DUP Laundered Brexit Money For Mysterious Constitutional Research Council

After much speculation, the controversy embroiled Democrat Unionist Party (DUP) has finally come clean and named the British lobby group it spent money on behalf of during the United Kingdom’s anti-EU referendum campaign in the first half of 2016. The largely unknown Constitutional Research Council, a right-wing think tank, “donated” £425,622 (€504,098) to the DUP, which used the cash to fund a series of pro-Leave adverts in Britain, including a single high-profile advertisement in the London Metro newspaper which cost the party a staggering £282,000 (€333,639). The DUP MP Jeffrey Donaldson claimed in an article for the pro-union Belfast Telegraph that the Democratic Unionists were not:

“…a wealthy party, and therefore to finance our national campaign the DUP raised funds.

The DUP was for Leave. We raised money; we spent it on our position, which we’ve held since the party was founded. Who donated to us?

They’re the CRC – the Constitutional Research Council – a group which supports constitutional pro-Union causes. They believed, as did we, that Brexit would be good for the Union and bad for those who oppose it.

I thank the CRC for choosing to donate to us, and, modesty to one side, I hope for our part we ran a campaign worthy of the cause.”

So what is the mysterious Constitutional Research Council (CRC)? It is understood to be a lobbying organisation of well-connected British nationalists, mainly politicians and businessmen, led by Richard Cook, a former vice-chairman of the Conservative Party in Scotland and an unsuccessful candidate in several UK general elections. Its last public appearance occurred during the bitter fight over the leadership of the Tories following prime minster David Cameron’s shock resignation. The group produced a number of polls favouring the present premier, Theresa May, and is thought by some to be close to her faction of the Conservative Party.

Whatever its exact makeup and role, and relationship to the hard-right Tory government in Britain, there is no doubting why the CRC chose the xenophobic DUP to covertly channel its anti-European donations through. Nor do we need to ask why Arlene Foster’s party grabbed the secret cash when offered, as it plays its own long-term, separatist game of undermining friendly relations between Ireland and the United Kingdom. A nihilistic ambition which will come to fruition in the coming year with the probable imposition of a Brexit border around the UK-administered Six Counties and the rolling back of two decades of soft reunification on this island nation.

Some politicians find it easier – and more beneficial – to deal with the politics of violence than the politics of peace.

UPDATE: The British website, Open Democracy, is reporting that the Constitutional Research Council has links to the former head of the Saudi intelligence service, Prince Nawwaf bin Abdul Aziz, who was also the father of the current Saudi Ambassador to the UK.

 

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14 comments

  1. You should dig into the crosstabs of the LucidTalk Quarterly tracking poll (the most recent is their Dec 2016 poll carried out the first week of Jan 2017). 8% of Unionists will vote for UI in the event of Brexit and another 33% want to remain in the UK within the EU. That 33% is going to be disappointed and unless ALL of it switches over to staying in the UK even if outside the EU or there is a clear majority for re-unification.

    That is of course with the giant caveat that applies to all polls carried out in the six counties. We will see from Nationalist turnout patterns and the results in North Down if this LucidTalk poll is accurate or not. But from where I’m sitting the numbers (if accurate) show it to be all over.

  2. They where given almost £500.000 to either launder for business people or they where paid £500,000 to get there voters to vote for brexit which will in someway benefit these wealthy donars and who would prefer a “better class” of politics for the ” upper class”

      1. Define “wrong”? Legally nothing was done wrong though note the questions by Buzzfeed UK. Ethically, the whole thing stinks. The DUP is playing a longgame aimed at rolling back the soft border / soft reunification aspects of the GFA and to hell with the consequences. It knew full well the likely impact of Brexit on the six Counties and Ireland as a whole. The DUP are reverting to type: wreckers, inciters and provocateurs.

  3. The term “launder” would imply that these business people obtained this money from criminal activity. Is there any evidence for this?

    1. I do not claim “criminal” wrongdoing by the DUP or the CRC. Launder can also imply the funneling of monies through third parties. Donations to the CRC were passed on in secret to the DUP who spent the money, primarily in the UK not in the Six Cos., on the CRC’s anti-EU objectives. Where the cash came from originally we do not know. The CRC has not made public its sources of funding. That remains a mystery.

      1. +1 I guess one can make an argument that Brexit is good for the DUP. But whether it is quite as good for the DUP’s voters is another matter… and spending this money on non-DUP voters seems… problematic. Not illegal. But problematic. Moreover it’s a big enough deal that the British media is most interested in the story. Now that may speak of a regionalism on the part of the British media, or a Londoncentric focus (ironically enough!). But it might also suggest that this is genuinely unusual in the British polity, that even if fully within the letter of the law it doesn’t sit right.

        1. If one looks at the DUP’s history up to the early 2000s, a party of militant unionist protest, the enthusiasm for Brexit is very much of a type with attacks on the 1973 Sunningdale Agreement, the 1985 Anglo-Irish Agreement, etc. It is burning the village to save the village. While the DUP was clearly happy with Stormont power-sharing, under its own terms, anything with the potential of reinforcing partition was too good an opportunity to miss. The DUP was not just driven by anti-EU sentiment, Euroscepticism to the nth degree. The party knew full well, at least the thinkers did, that that a likely outcome of Brexit was a real frontier between the north-east and the rest of the island. It was a way of hoisting the Union Jack that little bit higher on the northern pole. Arguably the “fleg” protests and the percieved culture war played into this.

          If an EU-UK “customs border” is located in the Irish Sea or a special status is granted the north I would lay money on the DUP fighting either.

          For many DUP backwoodsmen the last 19 years has seen a form of soft reunification in the border counties not a softening of the border. There is a difference, even if only in the eye of the beholder.

          1. “If an EU-UK “customs border” is located in the Irish Sea or a special status is granted the north I would lay money on the DUP fighting either.” Yep. I think that’s true ASF.

            That’s an interesting way of putting it in your last paragraph too. I think that would be very likely how they see matters.

  4. Pails into insignificance compared to the foreign raised $12,000,000 “laundered” by sin fein in order to bring about regime change in Northern Ireland. What’s the big deal about the money the DUP raised in the UK and spent in the UK. It was properly accounted for through the correct channels.

    1. Regime change, as in getting rid of the old unionist regime at Stormont? Money well spent, if you don’t mind me saying.

      What’s the big deal? Because the DUP spend has contributed to the UK’s withdrawal from the EU, the downfall of Stormont, future economic and political damage to Ireland, a potential return to conflict and so on. The DUP wreckers have wrecked again.

      1. John needs to seriously look at his self-loathing hibernophobic racism or if he’s a loyalist or russian troll bugger off instead of shitting all over Ireland in general because his supposed parents were forced to emigrate due to eamon de Valera’s perceptive slight against his family. He needs to dry his eyes and realise it’s not the imperial century anymore.

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