• Morgan Fagg

Wheeler Dealer

The Ultimate Gambler

Stuart Wheeler is gambling on the future because that's what he has done all his life.

I had never heard of this man until yesterday when I saw a BBC Hardtalk interview with him. He has made his money and invested heavily in Brexit and is still seen as one of the top donors for UKIP, Tory and Brexit parties.

He is betting on the pound and Britain but while he has made his money on the Stock Exchange through his financial services company, his past sounds more like a card shark.

He has been lucky not to have lost his shirt in the past and proudly tells tales from his Bridge playing days but in a few days we will find out if his luck has finally ran out.

His book is called "Winning Against the Odds, My life in Gambling and Politics" and the fact that he shows no remorse for taking risks in his life and that the word gambling comes before politics in the title tells me all I need to know about the man funding the Leave Campaign.

Wheeler never ran for politics himself but is famous for making the largest donation to a British political party in history when he gave five million pounds to the Conservatives.

Stuart Wheeler thinks England has a good hand to play and he is waiting for Europe to show their cards but as someone who has never played poker but lost enough playing roulette, I can imagine that England doesn't hold all the cards at a table with 27 other players.

Yes England has a Queen and maybe an Ace up their sleeve but even if England was only playing against one other country, Spain for example has two kings and two queens.

If I was England I wouldn't bet my fortune on Prince Edward or the joker Boris Johnson and I am reminded of the film Casino Royale where MI6 puts James Bond in a high stakes poker game.

The terrorists will either lose all their money and need England's help or as is pointed out by Vesper Lynn (who later runs of with the pot of money) they will finance terrorism based on a game of chance.

This gamble might pay off but I wonder if this gambler realises that many men have lost the plot on a good hand. Lost their homes and families too. England might want to invest in some good card players like MI6 did in Casino Royale but as confident as James Bond was, he lost it all.

James Bond survived when a "brother from Langley" offered him a couple of million to continue the game as the Americans didn't have a good hand either. Felix Leiter points out that the CIA has big pockets and can help out but in the second Daniel Craig film, Quantum of Solace, the CIA is happy to see the British agent eliminated when he pokes his nose in big business which has already cut a deal with Langley. Felix points out that the company is getting into bed with some dodgy partners but his section chief dismisses his naive approach.

Boris Johnson is happy to make a deal with the Americans but will the States help their allies and former rivals or betray them when the markets favour a better deal.

Like many people watching this addictive gambling taking place and getting out of hand, I'm out and we will see if the United Kingdom folds. We might find out he has more pennies than cents, provided the pound doesn't drop much lower than 1:1.15 rate it is at today.

Here is an interesting review of his book by bookdepository.com

Winning Against the Odds tells the fascinating, eccentric story of one of England's most fascinating and eccentric men.

Stuart Wheeler went to Eton and Oxford. He was an officer in the Welsh Guards, a barrister, an investment banker and a major donor to the Conservative Party. You might think that he has led a life of impeccably conformist upper-class respectability. You'd be wrong.

For Wheeler is also an illegitimate child adopted at the age of two, a maverick businessman who made his fortune on the back of `the most brilliant idea that anyone had had of his generation' and a devoted gambler who has been thrown out of more than one Las Vegas casino. He played cards with Lord Lucan two nights before his infamous disappearance, effectively invented spread-betting with the creation in 1974 of IG Index and gave William Hague's Conservatives GBP5 million (still the biggest political donation in British history) before being expelled from the Tories, joining UKIP and becoming a key figure in Vote Leave during the Brexit referendum campaign.

Forthright, principled and always entertaining, Winning against the Odds is a story of bets won and lost, of outrageous personalities and dramatic events, and of a singular mind that engages with the world around it in a completely unique and compelling way.

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