Nelson McCausland: 'Questions over Remain funding make calls for second poll on leaving the EU a one-sided affair'
Remainers, paid for by big money and backed by global influencers, dominate the debate
One of the notable features of the ongoing Brexit debate is the scrutiny of the organisations and individuals who campaigned for Brexit. I have not seen anything like the same level of scrutiny with those who campaign for Remain and for a second referendum.
On a purely legal point, the scrutiny of the Leavers relates to the 2016 referendum campaign, whereas the current plethora of Remain groups are operating outside the period of a referendum campaign.
However, for them this is a pre-referendum period. They are campaigning for a second referendum in order to reverse the previous referendum and their message is a combination of Remain and second referendum.
One of those groups made an appearance in Belfast last week and it was Our Future Our Choice (OFOC), which presents itself as speaking for young people. Their battle bus is touring the United Kingdom and, last Friday, it rolled into Belfast for a brief visit, which included photographs outside Queen's University and Stormont.
The photographs were taken against the background of the battle bus and featured around a dozen young people holding posters. It was a modest photo-opportunity, but sufficient to get some coverage in local newspapers.
OFOC is one of a plethora of pro-Remain organisations and money is clearly not a problem. It shares office space in central London with six other anti-Brexit groups - Open Britain, the European Movement, Britain for Europe, Scientists for EU, Healthier IN and InFacts, all of which have been brought together by the Grassroots Coordination Group.
An OFOC Twitter account was created in October 2017 and OFOC was incorporated as a company on February 19, 2018, so it has not yet lodged its first set of accounts with Companies House, but it is clearly not short of money.
A battle bus, billboards, a central London office and a professional advertising campaign do not come cheap. OFOC has raised some money through crowdfunding, but that would hardly cover the cost of what it does.
The key to this conundrum may lie in a sentence on the OFOC website, which states: "OFOC is powered by Best for Britain, Open Britain, The European Movement, and the GCG (Grassroots Coordination Group)."
The choice of the word "powered" is as unusual as it is vague, but does suggest that it is facilitated and potentially part-funded, in cash or in kind, by these other groups.
But who funds these organisations? Well, we certainly know one of the many donors and that is George Soros. In February 2018, George Soros's Open Society Foundations donated £500,000 to a number of groups opposing Brexit, including the European Movement.
Of course, that is small change to a man like George Soros, a Hungarian-American investor who is still worth $8bn, after donating $18bn to his Open Society Foundations.
OFOC is one of the smaller pro-Remain groups, but it has a significant role within the pro-Remain network, with its focus on young people, a key element in the pro-Remain message.
The founding chair of OFOC UK was 43-year-old Felix Marquadt, a French globalist and international corporate lobbyist, who lives in London and is now chair of OFOC Global. According to the Morning Star newspaper: "Marquadt has a history of founding short-lived 'youth' campaigns, often without many young people participating." OFOC seems to fit that pattern, being more about propaganda than people.
One of the weaknesses of the Leave campaign - and I say that as life-long opponent of the EU project - is that, after the referendum in 2016, we trusted the Government to implement the decision of the people.
As a result, the Leave campaign wound down and that has allowed the Remainers, funded with big money and supported by globalist influencers, to dominate the public discourse on Europe.
At present, the focus for most people is on parliament and political decisions, but it is time for a revived Leave campaign that demands a real Brexit and takes on the London-centric elite who really control the Remain campaign.
Yes, we need to keep a careful watch on Westminster, but there is another battlefront outside Westminster and, at present, it is a one-sided contest.