Banks’ Flip Flop on Second Referendum

Arron Banks, 25 October 2015, opposes two referendums: “Suggesting two referendums is a cheap political trick and as a non-political campaign we support one referendum in or out”

Arron Banks, 18 January 2016, opposes two referendums: “The two referendum idea is a stunt by people who don’t think we can win. Nuts”

Arron Banks, 11 January 2018, calls for second referendum: “We always knew the Tories couldn’t be trusted to deliver Brexit. The cabinet is Solidly Remain & this fight will have to be re run”

Anything for a bit of publicity…

Electoral Commission Investigating Banks

The Electoral Commission says it is investigating Arron Banks in relation to donations and loans made during the referendum, specifically looking at Better for the Country Limited, the second largest donor to any of the referendum campaigns, which gave a total of £2,359,842.76 to a variety of leave-backing groups including Grassroots Out and UKIP. Banks is a director of Better for the Country Limited. The Commission described the scope of the probe:

Whether or not Better for the Country Limited was the true source of donations made to referendum campaigners in its name, or if it was acting as an agent. Whether the recipients of its donations were given the information required by PPERA in respect of the donor. What steps the recipients took to verify the identity and permissibility of Better for the Country Limited as a donor. Whether or not Mr Banks was the true source of loans reported by a referendum campaigner in his name. Whether those individuals and entities involved in that arrangement acted in accordance with PPERA. Whether any individual facilitated a transaction with a non-qualifying person.”

Looking for Roubles?

Banks has responded to the news characteristically, “Gosh I’m terrified”. The real problem for Banks is that he is currently trying to float other interests on the stock exchange. He won’t want a quasi-judicial investigation hanging over him…

UKIP Leader Runners and Riders

With Farage not running, a battle for UKIP’s soul is underway between the more classical liberal / libertarian old guard and populist anti-Islam elements who are accused of trying to infiltrate the party. As ever Guido gives you your runners and riders…

  • Peter Whittle: The bookies’ favourite, Whittle withdrew from last November’s contest to endorse Paul Nuttall, becoming his deputy. Likeable and a strong media performer (former TV producer and wonk). Whittle stands in opposition to the party’s more extreme new entrants and advocates for traditional Kipper identity: “I’ve always seen UKIP as a cultural movement“. The obvious successor…
  • Anne Marie Waters: Priced in at 4/1 as the second-favourite, Waters is a former hard-left Labour Party candidate turned hard-right founder of Sharia Watch UK. She was blocked from standing as a UKIP candidate at the general election (under UKIP’s leadership rules this could become an obstacle if she is deemed as not being in “good standing” for the past two years). She set up PEGIDA’s UK branch with Tommy Robinson, who introduced her at her leadership launch last month. Waters has called Islam “a killing machine“; Nuttall has condemned her and the party will split if she wins. Rumours that Waters is flooding UKIP with new members have been exaggerated. Will UKIP block her from standing?
  • David Kurten: London Assembly member Kurten impressed on the general election campaign and was clearly on top of his education brief. Well placed sources describe him as “talented“; he has made clear his intentions to further professionalise the party. First black leader of a UK political party?
  • David Coburn: Flamboyant Scottish MEP who says he is standing “to stop entryists, dilettantes and single issue loonies“. Pro-Farage and slammed Nuttall’s campaign, criticising him for being “extremely ill-advised“. A colourful outside bet… 
  • Ben Walker: The first candidate to declare a leadership bid, 38 year-old Bristol councillor Walker says he wants to return the party to the “grassroots” and claims the number one obstacle the party faces is “itself“. He described the 2017 manifesto as “a shambles“. Advocates a name change and total re-brand…
  • Chris Wells: Thanet Council leader who proposes re-focusing the party from Brexit to adult social care; said he wouldn’t stand if Farage did, and yet to rule himself out. Chances surely hurt by UKIP’s slump in South Thanet…
  • Bill Etheridge: UKIP MEP Etheridge had been tipped but told a local paper on Friday that he is unlikely to put himself forward for fear of splitting the moderate anti-Waters vote. He said: “Whoever is the best person to maintain Nigel Farage’s legacy will be the person I back. The true libertarians in the party will have to unite behind them to defeat the common threat.” All but ruled himself out…
  • John Rees-Evans: Faragist Rees-Evans, who came third in November’s race, once claimed a “homosexual donkey” tried to rape his horse. Apart from that, he is best-known for advocating direct democracy within the party, and boasts more than 70,000 twitter followers. Said to own a survivalist compound in Bulgaria where he has a shooting range (although he said this was an “exaggeration“) . Popular but a long shot?
Alas there is no “make UKIP great again” candidacy from Raheem Kassam, he reckons UKIP is dead and is concentrating on his stateside shock-jock career. All eyes are on what is going to happen with Waters. Her brand of socialist slash EDL-lite politics would certainly be a surprise to most UKIP members…

