Nigel Farage has told a magazine for the super-rich of the ‘horrible’ hatred he has endured after leading the campaign for Brexit.
The former three-time Ukip leader, speaking to the editor of Spear’s, said it was a ‘shock’ that he received abuse during a campaign during which he unveiled a poster showing a queue of mostly non-white migrants allegedly heading to Britain.
He told the magazine: ‘I remember when it first started it was a little bit of a shock.
‘I don’t think I was really under any illusions – I mean, I always knew that if it became a mass movement and very popular, then it was going to be very hard. I was under no real illusions about it.
‘But it’s been… yeah, I guess, it’s surprised me. The sheer extent of it has surprised me, but, yep.’
Painting pictures with words, the magazine’s editor, Alec Marsh describes how ‘his voice trails away. The Farage bravura has suddenly vanished. I ask what it’s been like, dealing with the emotional antagonism.’
The MEP of 20 years’ standing said: ‘Why do you think I go for a pint?’, while, according to Marsh, lifting his glass and chuckling before continuing his ‘sombre note’.
He said: ‘Some of it’s been horrible. Some of it has been hard. And you almost feel like a wanted person at times.
‘You’re surrounded by security – and he’s there now – in the car, he’s watching.
‘There were times in the referendum when I had to be surrounded by people. It’s so rough out there. But I guess that’s the world we live in.’
Spear’s describes its readership as ‘made up of extremely wealthy individuals and families (average assets of £5 million+) and ranges from hedge fund managers to property developers, rock stars to Rich-Listers, entrepreneurs and entertainers’.
Farage himself is famously courteous in interactions with his political opponents, telling former EU president Herman Van Rompuy to his face he had ‘all the charisma of a damp rag and the appearance of a low-grade bank clerk’ and describing his homeland, Belgium, as a ‘non-country’.
Elsewhere in the interview Farage says his friend Donald Trump’s unpopularity in Britain had rubbed off on him ‘maybe a touch’.
He said: ‘I knew at the time that it would have an effect, but I thought it was the right thing to do.
‘Again you make decisions not based on short-term popularity but on what you think the right thing to do is. There is some truth in that.
‘I could be completely wrong, but I think my support base amongst the British public is still there. I genuinely do.’