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"You have the charisma of a damp rag": 8 ways Nigel Farage livened up UK (and European) politics

In the sense that he made it more interesting. Not necessarily better.

SO NIGEL FARAGE has bowed out of the headlines, across the water.

For now at least.

The outspoken UKIP politician stepped down as leader this morning, after failing to gain a seat in Thanet South – following through on a campaign pledge.

(Al Murray, Pub Landlord, lost out too – but didn’t seem that bothered).

General Election 2015 aftermath - May 8th Source: PA Wire/Press Association Images

Say what you like about him (and people do) – the 51-year-old has certainly made UK politics a little more interesting over the last few years.

Anti-Brussels and anti-’political correctness’ – he led UKIP to the top of the polls in last year’s European Parliament elections, and his party, despite being branded as full of ”fruitcakes, loonies and closet racists” by David Cameron, were considered a threat by the Conservatives.

Here’s how the former banker’s been making headlines, since taking over at the helm of UKIP in 2006.

1. By insulting people (specific)

Source: EurActiv/YouTube

President of the EU Herman van Rompuy didn’t quite know how to react when told by Farage he had the “charisma of a damp rag” and the appearance of a “low-grade bank clerk”.

2. By standing on tanks

Because, of course.

Heywood and Middleton by-election Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

3. By insulting people (general)

The party took out a full page ad in the Daily Telegraph to insist it was not racist, after Farage said in a radio interview that he would be concerned if a group of people from Romania moved into the house next-door to him.

“The vast majority of Romanians who have come to the UK wish to better their lives and would make good neighbours,” the advertisement said.

He also told the BBC he regretted the fact that he was “completely tired out” during the interview and “didn’t use the form of words [...] that I would have liked to have used”.

f5 Source: Farage .. in apology mode.

4. By being photographed with pints of beer

Over and over again.

This is what happens when you put the words ‘pint’ and ‘Farage’ into PA’s photo library website:


UKIP attempt to woo Scottish voters Source: PA Archive/Press Association Images

5. By being injured in a plane crash 

He was incredibly lucky to survive a plane crash while campaigning in the 2010 election. The pilot – the only other occupant – also escaped more-or-less unharmed.

He later wrote, in his autobiography:

Sitting on the grass, I didn’t feel too good, but I didn’t feel that bad either. This, I reckoned, was as good as it was going to get, being able to walk away from a plane crash. I told Duncan to light me a fag. Not a great idea so close to a pool of aviation fuel. I took one drag and felt sick.

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Source: ukipmedia/YouTube

6. By appearing on Have I Got News For You

Boris Johnson did alright out of it – and Nigel’s been a frequent guest on the satirical news quiz (always laughing a little too hard at whatever Ian Hislop has to say).

Source: BBC/YouTube

7. By apologising for things other UKIP-ers have said…

We don’t have time to mention all the times he’s had to say sorry for sexist, homophobic, borderline racist and actual racist things candidates or elected representatives have said.

But by way of illustration, he had to offer his his ‘mega, mega apologies’ (really) to this supporter, after a UKIP MEP described her as a “ting tong from somewhere”.

Source: BBC South East/YouTube

8. And by kicking off controversy all over again

By the way – when we said he might be back, we weren’t just speculating.

Here’s what he told reporters earlier:

There will be a leadership election for the next leader of UKIP in September and I will consider over the course of this summer whether to put my name forward to do that job again.

Read: “It doesn’t belong to Bobby Sands”: Gains for Unionists as Sinn Féin lose marginal seat

Read: Miliband, Farage and Clegg have all quit – and David Cameron’s back at Downing Street

About the author:

Daragh Brophy

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