This week the Guardian added more colour and detail to the picture that, along with the Observer, it has been revealing for months. Specifically, it published details of the lucrative goldmining deal that was dangled by the Russian ambassador in front of Arron Banks, the main donor behind Leave.EU, in the lead-up to the Brexit vote. Readers can now see for themselves the tempting PowerPoint presentation Moscow made to Banks – opening with a slide of shimmering gold bars, complete with Cyrillic engraving, alongside a Russian flag.
At the very least, you would think the UK government might be curious as to why Putin’s top diplomat in London would favour Banks not only with multiple meetings – four at last count, though Banks used to say they had met only once – but with such exclusive “opportunities not available to others”, to quote the pitch document. Banks says he didn’t take up the golden offer, which included a promise of support from a Kremlin bank, much as Trump says the Trump Tower meeting between his son and Russian representatives promising dirt on Hillary Clinton “went nowhere”. But that is hardly the point. Given that Banks has never explained the precise source of the £9m he gave to the Brexit campaign – the largest single donation in UK political history – the fact that the Russians lavished such preferential attention on him requires explanation, starting with: what exactly did they expect in return?
Bloke who looks at pitch documents for a living is shown pitch document. Therefore we shouldn’t leave the EU.
A very small part of being an entrepreneur is in trying to find the people to run the business, businesses, which one already owns. It’s the essential step in stopping being a one man band and making that leap into corporate oligarch. A slightly larger amount of time will be spent in considering which of the things that one already does are things that one should stop doing. When to sell a profitable set up, when to close down and abandon one not working and so on. But the vast majority of time will be spent considering what should be done next. Sifting through the sea of deals on offer to uncover that rare valuable nugget amongst the fool’s gold.
Being successful at this level is about having that nose for that nugget. It also means reading and being pitched upon an awfully large amount of the most utter dross.