Published On: Fri, Oct 11th, 2019

The Brexit Party, and the business of being on the gravy train in the name of being against that sort of thing

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There appears, of late, to be a tendency in corporate-media to have its consumership apprehend a general election in the not too distant future. Perhaps it will take place as soon as the Tory Executive achieves a scenario regarding Brexit that will favour the political party that UK Government (i.e. the financial-intelligence amalgam that actually rules Britain) wants to have form the next Executive: not necessarily, but very likely the Tories – for reasons explained hereabouts before†. The prospect of the continuation of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister would indicate that there is going to be an Article 50 treaty ratified before or after October 31 – most likely before‡, but if there is to be an extension it will be to grant time for the ratification. There isn’t going to be a no-deal Brexit; UK Government doesn’t want it, and legislation is in place (the Benn Act) to deny it. There is not going to be an extension caused by the failure to reach agreement with the EU – because that would harm Tory election chances. Not that any reaction in support of the Brexit Party will make any difference. It is not, in any imminent general election, going to get the percentage of support it did in the EU elections – another issueǂ already previously discussed at FBEL – which means very few if any seats will be won.

Indeed, anyone who votes for the Brexit Party will be sending a signal of support for the system by which a Tory Executive was elected: when one votes, one always votes for the winning party. But then, the primary function of the Brexit Party has always been to funnel disaffection back into the outlandishly corrupt British democratic process at the most dire moment of its exposure, and thus shore it up when it should be being put down [by withdrawal of consent; i.e. non-participation in elections]. At FBEL, the Brexit Party is called the Tory Placeholder party, and that is certainly what it did at the EU elections – again, as was discussed extensively in these pages. Just as there was no material benefit to the average Briton who wants his country to leave the EU from voting for the Brexit Party in the EU elections, there will be none from voting the same way in a national general election.

In fact, even if the UK Government had a plan that entailed the Brexit Party forming a majority in the Commons, that same voter would still not reap any benefit because the Brexit Party is controlled opposition (again, discussed extensively here at FBEL). Of course, lately the Brexit Party is overtly and categorically for a “clean-break Brexit”, and has even taken to using the term (that looks very much as if it was) coined at FBEL: “Fake Brexit”. Heaven forbid that anyone should remember that on EU election night, and in the days following, the Brexit Party made a lot of noise about being allowed access to the process of negotiating a Brexit deal with the EU.

And even if the Brexit Party was not controlled opposition, that same voter should be aware of the prospect of electing yet another shyster cut from the exact same material already presented as an option, but only in a slightly different colour (we started to go into this in the article Brexit Party fulfils its primary role after all: by-election turnout improves at Peterborough). Maybe the same voter would say “it doesn’t matter, as long as the Brexit Party delivers the exit from the EU that I want”, but how could he know for sure that this new shyster’s primary motivation had anything to do with the promises being made in return for support. Do not forget that the Brexit Party wanted to take part in negotiations for the Article 50 treaty before they started so comprehensively started selling Fake Brexit as a product.

The idea of the Brexit Party appealing as best it can to customers (that happen to be a portion of an electorate) is key, because the Brexit Party, as well as being apparatus to maintain election turnouts, can be considered a business disguised as a political party. Perhaps business is too kind a word, because everything about the Brexit Party smacks of the ways of the greasy pole and the kickback. Would it surprise the reader to know that recently the Brexit Party had to expel one of its MEPs for using his elevation into the European Parliament to promote his private financial interests?

The Sun appears to report that Nigel Farage himself told Sky News that Andrew Kerr had made “comments about a business and a product that he has a direct financial investment in and we think that’s unacceptable.” He also said of Kerr:

He is an MEP but he also is a shareholder in several businesses.

And in our view one or two of the things he’s said and done as an MEP could be seen to potentially have brought him personal gain through his business.

Given the fact that lots of Brexit Party MEPs have second and sizeable incomes other than that which comes with the role of European legislator, maybe it is entirely reasonable to say that Kerr’s punishment was due to his indiscretion rather than his activity. Recently, data was published regarding the declared income of MEPs from secondary, separate interests other than their parliamentary work. When organised as a list of the highest earners through to the lowest, the Brexit Party had 19 out of its 29 MEPs in the top 100 (out of 748 entries) – so 65% of Brexit Party MEPs are in the top 13% of earners. There are 11 Brexit Party MEPs in the top 50, and 5 in the top 10. Ironically, these 5, actually being in the top 7, mean that 17% of Brexit MEPs are in the top 1% [and 71% of the 1% is the Brexit Party].

