The Brexit Party
The Brexit Party is a limited company, and has no members, just paying ‘registered supporters’. Nigel Farage has a high level of control over decision-making, including hand-picking candidates himself. The Brexit Party has no manifesto, and only one policy (you guessed it!).
Do the ‘miraclulous’ claims of Nigel Farage stand up?
Extract from Byline Times article 15 May 2019.
On 21 April The Sun ran an interview with Nigel Farage during which he opened up his Brexit Party’s PayPal account to show the journalist “60,000 paid-up supporters in just nine days since its launch”. The Sun journalist also witnessed Farage logging “on to the PayPal account to let us see the range of people paying £25 to become registered supporters — with 15,811 joining on launch day alone.”
These figures have led Farage to declare a wave of popular support and funding for his new party. However, a review of the web traffic statistics for the site throws severe doubt on this claim.
Byline Times ran a traffic analysis on the Brexit Party’s website to determine what kind of overall traffic might be needed to produce that level of sign-up. The site analysis is based on a very large and diverse set of the most common browser extensions and plug-ins and is taken from one of the biggest traffic analysers in the world. (For fairness and comparison we have included the analysis from some of the other major parties). The results were very troubling indeed. The traffic shows that on the Launch day of the Brexit Party only 1,200 visitors – a fraction of the 16,000 £25 supporters Farage claimed had signed up that day.
The traffic shows that on launch day, the Brexit Party only received 1,200 visitors – a fraction of the 16,000 £25 supporters Farage claimed had signed up that day. For the nine following days he said 60,000 had signed up, the actual total of visitors looks like less than 10,000. Even if every single visitor paid money to Brexit Party PayPal account this is only 10% of the total needed for launch day and 16% for the following nine days.
The only conclusion that can be reached is that only a small proportion of PayPal payments were made via the website.
Read more at Byline Times
So the question is, where did these anonymous donations come from. Is it, as has been suggested, that they came from abroad? That they may be ‘atomised’ payments from a large donor trying to hide their identity? Following complaints from a number of sources, the Electoral Commission visited The Brexit Party and recently provided its finding to Parliament. See below, and here. Time will tell if Arron Banks’ work in attempting to solicit donations from the US has any bearing on this developing story. It’s interesting to note that convicted money launderer, and friend of Nigel Farage ‘Posh George’ Cottrell has been acting as financial officer for The Brexit Party.
“Based on the information we reviewed, we assess the party to be at risk of noncompliance with its financial scheme and obligations under PPERA. In particular, the fundraising structure the Party have adopted, coupled with insufficient procedures, leaves it open to a high and ongoing risk of receiving and accepting impermissible donations, and being unable to maintain accurate records of transactions.”
The Electoral Commission has agreed it’s likely that the Brexit Party broke electoral laws during the European Elections, it is legally obliged to return the impermissible donations within 30 days of receipt. More information here
Brexit Party Candidates
From gay conversion therapy advocates to supporters of paedophilia legalisation, from climate change deniers to rampant tax avoiders, from NHS abolitionists to besties of neo-Nazis, from fracking supporters to unabashed profiteers of chaos.
S Holloway “read up on every single listed Brexit Party MEP candidate” with one goal, “to find out what kind of people they are”. The article is written in a breezy irreverent style but it links to many different sources to build a clear picture. Some Brexit Party candidates support dangerous right-wing theories, people and ideas. Holloway states that, “just for starters”:
Many of them are really, really into things like conversion therapy for gay people, many support and are beaming friends to actual fascists, and a number have campaigned for a paedophile’s right to access child porn or groom children.
Holloway also notes that many candidates “are minted”, some through business, others through inheritance or marriage. Tax avoidance and offshore banking links feature heavily. The implication is that, for some, Brexit offers financial benefits. The article also observes that many candidates are “spectacularly candid” about their desire to personally profit from and fecklessly exploit the chaos and decline that they openly admit Brexit would cause.
Another thing that emerges from several candidates who “manage huge businesses” is opposition to “annoying” EU policies. Many have vocally opposed food safety directives or basic workers’ rights such as sick leave. In Holloway’s opinion “A lot of them aren’t ‘bad boys of Brexit’; they’re just shit human beings.”
Holloway meticulously lists links between Brexit Party candidates and the far right.
For example, links take the reader to a video of Nigel Farage openly discussing how to ‘use’ immigration to build populism with former White House strategist and Breitbart co-founder Steve Bannon. They also demonstrate Farage’s open support for far-right French politician Marine Le Pen and his meeting with “relatives of actual Nazis” in 2017.
Another section establishes former UKIP leader Paul Nuttall’s links with controversial Bulgarian MEP Slavi Binev. Annunziata Rees-Mogg, another Brexit Party candidate, needs no further links to establish her family connections. Then there’s George Farmer, who’s “chairman of pro-Trump rightwing movement Turning Point UK”. As The Canary reported, Farmer has other dubious connections to the far right. He’s also engaged to Candace Owens, a “far-right” “ultra-conservative” who is openly pro-Trump.
Holloway also suggests that “far too many” Brexit Party candidates “write slavishly for neo-Nazi websites like Breitbart, and infamously inaccurate papers, while several churn out bile on very murky websites like Spiked Magazine.”
Holloway builds a detailed picture of all the Brexit Party candidates. Former Conservative MP Anne Widdecombe’s views are easy to establish from her voting record. She’s consistently voted against equal gay rights, openly opposed gay marriage and voted against environment and climate change issues. What Holloway’s work does is establish links to lesser-known Brexit Party candidates and reveals that there seem to be a lot of similar views in common.
As the article also admits, it seems that some “decent” candidates may be more measured “I don’t want to generalise too much about the candidates, as some are seemingly decent, well-meaning people, a percentage of which have done some selfless and admirable things for the community. Though an interesting number of ostensibly decent candidates (doctors, lawyers, charity workers etc) actually have shady backgrounds, inexcusable beliefs, and skeletons in their closets, or are at best hypocritically burying their heads in the sand about their party bedfellows.”
Without a manifesto, the electorate has little way of holding Farage or Brexit Party candidates to account. Yet many of those standing may not want voters to know about their links, beliefs and previous statements. Thanks to Holloway, all the things they might not want you to know are now easy to find.
Read the full article here on Medium.com
Download: Brexit Party Constitution
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