Though the results weren’t final on Friday morning, Nigel Farage was jubilant.
“We have done it,” the leader of the euroskeptic UK Independence Party, or UKIP, told his cheering supporters. The 23rd of June, he said, will go down in history as Great Britain’s “Independence Day.”
We won “without a single bullet being fired,” he called to the crowd.
The 52-year-old is close to achieving his goal of seeing Great Britain leave the European Union, for which he has campaigned for decades. His message: Great Britain must take control of its own fate, stop billions of pounds from being transferred to Brussels and significantly reduce the number of immigrants.
But observers are now skeptical about whether Mr. Farage will be able to keep his promises.
Once a commodity broker in London City, he was originally a member of the conservative Tory party. But he left the party in protest over the signing of the Maastricht Treaty and founded UKIP with like-minded activists in 1993.
In 2006, Conservative leader David Cameron called the party a “sort of a bunch of … fruitcakes and loonies and closet racists mostly.” But since then, UKIP has pressured the major British parties as they have gained popularity.