The Guardian summed up the scale of the Brexit Party’s external interest worth, and the implications for it, all in one opening paragraph:

Brexit party members earn more from second jobs than any other group in the European parliament, according to transparency campaigners who are warning about potential conflicts of interest.*

Fascinatingly, it was a matter of days after The Guardian ran its story that Kerr got the boot, perhaps indicating a good deal of sensitivity in Brexit Party board-level leadership about the general issue of rich men abusing an electorate, or being found out while at it. Of course, it goes without saying that on its own, the individual wealth of Brexit Party MEPs as gleaned from other jobs and business ownership is not an issue. The problem is the potential elevation of rogues into positions whereby further enrichment can be got. One cannot also help but wonder how it is that such a permutation of Brexit Party candidates and then MEPs came into existence. As we shall see, the Brexit Party has no membership by which to select its prospective representatives. If Brexit MEPs just bought their candidature, it’s only Nigel Farage and a pitiful number of others who could deny it.

But then, Nigel Farage has straight out admitted that the Brexit Party is run like a business: “the Brexit Party is set up and is being run like a company”. This is what he reportedly told Channel 4 News. Now, one could defend Farage by saying that he means to run the Brexit Party efficiently, and for evidence, point to something else that was said: “having had the misery of 26 years in a party run by its voluntary wing, and seen its inability to take the right decisions”. The reference is to UKIP – but Farage is not fair to use that party to rationalise the approach with his new enterprise. UKIP’s weaknesses, and how they were exploited to infiltrate and run disruption, are a matter for a separate essay. But to cut a long story short, arguably any problems that Farage, by his experience, could anticipate could no doubt be avoided by a carefully crafted constitution. So, perhaps there is another reason for the rationale.

If a political party is defined as an organisation where those who pay subs in return for membership (Farage’s disliked “voluntary wing”) have any say in policy decisions, then the Brexit Party is not one. As the saying goes, if it walks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, then it’s a duck. And given that the Brexit Party Limited is registered with Companies House, and that Farage says the organisation is run as a business, then the Brexit Party, registered with the Electoral Commission only after its Limited alter ego was already extant, is evidently a business. Maybe it is even run to create “profit” for “shareholders”.

There is no membership of the Brexit Party – there are only “registered supporters” who stump up cash and do not get to have a stake in the organisation. We might call them customers, and the idea of “clean-break Brexit” is the product they are currently being sold. There is, however, a facility for people who can pay £100 per month: membership of a VIP club that offers “invitations to exclusive party events”. This reads like special access to the party’s head-honchos. UKIP did have something similar, but then it also had a National Executive Committee. The poor, thus inconsequential, can certainly be excused for thinking that it looks like the Brexit Party leadership only spares room to be influenced by high-rollers – or at least people who have a ton a month to lavish quite so extravagently (these days quite the same thing). MEPs might be considered “shareholders” too, as well as employees on a consulting basis, salaries paid by tax payers. And then there is the Brexit Party leadership, which according to The Guardian (which has seen the party’s constitution), consists of Farage and a governing board of four to eight individuals that he gets to appoint. The Guardian explains that:

The [Brexit Party] constitution shows the leader will be in post for a four-year term and can be removed only by a motion of no confidence voted on by the board, backed up by an extraordinary general meeting of members.

The author has no details regarding constitutional protections for board members who might threaten the leader with dismissal, but who themselves might be in jeopardy because of potentially arbitrary powers whereby they are deselected as easily as they are selected. Note that the MEP Kerr appears to have had no recourse to an appeal when he was quietly kicked out of the party. In any event, it looks as though the leader of the Brexit Party could always avoid that no-confidence vote by appointing yes-men – or spirits made kindred by a common cause. And it’s probably a good job he can, seeing as there isn’t any membership by which the process to throw out the party leader could continue beyond board-level stage.

So, getting through a four year term as the leader of the Brexit Party is apparently no sweat – unless one resigns like Catherine Blaiklock did. As for getting elected as leader, the process is made all the more mysterious by Farage’s account of how he happened to step into his predecessor’s shoes. According to the Mirror, he told Radio 4’s Today programme that

I set the party up, she was the administrator that got it set up, fine.

Have we had a couple of teething problems? Yes.

The reference is to social media content by Blaiklock that caused sufficient embarrassment for her to step down as leader. It seems contrived if Farage was always supposed to be the leader of the Brexit Party.