Arron Banks’s Man in Clacton Quits UKIP

Arron Banks’s favoured candidate in Clacton has quit UKIP after party HQ dropped him amid a storm over Muslim-bashing tweets. When Banks himself bottled standing in the seat back in April, he threw his support behind UKIP councilor Jeff Bray. Bray said on receiving the nomination:

“It didn’t hurt that I got the backing from Arron Banks after he decided not to stand. Arron came down here… he recognised we are doing a good job… He made the decision to back me, which was a huge honour.”

Bray’s selection has been a bit of a disaster after controversial tweets and a dodgy Facebook page were unearthed carrying his name:

Bray claimed he couldn’t remember the posts and suggested they had been manipulated, but today he has quit the party after he was dropped in favour of NEC member Paul Oakley. Bray said:

“I had the support of the local people and the national party have ignored this and chosen one of their own who told the meeting that all he knew about Clacton was that he had spent a holiday here when he was 10. The party has absolutely no chance of holding the seat.”

Arron’s man crashes and burns, UKIP have a mountain to climb in Clacton…

Friday Caption Competition (Shocking Edition)

Banks Bottles It

He’s not standing in Clacton after all:

I today met with all of the UKIP councillors in Clacton and senior party figures. 

It was a constructive meeting and it was great to see everyone come together. 

It’s clear that Douglas Carswell has been a hugely divisive figure and let a lot of people down in Clacton. 

The local branch of UKIP was full of genuinely decent people. One of the councillors, Mr Jeff Bray has put his name forward as a candidate for the seaside constituency at the forthcoming General Election. 

I have a consequently made the decision to withdraw my candidacy for the seat of Clacton. I will not be standing either as a UKIP candidate or as an independent. Instead, I am putting my full support behind Jeff Bray.

I have no intention of standing in the way of Hard working activists who are the soul of the party. 

Therefore, after visiting Clacton I believe it would be wrong of me to stand against Jeff in the forthcoming hustings.

Predictable, hardly anything Arron promises ever comes off…

Full list of things Arron has promised that never happened:

  • Judicial review of EU referendum designation
  • BPopLive
  • Hollywood movie about Brexit
  • Invoicing UKIP £200,000
  • Patriotic Alliance
  • Clacton candidacy
  • Pirate radio station in Clacton
  • Fielding candidates to oust 100 MPs
  • Draining the Swamp at the next election.
  • Suing Matthew Elliott CEO of the official Vote Leave

Take note Lobby hacks…

Arron Banks Standing in Clacton for UKIP

Arron Banks: “I Know Nothing About Clacton At All”


Arron Banks, who will stand against Douglas Carswell in Clacton, has admitted in an interview with BBC Radio Essex that he “knows nothing about Clacton at all.Strong start for the Patriotic Alliance…

Arron Banks Introduces “The Patriotic Alliance”

Arron Banks and his sidekick Andy Wigmore have tweeted the above image – remember Banks has previously talked about setting up a new movement called “The Patriotic Alliance” based on the model of Italy’s Five Star Movement, to gather Leave voters across traditional party lines. Banks says: “No nonsense policies that will knock the skin off a rice pudding”. The Patriotic Alliance shares its name with a South African political party founded by a convicted bank robber turned motivational speaker…

