Nigel Farage dodged a bullet back in 1986, when he said he was too busy to take part in an episode of the documentary series Forty Minutes that became notorious. In the Fishing Party, four total twits on a jaunt to Scotland blasted their shotguns at sea gulls, drank prodigiously and offered their unpleasant views on the poor.

If Farage had as planned been there with his friends, who were rewarded after the screening with obloquy and discredited by weeks of merciless and somewhat unfair media mockery, would he have ever become leader of UKIP and engineered the surge that pushed David Cameron into holding a referendum? Probably not.

No Farage-run UKIP, no referendum, no Brexit. On such strange quirks history sometimes turns.

In my latest column for The Times I try to place what Farage achieved as UKIP leader in historical context, citing a classic episode of Only Fools and Horses and the impact made by the SDP. That breakaway party made New Labour possible, which begat the Tory modernising movement.

I am no fan of UKIP, but it had an even bigger impact. Not that it won the referendum. Disliked by moderates, it came close to losing the referendum with is ego-maniacal antics.

But there would have been no referendum without Farage, because. UKIP changed the course of history. Quite an achievement.

And now? Next? I try to answer that in ‎my column. Which you can read here.