Who are the Union backing Constitutional Research Council?
Yesterday, the Herald revealed that a group calling themselves the Constitutional Research Council(CRC) are looking to donate money towards saving the union.
However, while they may sound like an above the board organisation a quick google reveals that they don’t exist in any official form. So, what do we know about them?
We know that they were able to anonymously donate £425k to the DUP in order to help fund the Brexit campaign. The actual official Vote Leave campaign had reached its funding cap. Unlike in the rest of the UK, you can donate large sums of money anonymously in Northern Ireland as donating money to politics in that country can be a dangerous business. The bulk of this money was then used to fund pro leave advertising that was never seen in Northern Ireland.
I don’t know about you but this donation seems like a dodgy way to subvert the EU referendum regulations in the rest of the UK?
Other than that the only thing we know is that according to the Herald the Chairman of the CRC is a chap called Richard Cook.
He is a former vice-chairman of the Scottish Conservative party. This is the ‘Straight Talking’, ‘No Political Correctness’ blog he kept at the time. He used to be the Chief Executive of a company called Cook Consulting (UK) Ltd. In 2012, according to the BBC, Cook Consulting signed a 1 million dollar deal to deliver environmental projects in Karachi. So we can presume that Mr Cook has a few bob.
Mr Cook also has links to Saudi Arabian intelligence as reported by Open Democracy.
In 2013, Cook founded a company called Five Star Investment Management Ltd with the former head of the Saudi Arabian intelligence agency, Prince Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz. The prince’s son is the Saudi ambassador to the UK.
Mr Cook was convincingly defeated by Jim Murphy in the constituency seat of East Renfrewshire in the 2010 general election, polling 15567 votes. He was also the Chairman for the Scottish Campaign for political correctness, as well as the spokesperson for the Conservative friends of Israel in Scotland.
So, as well as being pretty rich, he is well connected and he is also to the right of centre in terms of his politics.
Today’s Herald piece describes the CRC as the a group of business leaders.
However, there is no mention in the report of any other names associated with the group. The group doesn’t have a website. It isn’t incorporated anywhere and if it has done any research it doesn’t seem to be published.
All we have is Richard Cook, a wealthy Tory Brexiteer, with views and lifestyle far removed from the average Scot.
Which is more or less the same as every other leader of the Brexit campaign. Those who pretend to be men of the people but are actually establishment figures, shepherding in a new era that only they will benefit from. Not unlike the allegedly ‘grass roots’ Scotland in Union.
The Herald article suggest the CRC, or Mr Cook as it’s otherwise known, are willing to fund Better Together(The New Batch) campaigners as long as they are less negative than they were last time:
In reality Better Together’s campaign at the last independence referendum suppressed the pro-Union vote due largely to it having adopted an overwhelmingly negative approach as to why Scotland shouldn’t be independent, rather than being evangelically for the Union and selling its benefits to Scotland, and Scotland’s benefits to the rest of the UK. If there is to be a second independence referendum the next pro-Union campaign needs to be a “better Better Together.
Personally, I would fund that type of campaign myself as it is going to look completely ludicrous coinciding with the damage that will be inflicted during the Brexit process.
I can’t wait to see the benefits of union being preached to us as our economy floats even further down the cludgy due to a decision the Scottish people voted against. I can’t wait to see this message at the same time the Tory government force the Great Repeal Bill on Holyrood and steal EU powers that should, under the current settlement, repatriate to Holyrood.
It will be hilarious when they realise the money they used to back Brexit actuality facilitated the potential end of the UK. It will be funny to observe them as the money they will give to Better Together2 doesn’t manage to prevent that end.
Surely, in a modern democracy, large sums of money being donated anonymously should be illegal? It is imperative we obtain full disclosure of who these people are if the CRC are to be a donor in the second independence referendum. In order to be able to make an informed decision voters need to know about who is backing each side of the debate.
If you have any info then please add a wee comment.