Arron Banks Says He’s Been Suspended By UKIP

Arron Banks says his UKIP membership has been suspended “apparently for saying the current leadership couldn’t knock the skin off a rice pudding”. Banks had told UKIP bigwigs that their lack of management credentials was akin to running a jumble sale, which went down about as well as his request to be made party chairman. Friends of Banks say UKIP wanted him to appear before the NEC “to be b*llocked”, to which Arron told them to “f**k off”. It is Banks’ view that the UKIP hierarchy have ultimately sided with Douglas Carswell over the Faragistas. UKIP sources counter that his membership lapsed earlier this year, remember Paul Nuttall said last month that Banks was not a member. Either way, Nuttall now has a rich, energetic enemy – Team Banks say of plans for a new party: “UKIP mark 2 – the movement is now in full speed ahead mode”…

UPDATE: How it played out on Twitter…

9:12am: Banks says he’s out:

9:19am: Carswell tweets apropos of nothing:

9:42am: Carswell clarifies:

Cheeky…

UPDATE II: Banks tells Guido the party “somehow managed to lapse my membership” and “on reapplying I was told the membership was suspended”.

Hacks Aired Farage-graph Concerns to Editor

“The Telegraph has become the Farage-graph”, declares ConHome this morning, as the paper puts yet another pro-Nigel, pro-Arron Banks story on its front page. The number of pro-Farage stories featuring on Telegraph front pages over the last few months has been notably disproportionate considering the relative size and significance of UKIP, and the fact Nige isn’t leader anymore. Added to that are Telegraph “Breakfast with Farage” events, not to mention op-ed after op-ed by Nigel. The new obsession is going down badly in the more liberal, metropolitan newsroom.

At a recent staff meeting, one brave journalist raised their hand and spoke about the recent Farage-centric coverage. The Barclays may like UKIP and they may host parties for Farage at the Ritz they mused, Telegraph readers however tend to be old Tories who don’t care much for the ‘Kippers. The concern in the newsroom is that the paper is running so many puff pieces for Farage and Banks because Banks is trying to buy the paper. Rumours have been circulating for months that Banks has been putting together a consortium of Brexit-backing donors to stump up the £250 million asking price – rumoured possible backers doing the rounds include Malcolm Pearson, David Stevens, Stuart Wheeler, Peter Cruddas and Michael Ashcroft. Asked if this was a possibility, Telegraph editor Chris Evans avoided the question and told his staff to follow the news. The prospect of a Banks-backed takeover has become the subject of gallows humour in the newsroom, though surely – without a lot of help – Arron just doesn’t have enough money?

Arron Banks Says He’ll Stand in Clacton Against Carswell

The UKIP feuding continues. Last week Arron demanded Nuttall made him UKIP’s party chairman or he will not donate any more money – a hostile take over offer rejected by Patrick O’Flynn. Last night he said he will stand against UKIP’s only MP, Douglas Carswell. Presumably for his new political movement…

The trigger for this is that Carswell is alleged by Banks to have blocked a knighthood for Nigel Farage. Carswell says on the contrary he spoke to the government Chief Whip Gavin Williamson – who holds considerable sway with the honours committee – in support of a knighhood for Nigel. Carswell joked in an email to Lord Pearson that maybe they should set their sights lower and aim for an OBE next time. This has enraged Farage and Banks who see it as more evidence that Carswell is a cuckoo in the UKIP nest – they are urging Nuttall to sack Carswell. As usual UKIP are fighting among themselves instead of their opponents…

Any rational observer might think that UKIP would be better off marshalling its limited resources towards winning another seat, not undermining UKIP’s 3,437 slim majority over the Tories in Clacton. Nuttall, who stood on a unity ticket, knows this…

