s the debate that we need to have. We need to recognize, in my opinion, that we are no longer a free market capitalist society. That is gone. All those things that Reagan and Thatcher did so much to create, environments and societies and communities in which the individual, the small man or woman, could set up a business in whatever sector they chose and if they did well, make money and succeed. Increasingly, that is not happening, and increasingly, the voters who voted Brexit and who voted for Trump are recognizing that this world of big global corporatism gives them no room, and I hope and I pray that Trump quickly puts into place the Reaganite bits of his agenda. When he talked about deregulating small businesses to give them an even break – please, President Trump, do that as quickly as you can.
When he talks about tax cuts and giving people real incentives and giving a boost to spending within the economy, I totally agree and support that and, frankly, I think it is overdue but genius that somebody in this country recognizes that your rates of corporation tax are completely and totally absurd and that if Trump cuts corporation tax hundreds of billions of dollars will flow back into this country. So, I wish him Godspeed with all of those things.
Because it seems to me that for Trump to succeed with the rest of his agenda he first has to get the economy heading in the right direction, and I think all the ingredients are there. It was funny, wasn’t it, on that little video you saw, the IMF bus saying that if we voted Brexit there’d be some terrible economic decline. We also saw Obama coming to my country looking down his nose at us, telling us we weren’t good enough to run ourselves. Gosh, I’m pleased we’re all seeing the back of him.
And what of the future? Well, today is the 11th of November. Today is the 98th anniversary of the signing of the Armistice that ended the first World War, and I think it is worth reflecting. I really do believe it is worth reflecting. In fact, one of the things that got me into politics were the massive sacrifices that the generations that went before us had to make to overcome tyranny and to give us liberty and democracy, and I was damned if I was gonna see all of that sacrifice thrown away by career politicians. I really was.
But it is worth reflecting on today of all days that our two countries, between us, without us there would have been no victory over Nazi Germany. It simply couldn’t have happened. We held the fort, just about. Just about. We were lucky, but we got there, and by the way, we also were led by a man called Winston Churchill, and I want to see his bust back in the oval office. My critics in the British media always say, “Nigel Farage, he’s always photographed with a pint of beer” and “Does he drink too much to be in politics?” To which I always say, “Compared to Winston Churchill, I’m a mere beginner.”
We have done between us some fantastic things for the Free World. We’ve done it at great cost to ourselves. You guys even more than us. You know, we were directly in the line of fire. Yes, you had Pearl Harbor, but you came and helped us. You came and assisted us. And I now believe that a United Kingdom that has voted for Brexit, and a United Kingdom that will get Brexit – yes, of course, there’ll be attempts through the Houses of Parliament and through the courts. There’ll be attempts to slow us down. There’ll be attempts to delay us, but believe me, it isn’t going to work. If we get betrayed, if we were to get betrayed on our Brexit vote, you would then see a political revolution in Britain that we haven’t seen since the English civil war. So believe me, it is going to happen.
But I think it’s important in this modern world for both of us that we use the opportunity of an independent United Kingdom and a Trump presidency to start talking about some of these issues again, and I generally do. In terms of trade, I completely understand why Trump has reservations about China. I understand why he has reservations about countries undercutting, about countries dumping steel or whatever else it may be, but I do genuinely think that we don’t need to go through a big corporatist dream. We don’t need to go through resolution courts that go above our own parliaments and courts. I just simply believe that if you look at the business relationship between your country and my country we are both massive investors in each other’s country. We share a language, we share a similar legal system, we share many similar economic interests, and I think if there’s one country that President Trump might do a trade deal with, unlike Obama, sneering at us and telling us we’d be at the back of the line, I think Trump wants us to be at the front of the line, and what a great message that would be.
But, I also believe we need to think very seriously about security. Now, one of the reasons I think that in the end that although Trump was the anti–establishment candidate, he began to get the support of a big chunk of the establishment, and by that I mean the military and the police and who knows, maybe some even in the FBI. So, but one of the reasons is that Hillary could not even bring herself to say the words “Islamic terrorism.” Couldn’t even bring herself to say it. She was in complete denial, and I think we’ve all got to be honest and face up to the fact that the great challenge that the world faces, the great challenge our kids face, is this new evil that exists on this earth, and we’re going to have to be resolute and work together as friends and partners to deal with this problem. That, I think, is very important. Very important indeed.
And, then I think we need to talk and debate and think about the future of NATO. Now, NATO has served an enormously valuable role. But the difficulty with NATO is once the Berlin Wall fell, the clear enemy that had existed for all those decades suddenly wasn’t there. And at no point since 1990 have members of NATO sat down and genuinely debated what the role of NATO is in a post-Soviet Union world. I think we need to have a defensive alliance, but I think we need to redefine it, and I’m gonna say, I think President–Elect Trump is right when he says that America should not be expected to go on paying all the bills. I genuinely do.
