Who is Nigel Farage's political soulmate? Meet senator Rand Paul

Guy Bentley
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The maverick senator challenging the Republican establishment (Source: Getty)

Nigel Farage's new book - The Purple Revolution - gives the definitive inside account as to how a party once on the fringes of British politics came to be a major player on the national stage, told by the man who arguably made it all happen.

Among the revelations of how Ukip managed to snag two Tory MPs and how several near death experiences have influenced his politics, the book shines a light on which politicians Farage admires today.

In the past, Farage has spoken warmly of Conservative politicians Enoch Powell, Keith Joseph and Margaret Thatcher. But as a scourge of today's mainstream parties who Farage claims are all social democrats, it's hard to see who in contemporary British politics Farage could considered to be in agreement with.

Perhaps that's why Farage looks to Washington, rather than Westminster to find ideological allies. During a visit to Washington DC, Farage met Republican Kentucky senator Rand Paul.

"Over the course of that half-hour, I realised that in Rand Paul I had found my political doppelgänger", Farage wrote in the Telegraph.

"I liked Paul enormously: he is a realist, he is down to earth and very modest". Farage, clearly impressed with the Paul, added " I left the meeting thinking that Rand was a man I could do business with in the future – there are plenty within the Tea Party with whom I could not.

So who is this junior senator that Nigel Farage considers his political soulmate?

Rand Paul, elected to the US senate in 2011, comes from a political family. His father, Ron Paul, is a former congressman from Texas, who stood for President three times. Twice on the Republican ticket and once for the Libertarian party.

A staunch libertarian, Paul argued that the only purpose of government is to protect the rights to individual rights of life, liberty and property. Rand shares many of his father's libertarian leanings, with a deeply suspicion of government intervention into the economy and passion for advancing open markets and lower taxes.

Paul cites novelist Ayn Rand and economist Friedrich Hayek as a few of the central characters who have shaped his political views. However, he is is not your typical right-wing Republican. A strong contender for the party's Presidential primary, Paul is attempting to shift the GOP away from its dogmatic adherence to a neoconservative foreign policy and ever greater defence spending.

While not in favour of full drug legalisation, Paul has advocated criminal justice reform to stop minor drug users being imprisoned and insists states like Colorado that have legalised recreational marijuana should be allowed to experiment.

Like Farage, Paul has is no stranger to controversy. During an interview in 2010, Paul qualified his support for the Civil Rights Act saying he was concerned about forcing private businesses not to discriminate. He said public bodies should not be allowed to discriminate on racial grounds and that private businesses that did would lose out because of public outrage.

The Republican establishment bitterly opposed Paul's candidacy for the Senate, but a wave of Tea Party and grass-roots support carried the him into office. There is little doubt Rand Paul will stand for President in 2016, running on a pro-freedom agenda with a focus on expanding the GOP's base and shifting the party's stance on foreign policy.

Polls so far out from the primaries mean little at the moment but the consensus among pundits remains that Paul will fail to win his party's nomination. However, with a strong campaign infrastructure inherited from his father and enthusiastic base of young supporters the libertarian senator could prove to be the successful insurgent Nigel Farage so admires.

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