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Digital Subscriptions > Prospect Magazine > January 2017 > Cheque-book democracy

Cheque-book democracy

Arron 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 stripes

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.”

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About Prospect Magazine

In Prospect’s January issue: Adam Tooze and Francis Fukuyama examine the “American Century.” Tooze says that the 1917 opened the door to the future because the US seized the chance to lead, rather than for the Russian Revolution. Fukuyama says that the US has fallen from its perch, a change embodied by the election of Donald Trump. Anna Blundy puts Samuel Pepys on the couch and uses his diaries to psychoanalyse the Restoration’s chronicler. Also in this issue: Chris Bickerton examines the rise of populist parties across Europe, Peter Tatchell and Malcolm Rifkind debate whether the Uk should stop pretending Trump’s US can be its best friend, Philip Collins reviews a collection of Brexit books and DJ Taylor examines Alan Bennett’s diaries.
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