Guido intends to review all the Brexit books by Christmas. Last weekend Guido consumed “The Bad Boys of Brexit“ by Arron Banks (polished and edited by Isabel Oakeshott). Overall it reads like a pacy diary, Arron’s sense of humour and mischief coming through admirably. There are of course lots of scores settled and much is glossed over. It is the truth as he no doubt sees it.
The book is full of funny anecdotes, a common thread is one of hangovers and campaign rows. Arron’s sense of self is that he is an outsider and a challenger to the establishment. Readers will be in no doubt that a combination of his impulsiveness and chippiness is part of how he got into politics at this level (plus the ability to pony up a million quid after being slighted by William Hague).
First a quibble. Arron repeatedly claims to have created a massive million strong social media campaign and support – based on having more Facebook likes than the Labour Party, Vote Leave or Stronger In. Is that for real? These are not members, donors or activists, they are people who have clicked “like” or signed up for an email. If Arron believes this is a solid basis of a new people’s movement he is being badly advised.
Arron naturally sees the referendum campaign from his position at the centre of the Leave.EU campaign. Anecdote after anecdote shows that they very rarely managed to generate good publicity. The campaign was at times as inept as UKIP’s ground campaigns, which he himself recognises as amateurish. Despite it all they still won.
They were good at organising high profile events with Nigel as the main draw. Nigel was a star campaigner and could reach places that Tories would never have reached. The official Vote Leave campaign in the end complimented the efforts of Leave.EU. By not focusing on immigration Vote Leave gave permission to voters to vote to leave who would not otherwise have been comfortable with being tainted as racist, however unfairly, with an immigration-only focused campaign. The official Vote Leave campaign was consciously relying on the tabloids to make all the running on immigration. Arron’s Leave EU wanted to put the issue front and centre, on this the two campaigns were irreconcilable.
The background account of the Trump meeting where Nigel Farage stumped for the Donald from the platform is fascinating. All in all the book is worth the money.
Between now and the end of the yuletide book buying season we are going to track the Brexit book battle to see who is making sales. Arron’s book has moved up to third place.
Amazon Rank / Title /Author
It’ll all be over by Christmas…