Nigel Farage is arguably the most influential British politician of the 21st century. His campaign to take the UK out of the EU began as a minority and extreme point of view, but in June 2016 became the official policy of the nation after a divisive referendum. In Michael Crick's brilliant new biography, One Party After Another, we find out how he did it, despite never once managing to get elected to Parliament.
Farage left public school at the age of 16 to go and work in the City, but in the 1990s he was drawn into politics, joining UKIP. Ironically, it was the electoral system for the European Parliament that gave him access to a platform, and he was elected an MEP in 1999. His everyman persona, seemingly as at home in a pub in Hartlepool as in a smart Surrey golf club, combined with a natural ability as a maverick and outspoken performer on TV, ensured that he garnered plenty of media attention. While his simple messages resonated in ways that rattled the major parties - especially the Conservatives. While the UK had rarely been an enthusiastic advocate of ever-closer union, suddenly its very membership was up for debate.
Controversy was never far away, with accusations of racism against the party, but having secured the referendum, Farage helped win the vote to leave the EU, despite the opposition of all the major party leaders and every living prime minister. When Parliament appeared to be trying to thwart the voice of the people, Farage created a new party, the Brexit Party, and ensured Britain did finally leave the EU early in 2020. Crick's compelling new biography takes the reader into the heart of Farage's story, assessing his methods, uncovering remarkable hidden details and builds to an unmissable portrait of a larger-than-life character who has transformed the nation.