While Nigel Farage has adopted several guises over his public career, the 30-second video bouncing around social media this week presented a notably different image of the former leader of Ukip and the Brexit party.
“Leave means leave! Adoption means adoption!” Farage says into a camera, as disembodied digital emblems begin to float around him. “Basic attention token is now a DeFi powerhouse!”
If this means little to you – which for the majority of people it did – Farage was talking up the prospects of a specialist kind of cryptocurrency known as a “security token”. DeFi means “decentralised finance”, another term for the wider sector.
There is another twist: aides to Farage say that rather than hawking cryptocurrencies now he has quit frontline politics, the video was a heavily embellished and edited version of one first produced for another reason. The original footage came from Cameo, an increasingly popular website where people can pay for brief video messages of their choice from a roster of celebrities – Farage now among them.
Messages from Farage cost £75-£15, less than Lewis MacLeod, an actor who will deliver your message as Boris Johnson but 75p more than ex-Donald Trump aide Sebastian Gorka. He enjoys near-universal five-star reviews, one this week reading: “Many thanks – Grandma is thrilled!”
Cameo is among an increasingly complex portfolio career put together by Farage since he stepped down earlier this month as the leader of Reform UK, the re-named Brexit party, which he had led to victory in the UK’s 2019 European elections.
Farage is still engaged in activism, which he has said will focus on the influence of China and on “the woke agenda”. He regularly produces news-based videos, and in December co-formed a video production company called Farage Media.
He is also the public face of and occasional contributor to an investment newsletter named Fortune and Freedom, which discusses financial issues. While the company behind it is registered with the Financial Conduct Authority, the newsletter is not, and stresses it does not give formal advice.
Why the sudden diversification? One answer is simply that Farage has more time. But another is likely to be reduced revenue in other areas, notably media punditry. Farage largely financed his Brexit party leadership through a weekly show on LBC radio, but this ended last July, a departure some linked to his trenchant views on subjects such as Black Lives Matter.
Farage has also been a prolific commentator on rightwing US television particularly during the Trump era. In 2018 it emerged he had declared between £524,000 and £700,000 in media earnings over the previous four years. However, with Trump gone, opportunities have reduced.
Any worries about penury for the now-ex politician are, of course, relative. His long stint as an MEP qualified Farage for a £73,000 annual pension and a £150,000 final payoff, and he has reportedly enjoyed the largesse of much richer friends.
Defenders of Farage argue that he mortgaged his house twice to help finance the earlier days of Ukip, and that he has significant commitments related to one divorce, another separation and four children.
But whether in or out of politics, Farage is nothing if not someone capable of hustling – meaning the financial newsletters and paid-for video messages are unlikely to mark the end of his ventures.
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