And I think the conduit between President Trump when he’s there and the rest of NATO members is the United Kingdom. We are the people with a foot in both camps. We are the people, I hope and believe, who can bring us together. Let’s not throw NATO out because it has been valuable to us since the late 1940s, but let’s be grown up and let’s redefine what it’s there for and what it actually means, and that matters. And, I, for myself, have to say what an absolute honor it was to be invited by Trump’s team to come to America and to appear on that stage with him in Mississippi. I’ve tried to make British politics and European Parliament politics a little more spicy than perhaps people were used to. But I regularly get fined for behaving badly and it’s okay. It’s all cheap advertising, you know. But, I have to say coming to a Trump rally was quite unlike anything I’d ever attended in my life. It was amazing. It was amazing, and it’s perhaps worth reflecting that I’m the only elected politician in the entire United Kingdom who had a single good word to say about Trump during that whole campaign. Once again, I was taking abuse from everybody, but I’m used to it. It’s okay. It’s not a problem. No, I was pleased to do that and I was pleased to come back and to attend all of the debates and to act as a commentator from overseas on the relative merits of Trump versus Clinton. I just struggled to find the merits of Clinton. It wasn’t very easy to balance that, but I’m thrilled to have played a part in this, and I’m thrilled that Brexit has provided an inspiration, I think, for many campaigners out there. You know, we showed you that the little guys can beat the big guys. We showed you that a free people, provided their spirit is undiminished, can overcome, bad can beat evil, and you’ve now done it on an even bigger and better scale.
And I’m now gonna be going and doing a bit of tour of Europe. I spoke in Barcelona on Wednesday of this week. I spoke in Stockholm on Friday of last week, and I’m now traveling around the rest of the European Union, and my message to them is this: I am not, as they term me, anti–European. Of course I’m not. I’m married to a woman who was born in Germany. I mean no one needs to tell me about the dangers of living in a German–dominated household. I get it. (I know it’s a cheap shot, but I like it.) The point is this: Europe is very different to the United States of America. These are ancient countries that have no desire to merge together. They are different. There are different religions in the north and in the south. There are different cultures of work, different patents, different means of trade, and I actually want to champion a Europe of democratic independent nation states that work together, trade together, and act as good next–door neighbors with each other. But you could never get to that all the while you’ve got this monolithic European structure that intends to steal powers from all those individual countries. So, I will be going around the whole of Europe taking this message that actually you can beat the system. All you have to do is have the courage to stand up against what you’re being told, and if I’m told that I’ve wrecked Britain’s relationship with the European Union, well, I did my best to get Britain out of the European Union. I now want to get Europe out of the European Union. Thank you very much. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.
I noticed last night when I was bumping into you that lots of you, apart from those who wanted selfies, lots of you wanted to ask questions, and it’s been the same this morning. So what I’ve done is I’ve left lots of time for questions. So, please put your hands up, and we’ve got some roving microphones that are going to go around, and I will do my very best to answer as many of them as I can.
Thank you, Nigel. It’s okay, I’m American now. Thank you for your bravery. You mentioned Churchill, and Churchill spent years in the wilderness, and we are very grateful for what you’ve done to come out of the wilderness and win the fight. What we’d like to hear from you now is some reassuring words about how the elite can’t disrail the Brexit reality. Can you talk to us about your expectations for the next year or two?
Yes, the elite – they call themselves the liberal elite, and I can’t fathom this because, actually, in a historical sense, they’re the most illiberal people the world’s ever seen. You know, Gladstonian liberalism was about individual liberty and choice and helping the poor and the weak. This lot want to ban everything. This lot want to control everything. This lot have set the agendas of speech through political correctness and this lot don’t accept referendum results or election results that they don’t like. Look at those people rioting on the streets of New York and out in LA. You know, you’re seeing a taste of it here in America, aren’t you? You’re seeing people who simply can’t live up to it.
Now the European Union, when the Danes voted no to Maastricht back in the 1990s, they were forced to vote again until they got the right result. Twice the Irish have rejected European constitutions and been forced to vote again in completely rigged loaded referendums where one side outspent the other side by a factor of 100 to 1. We’ve seen the French referendum on the European constitution, the Dutch referendum on that and the Ukraine deal, and we’ve seen them simply be ignored. So, there is a tradition here of them ignoring. I remember being in the European parliament after the Irish had said no to the Lisbon Treaty, and it was an amazing day. I’d actually used a huge lump of the European Parliament’s money. It’s called the information budget. It’s supposed to be used to promote European Union values to member states. Well, my lawyer said there was nothing to say you couldn’t spend it saying that it was a bad idea. So, I sent a booklet, an eight–page booklet to every house in Ireland telling them why the Lisbon Treaty was a bad idea, and the Irish prime minister the next day said Nigel Farage almost single handedly has derailed the democratic process of Ireland, and I thought, “Oh, please.”
