The odds were long against the Leave campaign, but the men around Nigel Farage somehow came up winners.
Behind the luxury hotels lining London’s Park Lane, just across from a service entrance, Nigel Farage stood outside a squat office building streaked with soot. Britain’s famous anti-European Union campaigner was flanked by a couple of minor sports celebrities and two young women in matching dresses who held up a blue ribbon. Farage lifted a pair of scissors and paused with a smile, mouth agape, his face frozen for the cameras in a silent chortle.
It was Sept. 29, 2016, three months after the U.K.’s shock vote to exit the EU, and Farage was the guest of honor at the opening of a small bookmaking shop owned by a man who calls himself “the most exclusive private bookmaker in the world.” Ben Keith and his operation, Star Sports, specialize in high-end, high-profile clients. Keith, a diehard Farage supporter, was in the picture too, next to his idol.