Yes to AV – funded by bloodstained Soviet gold

Posted on November 11, 2010

There are many reasons why the country should vote a solid No to AV in the forthcoming referendum (they are excellently laid out here) but one of the most unexpected came out this weekend. It was covered in the Sunday Times, whose paywall sadly resulted in it garnering little follow up, but it seemed worth picking up on.

It turns out that the headquarters of Unlock Democracy, who are prominent leaders of the Yes campaign, were bequeathed to them by none other than the Communist Party of Great Britain. The CPGB, as we now know, was funded by the murderous Soviet regime, and went on to become the New Politics Network – which then merged with Charter 88 to form Unlock Democracy. By the candid admission of Unlock Democracy’s Peter Facey, this means that “Moscow gold is ultimately helping the Yes campaign.”

I met Peter Facey when we both testified on MPs’ expenses to Sir Christopher Kelly’s Inquiry last year. He seemed a nice enough chap, albeit one with some pretty bizarre views on how government and democracy should work. I doubt that his house is secretly full of red flags and vinyl copies of “Now That’s What I Call Internationale Speeches 1952″ – though who knows whether Unlock Democracy still has former CPGB members on its books.

As bizarre a story as this may be, it does matter.

How can Unlock Democracy keep a straight face as they claim to be “the UK’s leading campaign for democracy, rights and freedoms” when their very existence is underpinned by the donations of stolen gold from a (happily destroyed) murderous regime? The people who were killed, enslaved and robbed in the process of raising the funds to buy their office at 6 Cynthia Street would have dearly loved some “democracy, rights and freedoms” but they were denied it.

More importantly, how can the Yes to AV campaign seriously accept material or support from such bloodstained sources?

The opinion polls show that the more the public learn about AV, the less they like it. On this distasteful evidence, the same will be true of the Yes campaign itself.

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Categories: Opinion, Politics, Westminster

17 Responses

  1. Julian Ware-Lane:

    I will be voting ‘yes’ in the referendum. Regardless of where the funding for the campaign comes from, I want a fairer voting system. First Past The Post is antiquated and unfit for purpose.

    12.11.2010 09:42 Reply

    • dave thawley:

      I bet ashcroft will be giving a couple of million of his unpaid taxes to the no campaign as well :-(

      14.11.2010 17:53 Reply

  2. Jason O'Mahony:

    Wow, what a tenuous piece. Peter Facey isn’t a communist, or anything close, nor are the vast majority of people in UD. Yet a funding source that existed BEFORE HE WAS BORN should be held against him and his organisation? Hmmm. Maybe that was Stalin’s master plan? “Comrades, we will play the long game, letting the West believe that Communism is collapsed, and then bring in modest electoral reforms to Britain ensuring that every vote matters, and then the world will be ours! Mmmmwahhhaaaaa!” Seriously, this is the level you want to fight the referendum on?

    12.11.2010 13:20 Reply

    • dave thawley:

      Well Said Jason. I totally agree with your sentiments. I think it is terrible that people would bring this type of issue up for their own political purpose rather than for any legitimate reason. It is shocking to use atrocity like this and shows to what level the no campaign will go with their misinformation and lies.

      14.11.2010 11:14 Reply

      • markwallace:

        Jason, if you’d read the post you’d see that I don’t claim Facey is a Communist – merely that his campaign group has some utterly distasteful funding sources from the Soviet Bloc. Do you really think that’s ok?

        Dave, when you say “misinformation and lies” , what do you mean? The above story is true and confirmed by Peter Facey himself in the Sunday Times.

        15.11.2010 13:38 Reply

  3. Chuckster:

    I´m sure, Jason, you´d be JUST as relaxed if it was Nazi gold confiscated from Jews, yes?

    12.11.2010 16:37 Reply

  4. Wilf Day:

    I oppose AV, but this post does no credit to your campaign. I respectfully suggest you delete it.

    13.11.2010 00:32 Reply

  5. Jeremy Sanders:

    Ah – AV is a Communist plot! Why hadn’t I realised before?

    This is meant to be a joke isn’t it?

    13.11.2010 09:53 Reply

  6. dave thawley:

    I thought I was reading the sun when I read the headlines lol. AV is better than FPTP. I fould this out by looking into the facts with an open mind and finding the truth out for myself. The no campaign either don’t fully understand AV and/or are deliberately misleading the population.

    Do you want to run an article about ascrofts millions – he does’t pay uk tax and gets away with millions and the tories let him because he funds their campaigns. Lovely bit of back scratching- or corruption as we would call it anywhere else in the world

    FPTP wastes millions of votes every year, it elects people with minority support and can give people who most people don’t want a job for life because of it. It also means that millions of people vote for their second preference by tactically voting to try and emulate AV without t the benefit that AV gives in actually voting for their first preference first. It doesn’t work at all in multi-party politics and therefore needs to be replaced. PR is of course the best way forward as everyone has an equal say. FPTP locks the population out of politics and gives politicians total control. This is why a lot of them like it and want to keep it. AV will at least make them work for their vote which I honestly don’t believe will suit a lot of them. AV will most probably be slightly more proportional in our politics which is better for democracy, but even if it this proportionality doesn’t materialise the government policies will be forced more into the middle – ‘the middle’ in this context being a delivery of policies which on average will be better for the majority of people. FPTP tends to do what is best for two groups of people but doesn’t help everyone that much (Despite what each successive government tells us).

    14.11.2010 10:45 Reply

  7. chris:

    The no to av campaign must come up with more serious political content that this if we are to win the vote. I am afraid that fears about the communist threat to our democracy are more 1980 than 2010.
    This sort of article does nothing to further the no to av cause.

    14.11.2010 20:28 Reply

    • markwallace:

      Not a “communist threat to our democracy”, Chris – just evidence of a shocking lack of judgement and some disgusting friends on the part of Yes to AV.

      15.11.2010 13:39 Reply

  8. Peter MacFarlane:

    Isn’t it odd that we are going to get a referendum (which nobody really wants) on making detail changes to the voting system, but we absolutely will not ever be allowed any say on the EU, which means that those votes, however cast and counted, won’t actually change anything?

    18.11.2010 10:19 Reply

  9. Jason O'Mahony:

    In fairness, a relataively small number of people actively wanted the abolition of the GLC, privatisation of the railways or BA. Does that mean they were illegtimate? It’s all well and good for Labour and Conservative opponents of electoral reform to oppose a referendum as a waste, but they’d be hysterical if the change went through as ordinary legislation.
    And don’t get me started on the loopiness of eurosceptics whining about no one listening to them and then voting to keep FPTP which denies them their fair share of representation. At least UKIP see the logic in that.

    02.12.2010 14:46 Reply

  10. Alan Calder:

    Yes this post is total nonsense. It maybe true that some AV supporters are operating from a building once paid by Soviet funds but it has no relevance on the merits or not of AV as a system of voting, which you’d be much better discussing – this should not become a tabloid newspaper. By your logic we should not consider voting conservative because once they were funded by large landowners who believed in slavery, brutal colonalisation of Ireland and various other parts of the world and resisted universial sufferage…

    05.03.2011 21:33 Reply

  11. Adam:

    Don’t the Commies back No2AV?

    19.04.2011 15:11 Reply

  12. mike white:

    The big tell with Lib Dim / Green Party front movements like Unlock Democracy is the unwillingness to engage in discussions regarding The EU. They want citizens to have more choice and power over decisions power but ignore where the REAL power lies and who governs us.

    09.07.2011 21:48 Reply

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