Banks has gone from Ukip donor to Trump tower. Now he wants to use his money to turn the rage of voters on to British politicians of all stripesby Sam Macrory / December 12, 2016 / Leave a comment
When it was announced, in September 2014, that Arron Banks was donating £100,000 to Ukip, William Hague dismissed the former Tory donor as “somebody we haven’t heard of.” Furious, Banks upped his donation to £1,000,000. “Now he knows who I am,” the Bristol-based businessman declared. And two years later, Banks was one of the very first Brits to meet President-Elect Donald Trump after his victory. Banks’s political influence and profile have come a long way. Perhaps inspired by Trump’s victory, he intends to go further still.
But his future plans are unlikely to include Nigel Farage, the kindred spirit with whom he shares a deep loathing of the European Union, whose political path he has—until now—followed, and all the way to Trump Tower. Today, however, Banks’s support for Ukip is “probably” over and, he said, Farage is “not a massive fan” of his plans for some novel form of disruptive movement.
Why not? “In many ways Nigel is quite cautious; as a politician I don’t think he quite sees the disconnect.” So he won’t be leading Banks’s new movement? “I think he’s done his bit,” Banks replies, laughing. “I shouldn’t think Nigel should assume he’s got the job. We all need a break. It’s been a hell of a 2016.”
Speaking ahead of Paul Nuttall’s recent election as Ukip leader, Banks sounded anything but enthusiastic. “They’re not Nigel, are they?” he dismissively replied when asked to weigh up the merits of Nuttall and the rival he defeated, Suzanne Evans. Ukip “needs inspirational leadership,” Banks said, “and I doubt it is going to get it.” This despite the fact he “quite likes” Nuttall; his loathing for Evans, by contrast, is such that he warns that if she assumed any senior role in the party, that would “hasten its demise.”
Banks, who has also talked of his hatred of David Cameron, finds Theresa May “uninspiring.” He is capable of enthusiasm, however. He founded and chaired the Leave.EU referendum group, pumping millions into a social media-driven campaign whose unabashed focus on immigration targeted disgruntled blue-collar voters. Banks’s “facts don’t work” approach was much-criticised, not least by the official Vote Leave campaign. But it played a considerable, perhaps decisive, role in Britain’s vote to leave…