Looking back to the nineties, in February 1992 The Maastricht treaty has been signed. It directly lead to the future resentment within UK, as it handed another chunk of powers from UK to Brussels. At this time, a 28 years old eurosceptic member of conservative party, started his journey to become one of the most famous British politicians not only in UK, but all over the EU and far beyond. This is not an exaggeration, but statement of personal experience. Everyone, whom I spoke to abroad, knows, who is Nigel Farage, very few of them heard for example about Boris Johnson.
Farage left Conservative party following the acceptance of Maastricht Treaty. He became one of the founding members of UKIP (UK Independence Party) and embarked on, what would be a 25 years long crusade to get Britain out of EU. There are many others, who backed the notion of Britain as sovereign, independent country. But the truth is, that Nigel Farage with his witty (and therefore remarkable and easily memorable) speeches, delivered both, in UK and in EU parlament, did single handedly pushed Conservatives to the wall and forced out of them the referendum. If not for him, there would be no referendum in 2016. Even Farage’s opponent, our well known young conservative MP, who helped to bring about so crucial vote in 1973, Ken Clarke, admitted in April 2019:
“(Farage) is the most successful politician of my generationKen Clarke
Former Conservative MP and Minister, Ann Widdecombe, (she’s became a candidate for a new, Farage-lead Brexit Party in EU elections 2019), stated, that Margaret Thatcher is the only politician more successful than Farage. I do have to agree, because the only reason, why Conservatives in run up to the 2015 general election promised the country referendum was, that UKIP led by Farage, won the 2014 EU elections and became the leader of biggest UK delegation to Brussels. The threat of UKIP candidates standing in general elections and possibly repeating the gains from EU elections, and the growing tension in electorate; pushed Cameron to promise the EU referendum, if they will win elections.
Disgruntled eurosceptic voters abandoned Labour, LibDem and UKIP to vote for Conservatives in hope, that this would be a quicker way to secure referendum. Conservatives won with 36.9% of the votes, which gave them 331 of 650 seats in parliament. While the view of Mr. Cameron might differ a lot (as with every politician), there is one thing we can put on his plus side; he kept his promise. After re-negotiating new concessions from EU in his ‘New deal for Britain’ (flash-back to the 1975 referendum, anyone? I can promise, that this isn’t the last one!), on 20th February 2016, Cameron announced that referendum on membership of European Union will be held on 23rd June 2016. While it was a big victory for Farage and other eurosceptics, the fight was far from over. Upon announcement of the referendum, the hardest and most exhausting part of 25 years long campaign just only started.
Next article will be about the evolution of Brexitiers and Remainers and it will cover the time period from February 2016 until may 2019Thank you for reading.