But the point is the victory was very short–lived. I remember that next day, Barroso, Jose Manuel Barroso, he was the European Commission President at the time, a former Maoist, so he was quite well suited for that job, wasn’t he really? I remember him saying, “Oh no, the people didn’t really vote no.” And, I said, “What part of the word ‘no’ don’t you understand?” Look, they’re trying. They’re trying to redefine the referendum result. They’re trying to say it wasn’t about the single market. There are lots of attempts being made and one of the ways that we do need help is we need help from America. Because if President Trump makes it clear that actually the United Kingdom is a priority in terms of security, defense, and trade, that signal starts to put massive pressure on the naysayers in our country, and, indeed, on the Brussels process. So, actually, Trump saying positive things is going to make our life one whole lot easier. They will try and stop us. They will try and delay us, but they won’t be able to because here’s the difference. When the Dutch and the French and the Irish and the Danes were overruled, they shrugged their shoulders, and said, “Oh well, there we are.” That ain’t gonna happen. You know, that isn’t going to happen. And, I promise you, if Brexit by 2019 has led into a betrayal, there will then be an earthquake in British politics and the existing parties will be swept off the table, and because of that they’ll wince, they’ll whine, they’ll moan, they’ll cry a bit on television, which I’ll like, but in the end, believe me, Brexit will mean Brexit.
Thank you for your courage. I, too, am an American by choice. I guess it’s all immigrants today who are going to speak. But back in the ‘60s when I was a young guy I lived in the former English city of London, and during that time you had a politician, Enoch Powell, who gave the famous River of Blood speech. Could you talk about what that speech meant to immigration?
Yes I can. In fact, it was the 20th of April 1968 in Birmingham Town Hall, and I’m not very good at the accent, but he said, “Those whom the gods wish to destroy first they make mad. And we must be mad to allow the unqualified flow of tens of thousands of migrants into Britain every single year.” And he went on to say – and, in fact, he predicted this at the start of the speech. Because at the start of the speech he said, “Even now I can hear the howls of execration. How could I say such a horrible thing?” But he went on to say that if it continued like this – and he was a classical scholar. In fact, he was, just briefly for those who haven’t heard of Enoch Powell, this extraordinary fellow, was the youngest professor in the British Empire. He was professor of Greek at Sydney University age 25. It was then 1939, so he came back to England and joined the Royal Warwickshire Regiment, and by 1944 he was the youngest brigadier in the British Army. I mean, the bloke was extraordinary in every way. But he said, “I feel like the Roman standing on the banks of the Tiber foaming with much blood.” And, of course, it became known as the Rivers of Blood speech.
The problem with that speech was this: That you need to be in politics if you’re there, not just for a career, but you’re there to change things, to move things on, you need to be ahead of public opinion to try and be a magnet and to bring public opinion and bits of the media and change with you. I’ve done that throughout the last 20 years. I’ve tried to keep putting the flag further and further out in the ground, but there’s a problem if you go too far ahead, and you go to a place the people simply aren’t ready to even conceive. And it led to the destruction of the career of, without doubt, the most talented post–war politician in Britain. But it did something else. It also allowed that liberal media elite to make immigration a banned subject. And from 1968 until me in 2003–4, nobody with a sensible voice or view in British politics dared to touch the subject, so the irony was that Powell was right in many ways, not in every way, but right in many ways. The irony was he stopped it being a debate, and that’s my analysis.
One last quick point on Powell, he was the first Euro-skeptic. He was the first person who saw the European Union not as a common market but as a political project. And in the general election of February 1974 he said he would not stand as a candidate in the election, and nobody could quite believe that a man who was not very far away, perhaps, from becoming a prime minister at one point, wouldn’t stand in the election. And he, two days before the general election, booked the City Hall in Birmingham, his home city, and gave a speech at which he said he urged British voters to vote for the Labor Party. Now, my parents just simply couldn’t believe this. You know, how could the buttoned–up, conservative brigadier, the darling of the right of British politics, advocate voting for a socialist party, but the reason was that the socialists said we could have a referendum on our common market membership. So the very highly principled man – and there was an amazing moment in that speech when somebody at the back of the room shouted at Powell, “Judas.” And he stared at the man and he pointed. He said, “No, Judas was paid; I’m making a sacrifice.” How about that?
All right, we have time for one more question, and then after this question, we’re gonna move back into the breakout room. But last question here.
I’m sure that President Trump would be honored to have the bust of Winston Churchill back in the White House. Do you think you can make arrangements to have that done?
Yeah, I’ll tell you what. I’ll do my very best, and I’m gonna go one better than that in some ways. I was at the convention in Cleveland, which I went to. I became friendly with the Mississippi delegation, and I went down and stayed with the governor, Phil Bryant, in Mississippi, and he has got so many books and memorabilia about Churchill. I think we all admire, all of us in the Western world who believe in freedom and liberty, admire this amazing man who, of course, had an American mother, so the link is incredibly strong. Anyway, Governor Bryant is coming to England next April to the Farnborough Air Show, big international air show, and I’ve already agreed that I will take Governor Bryant to Chartwell, Churchill’s home, and give him a personal guided tour. And if anybody else wants to come and see Chartwell, I’m your man to show you around, so there you are. And can I just say thank you very much for this invitation, this opportunity to speak to you today, to meet many of you, and remember what I said at the beginning that in years to come people will look back in 2016 as the year that changed everything, and now we have to be strong. We have to be full of resolve. We have to make sure we don’t give any daylight in that door to let those bad people who gave away our democracy and risked our liberty and freedom a chance to come back. We’re in charge now, let’s stay there.