O’Flynn Rejects Arron Banks’ Hostile UKIP Take-Over Offer

Nuttall Declares War on Banks

Paul Nuttall has publicly condemned Arron Banks for his Hillsborough comments and dismissed UKIP’s main donor as a non-party member. Remember Banks is a Faragista – and Faragistas do not get on with Nuttall. This is going to get very messy if Nuttall performs badly on Thursday…

Arron Banks Sues Over Russia Claims

Arron Banks is suing Washington-based think tank the Atlantic Council, which accused him of serving as a “key pro-Russian actor in the UK”. He’s unhappy with their report “The Kremlin’s Trojans”, which describes Banks and Leave.EU / Grassroots Out as having links with “pro-Russian figures”, namely UKIP and George Galloway. Banks says the report accuses him of being a “Russian agent” who is “clandestinely working for Russia”. Guido has had a quick read – the bit specifically about Banks doesn’t seem to make those claims, though the introduction does talk about “Trojan horses” working for the Kremlin. Banks is also suing 3 British MPs though his spinner says he cannot name them for legal reasons. Remember Banks himself wound the rumours up by claiming a “KGB man” took him to the Russian Embassy. Expect they will settle quickly…

Welcome “Westmonster”

Arron Banks is backing a new “anti-establishment” news and comment website to be run by Nigel Farage’s former spinner Michael Heaver. Westmonster” will apparently be “modelled on the Drudge Report”, so expect plenty of external links aggregating Brexit/UKIP news stories. This is Heaver’s second attempt at an aggregator website. Certainly interesting to see if it takes off – Heaver can tap into the social media following from Banks’ Leave.EU so he will be starting with a very decent Facebook presence. The site is not to be confused with the Westmonster which launched in 2007 and went bust a year or so later.

Westmonster will enter the crowded ideological media space ocupied by the likes of Breitbart London and Conservative Woman, offering op-eds and hot takes starting with Farage today. There is a niche for alt-right style viral news and opinion, and as Breitbart have found it brings a lot of trash traffic. Tough to maintain credibility while chasing those sorts of clicks though. So what can readers expect? Links in the Westmonster ‘trending’ section this morning include “Brits want burka banned”, its first blog rails against “wall-to-wall bitching and whining from Remoaners”Guido wishes them well…

Arron Banks Threatens to Sue CNN Over Red Gold Claim

Arron Banks tells Guido he is lawyering up after CNN analyst and Washington Post columnist Josh Rogin claimed live on air that Brexit, UKIP and Banks were funded by the Russians. Banks says:

“It’s already been handed over to my US lawyer – most of this stuff is fair enough but this is beyond the pail. [sic]”

This tall tale has been doing the rounds for months – Banks himself has wound the rumours up by claiming a “KGB man” took him to the Russian Embassy. Попкорн!

Brexit Book War Update

shippers-wins-all-out-brexit-amazon-rankings-war45

Guido is still getting throughAll Out War and has learnt a few things already. Review soon…

Amazon Rank / Title /Author

#484   All Out War Tim Shipman
#1394   Unleashing Demons Craig Oliver
#2099 The Bad Boys of Brexit / Arron Banks
#6715 The Brexit Club Owen Bennett
#44395 Brexit Revolt / Michael Mosbacher

All the Brexit book are on the up, except Sir Craig Oliver’s.

Brexit Book League Update

2brexit-amazon-rankings-war

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

#765   All Out War Tim Shipman
#883   Unleashing Demons Craig Oliver
#3716 The Bad Boys of Brexit / Arron Banks
#10280 The Brexit Club Owen Bennett
#66757 Brexit Revolt / Michael Mosbacher

It’ll all be over by Christmas…

Leave.EU-Backed Raheem Had Little Real Support, Despite Social Media Lead

raheem-twibons-ahead
The social media profiles of UKIP’s leadership candidates show Raheem Kassam was far ahead of his rivals before he pulled out this morning. The best indicator of online campaign support was the twibbon, where supporters add a campaign slogan to their social media profiles.[…] Read the rest

+ READ MORE +



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