While his pal Nigel “Thirsty” Farage has squandered the opportunity of an extended interview with the Telegraph by letting slip how much he hated his own party’s activists, and playing the victim by pretending that someone who trousers £85,000 a year - plus expenses - to pile off to Brussels, and while there swan around getting ratarsed on a variety of falling-over water, qualifies as “poor”, Arron Banks has also been busy.
Do you know you're standing on my foot?
UKIP’s best-known donor, whose recent Twitter excursions include picking an argument over the causes of the fall of the Roman Empire with, er, Mary Beard, one of the best-known historians specialising in the, er, fall of the Roman Empire (Banks, as may be expected, knew more than Ms Beard, and especially when it came to all those ghastly migrants Wot Done It), has also revealed his love for Russia.
Here, he joins the Combover Crybaby Donald Trump, the Italian Lega Nord, Netherlands Partei voor de Vrijheid, and French Front Nationale in a burgeoning love of the European populist far-right for Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin and his less than benign regime. And his willingness to spin in favour of the current Kremlin occupant is all too obvious.
“Russia is a Christian country now and not our enemy” he proclaims, managing to miss the tendency to worry and bully neighbouring countries, and even invade and annex some of them, not unlike the behaviour of the Soviet Union. Banks also misses that Putin has 16 years’ service in the KGB on his CV, and is well versed in abuse of political power, having served under Boris Nikolayevich Yeltsin before coming to power himself.
But Banks is not going to go there: after telling those observing accurately on the incipient corruption being practised by Trump “Seems you are a bad loser”, he’s back to talking out of his jacksy on Russia: “The Russians didn't invade Afghanistan, Iraq , destabilise Libya and cause the utterly predictable backlash of ISIS”. Bzzzzt! Oh yes they did!
Would Sir care to spin, backpedal or otherwise try worming out of that one? He certainly would: “Under soviet Russia obviously”. Given the current dispensation in Moscow, and their record of corruption, extra-judicial murder, effective suspension of democracy, and a variety of other moderately creative methods of bending the rules beyond the limits of elasticity, it would be interesting to see what difference there was.
Well, here goes: “The soviets invaded Afghanistan in case you noticed there have been a few changes in Russia since 1979”. Like, er, what? More corruption, maybe more violence, and plenty of direct and proxy wars going on, but at least there are smartphones, and more Western cars on the streets. Someone is too ready to forgive this dictatorship.
The Atlantic magazine clearly thinks Banks is a Putin pawn, and The Great Man is not at all happy: “The Atlantic called me a Russian actor / agent - I hardly think they should be relied on when it comes to their research”. Oh I dunno, that appears to have hit the nail smack on the head. At least they didn’t call him a dodgy insurance salesman.
Like much of the European far right, Arron Banks is a little too keen on the Russian way of doing things. I’d be wary about taking tea with him any time soon.