It is with great interest that we should note that the Brexit Party is sensitive about the information that it provides to the Electoral Commission, which then gets released into the public domain via Freedom of Information requests – so much so that, according to BuzzFeed, the Brexit Party wanted a special arrangement:

In a reply in August, a commission official told [Tracy] Knowles [the party’s nominating officer] that it was obliged to comply with the transparency laws. “No other party has raised an objection to this and it’s unclear to us why you should have a particular concern about that approach,” the official wrote.

Undoubtedly, noone here reading or writing this thinks that the Electoral Commission is a paradigm of virtue. In this case, however, it can perhaps be construed as acting as a mirror for the nature of the Brexit Party.

Moreover, it is due to the information released by the Electoral Commission that BuzzFeed was able to report of the Brexit Party’s change of constitution whereby members were no longer desired after initial registration involving a version of party rules that had allowed for them. The Brexit Party supplied a rationale for the alteration, but it’s not as important as the actual fact that a change was needed as if it was an after-thought. Furthermore, according to BuzzFeed, the initial Brexit Party constitution was so close an exact copy of UKIP’s that the Electoral Commission considered rejecting it. Please also remember how the Brexit Party would not produce a manifesto going into the EU elections. The impression that one might get from all this information is that as far as the Brexit Party goes, the details are not important.

When all is said and done, if one can’t help but feel that the Brexit Party is not a real political party, and that it wasn’t ever meant to endure very long, then surely one can be excused. While many will no doubt think such things irrelevant in the context of the cause of Brexit, and how best to obtain it, to the author, here would be clear indication of an operation to take advantage of a weakness in people, who are conditioned by the convention of a corrupt system, whereby they must abdicate their power to an organisation (where it is inevitably, in every case, abused). To the author, even though the aim of this piece has been to have the reader think about the nature of the Brexit Party, and if it would actually be beneficial to vote for it instead of the Tories or Labour (elsewhere at FBEL it has been written that “the only difference between the Brexit Party… and the legacy parties is that its attempt to heave a shyster on the gravy train is done in the name of being against that sort of thing”), the fact that the Brexit Party will add millions to the turnout figure of the next general election, and do it to no avail, is more offensive than any potential capacity it gifts its “shareholders” to graft from its popularity. Unfortunately, he knows if the importance of preventing the latter would not impress itself upon a general audience (in all its own corruption), then the importance of preventing the former certainly won’t.

 

† The Tories are required for managing the Fake Brexit. From a previous FBEL article:

If the British are suddenly faced with a Labour Executive after an election, then it will mean that the bluff has been called. Things would get very interesting then – the author would expect any and all stated intent to deny Brexit to be forgotten very quickly; Labour would merely take over the juggling for a Fake Brexit from the Tories – and face an increasingly ungovernable country that could not confuse, like it might have during the rule of the Tories, the Executive Branch for anything other than an implacable foe.

‡ Just look around to see that things are building in terms of high drama to be uncoiled on the 19th October. This is the day that Parliament is to sit in a highly unusual Saturday session, hot on the heels of an EU summit. Supposedly, there will be crowds on the streets of London demanding the cancellation of Brexit – the Government can muster a rent-a-mob at will. According to the Benn Act, the 19th is the day that Johnson is supposed to ask for an extension if there is no ratification of an Article 50 treaty. The pressure will be on. The message that will be telegraphed out of Westminster is that any Brexit should be taken while one is available. The author’s guess is that on October 19th, if the prior EU summit produces an Article 50 treaty agreed “last minute”, the Commons might even ratify it that very day.

ǂ From a previous FBEL article:

The same opinion poll also reveals that two-thirds of the Brexit Party’s vote [in the EU election] came from 2017 Tories – which is about 3 and a half million (given that the Brexit Party attracted 5,248,533 votes in total…). And so, this all means that just 1,819,491 Tories would vote for the Brexit Party in the next general election – bear in mind that the Tories garnered 13,636,684 votes in 2017.

*Coincidentally, today there is this:  Revealed: Farage’s Brexit Party chairman facing questions over offshore tax haven links.

The following is from the article:

Richard Tice, is facing calls to “urgently” address concerns about his family’s links to offshore tax havens, after an investigation by openDemocracy today reveals that two offshore firms own large shareholdings in his family’s business…

Tice, a co-founder of Arron Banks’s Leave.EU, says he has no knowledge of who runs two offshore companies that have held shares for over 25 years in his family business, Sunley Family Limited, and which now own a combined 42% stake. Tice denies any financial interests of the offshore companies…

Molly Scott Cato MEP, who sits with Tice on the European Parliament’s Economic and Monetary Affairs Committee, said: “If it turns out that Richard Tice has been dodging taxes then there would be an obvious conflict of interest with his role on the committee that oversees EU tax policy on behalf of European citizens.”

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