Meet the suits behind the ‘People’s Vote Campaign’ and ‘Open Britain’

peoples vote
corporate elite backing the leading anti-Brexit campaign

The masks slip as the People’s vote are shown to be an anti-Corbyn pro-business front.

The so-called People’s vote are in chaos after falling out at the top table. It has revealed their true nature. Now a public row has broken out at the top of the People’s Vote campaign for another EU referendum.

Media chief Tom Baldwin has accused chairman Roland Rudd of putting “a wrecking ball” through the campaign.Mr Baldwin said he had been fired by Mr Rudd – but would be going in to work as normal.

Mr Rudd denied firing Mr Baldwin, saying he “he has an opportunity for a different type of role” and denied there were strategic differences. The changes follow major disagreements within the People’s Vote campaign that have been developing for months about the movement’s direction and strategy.

The People’s Vote campaign was in disarray this morning over an attempt to “sack” two senior figures in the group working towards a second EU referendum.

The chaos began when Roland Rudd, chairman of the Open Britain group and brother of former Home Secretary Amber Rudd, attempted to fire by email the head of communications Tom Baldwin and director James McGrory.

ITV’s Political Editor Robert Peston tweeted: “People’s Vote has gone full People’s Front of Judea.

“McGrory and Baldwin are in the PV office in Millbank. Rudd and Heneghan are outside refusing to enter while M and B on premises, and are threatening legal action for trespass. Oh dear.”

Many of the strongest advocates for a second referendum now accept it can’t happen in this parliament.

Just two weeks ago, his party was adamant that it was a referendum, not an early election, that could solve Brexit. “Boris Johnson is determined to have a general election,” Lib Dem leader Jo Swinson said then, “but the best way to resolve the Brexit chaos is to have a people’s vote.”

Now Swinson has joined forces with the Scottish National Party to push for a December 9 poll instead. “If the Labour party had wholeheartedly come on board with the People’s Vote campaign, we might have been able to deliver that at an earlier stage,” she told BBC Radio 4’s Today program.

It is a public acknowledgement of a reality that has been clear for months. Each time it has been put to a vote in parliament, a second referendum proposal has been defeated. The closest it came to passing was in April when it was rejected by 12 votes — and then only in a non-binding, indicative vote with numerous abstentions.

The likelihood of a second referendum now looks dimmer still after divisions inside the People’s Vote campaign group reached boiling point last night.

The likelihood of a second referendum now looks dimmer still after divisions inside the People’s Vote campaign group reached boiling point last night. Two of its leading figures — director James McGrory, and head of comms Tom Baldwin — was unexpectedly fired in an email from Roland Rudd, the chairman of Open Britain, one of the organizations that make up the campaign.

Senior campaign figures were locked in a broadcasting war this morning, with Baldwin telling the Today program that he won’t accept his dismissal by Rudd. “I don’t work for Roland Rudd,” he said, adding that “it doesn’t seem to be the best week for putting a wrecking ball through the campaign.”

Liberal Democrat MP Chuka Umunna told Sky’s Sophy Ridge show on Sunday that “it simply does not look like” the numbers are there for a second referendum.

Some on the Left have always seen the bigger picture of both Open Britain and the so-called people’s vote campaign it was clear to Corbyn supporters that anyone remotely connected with the so-called People’s vote was from the ‘ABC’ (anyone but Corbyn) campaign or Jeremy Corbyn’s political opponents.

The People’s vote has cynically carried remain supporters along a journey of forlorn hope. Even in the unlikely event of the Tory Party calling a second referendum, the reality would have been that the Government this time would campaign to Leave the EU.

Unlike in the 2016 referendum, the Tory government backed reaming in the EU where they put the might of the government machine against the leave campaigners yet still did not win the argument to remain in the EU. This time with the Government backing Leave and using the same resources as they did for reaming including £9 million worth of pamphlets. The outcome would be more than a bias conclusion.

The so-called people’s vote campaign is supported by five groups – the European Movement UK, the Joint Media Unit, Our Future Our Choice, For our Future’s Sake and Wales for Europe and Open Britain – of which Mr Rudd is chair.

Owen Jones in a dramatic turn around writes: Here’s what’s going on behind the scenes. I’m told the @peoplesvote_uk Chair, Roland Rudd, a millionaire City of London lobbyist, saw it as a vehicle to destroy Labour and create a new pro-market party – unlike the hundreds of thousands who marched because they want to Remain.

Multiple PV people tell me Rudd wants a political realignment in favour of a pro-big business “liberal” party and Brexit was never his priority. This is, they say, a coup against genuine believers in Remain in favour of those who want to replace Labour as the main non-Tory party.

Roland Rudd was a member of Tony Blair’s four wise men and closest advisers. On leaving Oxford, Roland Rudd started his career as a researcher and speechwriter for the then MP David Owen. Roland Rudd is also the brother of Amber Rudd (Conservative MP and minister)

His election as president of the Union was an early testament to his PR skills, as he was a member of Regent’s Park, one of the small colleges attached to the university, with very few undergraduates.

He went into journalism as a trainee on The Times, moved to the Financial Times and became a confidant to Peter Mandelson.

The son of a stockbroker, he is one of the most sought-after public relations figures in the City. He left the FT in 1994 to set up Finsbury, the financial PR firm, with Rupert Younger, whom he met at a premiere of Four Weddings and a Funeral. He sold the company to WPP in 1999 for £50 million.

Mr Rudd is worth an estimated £40 million. A consummate politician, he has given work experience to Euan Blair, Tony Blair’s son. Lord Mandelson is godfather to one of Rudd’s children. Peter Mandelson the former EU commissioner is also the chief architect of the people’s vote and director of Open Britain.

