The threatened lawsuit from alleged “Man who bankrolled Brexit” Arron Banks against the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr appears to be a campaign destined to develop not necessarily to his advantage. Not only has Banksy chosen a distinctly sticky track on which to bat, he has once again shown that he is not as rich as he would like his fans to believe - and, most likely, not rich enough to bung millions to the Leave campaign.
Banks’ latest lawyers Kingsley, Napley had sent Ms Caswalladr a letter marked “Private and Confidential” and “Not for publication”, but had bust that by tipping off the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who told readers “Banks says he took no money and he has no covert relationship”. Ms Cadwalladr didn’t say he did take money (from the Russians), merely that he was offered it.
Worse, the Banks attack has the disadvantage that the Commons DCMS Committee has already concluded “Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore have misled the Committee on the number of meetings that took place with the Russian Embassy”, and speaking of his pal Wiggy, “Mr Banks seemed to want to hide the extent of his contacts with Russia, while his spokesman Andy Wigmore’s statements have been unreliable - by his own admission - and cannot be taken at face value. Mr Wigmore is a self-confessed liar and, as a result, little significance can be attached to anything that he says”. Ouch!
Could it get worse? As if you need to ask. The supposedly super rich Banks is now passing round the begging bowl to fund his legal action. I kid you not: Ron Hopeful (for it is he) has told the Brexiteer headbanger faithful “as a result of our huge success, we have acquired some powerful enemies in the political establishment”. Do go on.
“Leave.EU has been under constant attack by the Establishment, the media, and from organisations funded by the likes of George Soros”. Whiff of anti-Semitism there. So what’s he driving at? “At a convention earlier this month, the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr made direct claims that I had been offered cash by the Kremlin to campaign for independence”. Offered cash full stop. Independence my arse.
There was more. “Legal letters have gone out demanding an apology and any damages will be donated to the Brexit Party”. Yes? Yes yes? Yes yes yes?
Under that is the begging box, proclaiming “Help us defend Brexit and sue the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr for defamation … DONATE HERE”. Two things here. One, going after Ms Cadwalladr is not going to defend Brexit, or indeed anything. And Two, Banksy just admitted once more that he is either a shameless grifter, or not as rich as he pretends.
It doesn’t help that the latest Banks campaign - to get Tory minister David Gauke deselected - failed last night. “Tomorrow we claim our first Cabinet scalp as @DavidGauke is up for deselection in South West Herts … Bless! @DavidGauke asks Michael Gove to write a letter of support to his local members, begging them not to deselect him in tomorrow's confidence vote … There’s not a hope in hell of them changing their mind, David. Tomorrow we get our first Cabinet scalp!” claimed the Leave EU Twitter feed.
Gauke won that vote. And Banksy’s entryists lost. Not a good omen, eh Banksy?
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