Nigel Farage’s call for a second EU referendum is epically stupid

Nigel Farage’s call for a second EU referendum is epically stupid

Say what you like about Nigel Farage, he knows how to grab headlines. After months of criticising the likes of Blair, Adonis and Clegg for behaving like toddlers deprived of their favourite toy, unable to accept the vote to leave the EU and dementedly calling for a second referendum, Farage suddenly joins their gang.

“Maybe, just maybe, I’m reaching the point of thinking that we should have a second referendum on EU membership,” he said, while guesting on Channel 5’s The Wright Stuff.

Cue a flurry of headlines, rumour and speculation. Did Michel Barnier slip something into his pint when they met last week? Is Farage really so skint that he has to risk giving up his life’s goal to keep his EU salary and perks? Or is he just calling Remain’s bluff?

The kind interpretation is the latter; that this is just epic trolling. Given that ‘Project Fear’ has not come to pass; predictions of economic doom have not materialised; manufacturing output has boomed to a ten-year high; and EU bigwigs have publicly stated their aim to create an EU super-state and an EU army, I think Farage is right: Leave would win again and by a much greater margin.

But, inevitably, those in the Remain camp don’t see it like that and, in my opinion, the only thing ‘epic’ about Farage’s statement was its stupidity.

Even putting aside the astronomical and completely unjustified public cost of a second referendum, Farage’s comments are an open goal for the Remain camp. Lord Adonis and Chuka Umunna have leapt on them, as has the Green Party leadership and the pro-EU campaign group, Open Britain. Farage has thrown them a lifeline; all are claiming his words prove Brexit is reversible.

Farage has played into the EU’s hands too. “The EU is happy to play for time and see Britain sweat,” he wrote in the Daily Telegraph, following his meeting with Barnier. Well congratulations, Nigel. You’ve just delivered another reason for the EU to play cat and mouse with the people of Britain.

What Farage and his strange new Remain bedfellows are advocating, basically, is ‘going down the Ireland route’. But holding referendum after referendum until we get the ‘right’ answer – anybody’s right answer, even Farage’s – makes a mockery of democracy.

Before the referendum, all sides agreed this was a ‘once in a generation’ decision. The Government’s own EU referendum leaflet made it clear the decision would be implemented. Article 50 has been triggered. We must leave, and on the basis on this mandate, no other.

Unsurprisingly, Farage’s ill-judged comments are going down badly with kippers. UKIP didn’t successfully spend 25 years campaigning to leave the EU only to bail out because of a few Remain whiners, or because of the publicity-seeking antics of a maverick former leader. After all, what next, calls to make it the best of three?

Farage has again justified my decision to back Vote Leave for designation as the official EU referendum campaign. Farage put intense pressure on kippers to back rival Leave.EU, which would have made him and him alone the campaign figurehead. My refusal to play ball saw me sacked as Deputy Chairman of UKIP and suspended from the party on trumped up charges, but I made the right call. Had Leave.EU had sole responsibility for the EU referendum, Farage’s divisive antics might well have lost it for us.

I am pleased to see that UKIP has stood up to Farage’s hubris, speedily confirming party policy that the referendum decision needs to be implemented without further delay, and not re-run. Leave means leave. Let’s get on with it, no deviation or hesitation, and definitely no repetition.