Who runs the People’s vote?
Just so you get a picture of who is pulling the strings here are some of the directors of Open Britain Ltd the company behind the Peoples Vote.

Peter Mandelson (Blairite), Danny Alexander (Lib Dem), Damian Green (Tory), Caroline Lucas (Green), Jim Wallace or Baron Wallace of Tankernes,(Lib Dem), Dafydd Wynne Wigley, Baron Wigley(Plaid Cymru). Will Straw (Jack Straws son), Roland Rudd, Blairite adviser and brother to Amber Rudd ex-Conservative Home Secretary.

Others can be found here including a few Billionaires.

Again why is the pressure not on Theresa May after all she is a ‘remain’ Prime Minister?

Peter Mandelson, the architect of New Labour, the man that has said he is working every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn, the Blairite peers stood up in the House of Lords to lambast their party’s leadership for backing Brexit.

It is the most deceptive move in UK politics this constant Remain rhetoric from the Left or should I say from the centrist Blairites dictating the agenda of the Left.

The People’s vote often uses anti-Corbyn paraphernalia

peoples vote
Peoples vote attack on Corbyn

HELEN FIELD reveals that despite calling for a ‘people’s vote’, the corporate elite backing the leading anti-Brexit campaign are about as far away from ‘the people’ as you can get

Information from Companies House reveals a rich elite that includes Tory, Lib Dem and right-wing Labour politicians, company directors, and chairmen of global corporations, are giving huge support to the so-called People’s Vote campaign to hold a second EU referendum in the hope of stopping Brexit.

The People’s Vote website has at the bottom of each page its registered address: Open Britain, 21-24 Millbank Tower, Millbank, London, SW1P 4QR.

Open Britain Ltd started life in June 2015 as the Interim Campaign (company number 9641190) registered under the sole name of Laura Jane Sandys, a Conservative Party politician who served as the Member of Parliament for South Thanet between 2010 and 2015.

Weeks later, on July 23 2015, the Interim Campaign changed its company name to The In Campaign Ltd. During the referendum campaign of 2016, the Electoral Services Commission designated The In Campaign as the lead group for the 63 different groups and individuals registered to support Remain. (Leave had 60).

The In Campaign Ltd went through a further name change and rebranding on September 6 2016 to become Open Britain Ltd (company number 9641190).

Nowhere on the Open Britain website does it mention its directors, and it is soon clear why. You have go to Companies House to find the full list of these grey-suited representatives of the corporate elite shilling as the voice of “the people.”

Take Sir Michael Derek Vaughan Rake. He is chair of Phoenix Global Resources Ltd. This company is currently fracking on a huge basis in Argentina. Its 2017 accounts, downloaded from Companies House, reveals the following on page 6: “Vaca Muerta is a world-class unconventional resource play with current production in excess of 90,000 boepd (barrels equivalent per day) and a production expectation of more than 110,000 boepd in 2018, double 2016 production. Unconventional oil and gas has the potential to transform the future of Argentina’s economy.”

Worried? You should be. The Centre for Environmental International Law had this to say about the project:

“A report presented to the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) highlights the adverse economic, social, and cultural rights impacts of fossil fuel extraction at the Vaca Muerta shale formation in Argentina on local residents and indigenous Mapuche communities. It also highlights the project’s massive contributions to climate change. If the Argentinian government’s plans for large-scale exploitation of the Vaca Muerta shale formation come to fruition, the country will significantly increase its greenhouse gas emissions and undermine the objectives of the Paris Climate Agreement.”

Sir Michael Rake, president of the CBI till 2015, has other companies registered at Companies House – NewDay Ltd (credit cards) and MDVR Services.

Of the other 10 directors of Open Britain we have:

Roland Dacre Rudd — brother of Amber Rudd MP. He is also chair and founder of The Finsbury Group, a multimillion-pound financial consultancy company. Its Annual Report and Financial statements for 2017 make illuminating reading. It records a gross profit for 2017 as £29,570,476 (page 9), corporation tax paid £514,045. A dividend payment of £10 million was approved and paid by the board for the year 2017 (page 3). Brexit is listed as one of six key business risks facing the company (page 2).

Roland also guarantees the leasing costs for Open Britain’s swanky offices in Millbank Tower. On March 5 2018 a 14-month lease was taken out for office space, costing £86,400. Remember this is also the office from which the People’s Vote website is run.

Richard Reed — multimillionaire co-founder of Innocent drinks (sold to Kraft reputedly for £300 million) and JamJar Investments.

James McGrory who spent his time from 2010 until 2015 working hard in the Con-Dem coalition government as adviser to Nick Clegg (recently employed by Facebook).

The remaining six are Lord Peter Mandelson, June Sarpong, Will Straw — son of Jack, Joseph Peter, Carberry Daniel, Vereker Gieve and Trevor Phillips.

I don’t think I’m alone in thinking that these people’s main concern would be stopping a socialist government.

Peter Mandelson, the architect of New Labour and the people’s vote
has said he is working every day to undermine Jeremy Corbyn

Leaving the EU will undoubtedly make it easier for a Corbyn-led Labour government to implement its brilliant policies from the 2017 election manifesto. These include not only redistribution of wealth from the few to the many, but also environmental policies, especially sustainable energy, public transport and insulation of homes. With less than 12 years to combat climate chaos our only hope is to have a general election and elect a Labour government.

A “people’s vote” will jeopardise this. It is more likely to disengage millions (“what’s the point in voting? They’ll only change it later”), and empower the extreme right wing. The only winners would likely be the Tories, picking up the disenfranchised voters of a wrecked Labour Party, and then we’ll probably never get rid of them. But maybe this is really what the organisers of the people’s vote want.

Helen Field is part of Southampton People’s Assembly.


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