"A Very British Insurgency" My review of The Bad Boys of Brexit
Tuesday, December 13, 2016
It's been a while since I've written a blog as things have been exceptionally busy. I spent my summer preparing for two huge life events.
One, the arrival of my baby boy (which at 49 years old with two grown up children was both exciting and daunting)
Two, equally exciting and daunting, was the EU referendum the importance of which saw me come out of my self-imposed political retirement to head up VOTE LEAVE campaigns in two constituencies.
By the end of June, my lad Harry was safely here and we the people of the UK had delivered our glorious victory.
We had voted to take back control of our country from the wretched, socialist protection racket that is the European Union.
Job well done, I thought, now I can head back into splendid isolation.
Since then of course, we've had the relentless screaming and bottom lip antics of the 'remoaners' and their endless quest to keep us from actually triggering the now infamous Article 50 and leaving the EU.
The remoaners, led by the hopeless and nauseating cabal of treacherous opportunists have spent the last six months openly pissing all over our democracy and defying the will of the people.
They claim, amongst other things, that 17.4 million leave voters didn't understand what they were voting for. Seriously?
Well I tell you that these antics have not deflated me, although I fear I will mirror the Nigel Farage revolving door of political retirement in the not too distant future.
In addition to the election of Donald Trump as U.S President I have also found great solace and humour in...
The Bad Boys of Brexit: Tales of Mischief, Mayhem & Guerrilla Warfare in the EU Referendum Campaign
This is perhaps one of the funniest and most refreshingly honest books I have ever read. It certainly ranks up there with Don't Cry for me Sergeant Major, a story of two journalists and the stories they tell amongst war and loss about the 1982 Falklands War.
The Bad Boys of Brexit is the personal story of Arron Banks (Banksy) as he is known, (the political donor not the one who paints the multi-million pound murals) who created Leave.EU.
If you want a flavour of his personality at the back of the book he explains there's no index so you bloody read it.
Banks gives a brilliant insight into the drive and patriotism of a very successful businessman who made such a huge and decisive contribution with his faithful sidekick Wiggy (Andy Wigmore) and Tice (Richard Tice - The dashing media guy) They take us on an adventure somewhere between Around the World in Eighty Days and Carry On Campaigning!
The two men I began to call Bankys Fogg and Passpertout Wiggy travel the world, Belize, Bermuda, Africa, America, Australia and beyond for a year on business and jaunts because they're self-made millionaires and because they, well, can.
Their antics and people they meet on their Brexit journey whether at formal functions or in the local pub add to a very entertaining and refreshingly honest account of the Brexit campaign.
Banksy gives very candid accounts of working with people he had very little time for. His stories about funding the Grass Roots Out Campaign and of the two Tory MPs, in the form of "grey" Peter Bone and "non-entity" Tom Pursglove, spare no-one and are priceless.
Two of these accounts stand out for me. They go and meet a senior freemason in the hope of raising money but end up being shouted at for sitting on a throne, talking about conspiracy theories and smashing a 300 year old silver wand.
The second is the ambitious headache of trying to organise the Brexit version of Live Aid which was abandoned as acts realised what they had signed up for and started backing out. To be honest the book is worth a read just for those two stories alone.
However, there is a serious angle.
Banks is a man who rattles cages, a man who with very little political experience created and oversaw one the most effective and brilliant social media campaigns of our time. A sharp man and someone not to be underestimated.
The Bad Boys of Brexit battle with the established and official Vote Leave campaign as they attempt to sideline Nigel Farage.
Banksy's description of Farage at times is great - "there is or can be no upside to this" is a line Farage relays to Banksy and Wiggy when they sail close to the wind.
But Banksy pays a rightful and fulsome tribute to Nigel Farage for his remarkable political achievements over the last twenty five years.
As someone who headed a local VOTE LEAVE campaign and worked closely with Leave.EU and GO activists I never experienced the tensions taking place at the national level.
I can't help wondering though if our winning vote of 52% would have been much higher had VOTE LEAVE embraced Banksy, Wiggy, Tice and Farage using all their undoubted talent, instinct and political nous.
So in summary it's funny, entertaining, honest, insightful and simply brilliant.