While Americans celebrated the Founding Fathers’ successful fight for independence on Monday, back in the mother country, modern British leaders provided an equally inspirational lesson for the kids: If you make a huge mistake, just run away and let other people clean up the mess. Following in the footsteps of David Cameron and Boris Johnson, Nigel Farage — one of the lead campaigners for Brexit — announced that he will be stepping down as the leader of the U.K. Independence Party. “The victory for the ‘Leave’ side in the referendum means that my political ambition has been achieved,” Farage explained in a statement. “I came into this struggle from business because I wanted us to be a self-governing nation, not to become a career politician.”
Farage went on to acknowledge that the terms of Britain’s withdrawal from the EU are unclear (or as some put it, chaotic and deeply concerning), but that’s not his problem. “I now feel that I’ve done my bit, that I couldn’t possibly achieve more,” he told reporters. “It’s right that I should now stand aside as leader. What I said during the referendum campaign is I want my country back. What I’m saying today is I want my life back. And it begins right now.”
Farage helped found UKIP after leaving the Conservative Party in 1992 to protest the signing of the Maastricht Treaty, which created the European Union as we know it. He assumed leadership of the party — which Cameron famously dismissed as a collection of “fruitcakes, loonies, and closet racists” — in 2006, and it was pressure from UKIP and Euroskeptic Conservatives that led to Cameron holding a referendum on the U.K.’s membership in the EU.
In the lead up to the referendum vote, the Leave campaign initially kept Farage at arms length, but as The Guardian reports, “But by the end of the campaign, Vote Leave ended up aping his message on controlling borders, borrowing his Believe in Britain slogan, and adopting his ‘elites v the people’ anti-establishment narrative, as the focus shifted from arguments about sovereignty and the economics of Brexit to warnings about immigration.” He still managed to stir up controversy in the final days of the campaign with a poster showing migrants entering Britain, which many felt was reminiscent of Nazi propaganda.
Those who only started paying attention to Brexit after the world started freaking out about its potential to tear apart the U.K. and spark another global recession may recognize Farage from this viral clip, in which he admits on the morning after the vote that leaving the E.U. does not mean £350 million per week will go toward the National Health Service — though, that was a central claim of the Leave campaign.
Nevertheless, Farage took a victory lap last week, declaring in a speech to the European Parliament: “Isn’t it funny? When I came here 17 years ago and I said that I wanted to lead a campaign to get Britain to leave the European Union, you all laughed at me. Well, I have to say, you’re not laughing now, are you? The reason you’re so upset, you’re so angry, has been perfectly clear, from all the angry exchanges this morning.”
We’ll let one-man European Union Christoph Waltz sum up the reaction Farage’s many critics had to his resignation: