It used to be said in this country that the key to success in politics was being the candidate with whom the registered likely voters would like to have a beer with. On the other side of the pond, this has never been quite so hard-and-fast a rule. While quaffing a few dozen pints with Nigel Farage is conceivable, and would give you the opportunity to punch him in the face, no one has ever wanted to sidle up to a bar with, say, Jacob Rees-Mogg, who in any case is perhaps a bit too grand to allow something so lower-class as ale to pass his lips.
That’s all a long way of saying that, while building a £250,000 stone palace to house one’s chickens might become an issue in an American congressional election, it’s no barrier at all to a political career in the U.K., which is full of parliamentary constituencies names things like "Chippenham" and "Mole Valley" and "Saffron Walden," and where until recently Boris Johnson was the third-ranking man in the whole country. This has Crispin Odey—notably a close friend of the aforementioned Rees-Mogg—thinking.
Odey, an outspoken right-winger who backed Brexit and has previously donated to the Tory Party, UKIP and the Vote Leave campaign, told Financial News he is so unimpressed with the performance of the current political class, he feels compelled to play a bigger part in public office.
"You suddenly realise you've got to become politically involved again," Odey said. "I've wasted my time making money for the last 30 years and watching the body politic getting worse and worse."
Notwithstanding the fact that he hasn’t exactly been making money for all of the last 30 years, it’s the kind of blissfully un-self-conscious statement that might almost qualify him for the American presidency, had he, like Johnson, been born here. Alas, Odey is not quite as lacking in self-awareness as it usually appears, and so we’ll not be hearing the speaker of the House of Commons call upon the Honorable Member for Cluckingham Palace any time soon.
“I know my limitations and others know them better than me!” the hedge fund manager said in an e-mail to Bloomberg News, downplaying a Financial News report that said he was looking to get more active in politics. “It is not true that I am planning to enter politics.”