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By making immigration an issue Farage managed to boost UKIP to 15 per cent and higher in general election polling — but his way of talking about immigration also put many more people off. Polls were beginning to demonstrate the so-called Farage Paradox: as UKIP went up in the polls the percentage of voters supporting leaving the EU fell. Many voters clearly thought, “If Farage and his populism represent leaving the EU, then I am against it.” Farage’s many enemies in the Eurosceptic movement make too much of his toxicity, but it is hard to imagine a Farage-led Leave campaign winning a majority.

Farage’s greatest weakness has been his total failure to turn UKIP into a proper party with staying power — without his charisma UKIP is a shell. Farage was leader of UKIP on four occasions between 2006 and 2016 and on each occasion he simply failed to build up other figures in the party — when they did seem to have promise he did his best to undermine them. Former Labour MP and TV presenter Robert Kilroy-Silk, Suzanne Evans, and disgraced former Tory MP Neil Hamilton have all had this treatment.

The Eurosceptic Right of the Conservative Party had been in rebellion for all the time UKIP was a force; a better, more emollient tactician than Farage would surely have brought more of them over. It was the fear of being sidelined in the new party which stopped many from jumping ship — and this was entirely Farage’s fault. UKIP’s highest-profile defector — the then Clacton MP Douglas Carswell — now all but publicly gloats that his defection was a genius wheeze to detoxify UKIP and undermine Farage. There may be a fair bit of post-hoc justification in the claim, but it shows how Farage failed to build a party. Farage’s failures in leadership explains why — with a few honourable exceptions such as London Assembly member and  former Standpoint contributor Peter Whittle — UKIP without Farage is a party of political pygmies which will soon fade into nothingness, after six leaders in 16 months, the latest being the hapless Farage-backed Henry Bolton. If Farage had had better leadership qualities, things could now be very much rosier for the party.  
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