The Fun of Brexit

Arron Banks looks out proudly and pugnaciously from the cover of Bad Boys of Brexit like a character in a Hogarth engraving, flanking the equally Hogarthian Nigel Farage in a photo taken as Farage faced the globe’s agog media on the auspicious morning of June 24, 2016.  The four men pictured—Banks, Farage, Richard Tice, and Andrew Wigmore—look rumpled, tired, and unshaven, but deeply happy, a natural reaction from the adrenalized, unexpected victors of one of the bitterest battles in recent British political history.  For Farage, Brexit was the culmination of 25 years of unstinting campaigning, years filled with controversy and contumely—but he would probably never have had that moment’s supreme satisfaction had it not been for the men around him, perhaps especially the stocky, dark-haired man to his right who appears to be trying to suppress a gargantuan laugh.

Banks, 51, is John Bullishly English: class conscious, combative, commonsensical, generous, impatient, opinionated, slightly philistine, sturdily patriotic, tough, and vigorous, just the phenotype Hogarth envisioned living in Beer Street.  He had only known Farage for two years, and their first meeting did not go very smoothly, but from the outset he recognized Farage’s special qualities and realized that working with him would be mutually beneficial, and potentially world-altering.  When not...

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