Another day, another little local difficulty for the alleged “man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks, this time over a charity he had set up. As with so much else concerning Banksy and his pals, the investigative journalism is thorough and incisive, deals in facts, asks hard questions, and in reply Banks blusters, obfuscates, smears, and indulges in a variety of puerile abuse. But his problem can be put very directly.
Open Democracy has the story of how “The regulator found a ‘serious flaw’ in how the Love Saves the Day Foundation was managed and administered, with trustees including Banks and Leave.EU chief executive Liz Bilney, failing to properly account for all charitable funds”. Ms Bilney, another to threaten legal action but not actually instigate it, is already under investigation by the Electoral Commission over potential lawbreaking.
But what of Banks’ charity? “Love Saves the Day was set up in 2015. The charity’s website reported charitable work worth hundreds of thousands of pounds taking place around the world, including in Lesotho and Belize. But a Charity Commission investigation - opened after media reports of Banks’s Brexit spending - found that the charity’s trustees ‘were not properly accounting for all charitable funds’. The charity’s published accounts showed no income or expenditure” [my emphasis].
Banks, as might be expected, produced a fog of deflection and whataboutery in his defence. “How I choose to make donations to charity is my business and my business only, in the case of Love Saves the Day, it was set up in support the many charities I choose to donate to year on year. It was closed due to difficulties with the supporting law firm acting as a trustee.” That fails to explain the empty accounts.
Nor does it account for all charitable funds. Merely because Banks is doing most of the donating does not mean he can create his own rules. So the investigations will continue. In the meantime, Banksy and Wiggy have tried to shake off their pursuers by, you guessed it, being abusive to them. But they are convincing no-one.
Wiggy went off on one at someone acknowledging Carole Cadwalladr’s receipt of the Orwell Prize: “because even the @BBCNews and every other sensible journalist can see there is NO evidence - it’s not a Story it’s a fantasy to try and undermine Brexit - stop sniffing that glue”. Health and addiction smear: check!
Banksy kicked MEP Richard Corbett over dark money allegations: “For dark money Read money from a UK taxpayer, unlike the Remain groups funded by George Soros ( ex Nazi collaborator ). Now piss off !” He’ll be buggered if Soros takes him to the cleaners.
Then came his claim of how much he had donated to charity, as he went for John Sweeney: “It also says there was no financial mismanagement. Half truths and lies , are the standard for people like you. I donated £1m directly ito children hospitals, churches, and local sports clubs. What have you ever done to justify being a sanctimonious twat!”
But after another mental health smear, this time at his own MEP Molly Scott Cato, Louis Barfe punctured Banks’ braggadocio, telling him “You are shitting yourself”. And Barfe knows what Private Eye has got on The Great Man. Not waving but drowning, again.