With today’s National Conservative Conference facing successive disruptions from protesters, not all lefties have had such an easy time of the vetting procedures. A number of left-leaning media outlets, including Novara Media, the Byline Times and openDemocracy, had their press pass applications rejected by the supporters of free speech. Solidarity, comrades!
After applying in April, Novara and Opendemocracy’s press passes were rejected due to “high demand and limited space”. A pro-tip for our comrades, Guido always sends a reporter to the Labour Party conference undercover and that’s how we get the scoops. Just sayin’…
Credit where it is due, the left-wingers at openDemocracy have finally included Gordon Brown’s Our Scottish Future in their annual ‘transparency audit’ of UK think tanks. For some reason, they forgot to include it last year despite it being the pet project of a former Prime Minister. Now they’ve corrected their oversight and scored Our Scottish Future an E, the lowest possible rating…
“[Our Scottish Future] publishes no information on its donors and lists a firm of solicitors as its main director. This makes it impossible to know for certain who controls or funds it.”
Back in December, Labour published a weighty blueprint on its plans for “A New Britain“, which included a section on “cleaning up Westminster”. Given Angela Rayner had already promised Labour would “look to broaden the scope of lobbying rules, including transparency on who funds them”, Guido was excited to see how they would go about doing that. The word “lobbying” didn’t appear once.
What did appear in the ‘acknowledgements’ section, however, was this:
“We also drew significantly on primary research conducted by Our Scottish Future, including Scotland in a Zoom and original polling and focus groups carried out over the summer of 2022.”
What was it Labour said about the “malign impact” of “opaquely-funded think tanks” again?
“Who funds you?” campaigners have once again been exposed for their comical hypocrisy.
Online publication openDemocracy recently took over the Who Funds You campaign, and were quick to hound free market think tanks, demanding they publish the sources of their funding. The IEA returned fire, asking who funded Who Funds You – and the circumstances of the campaign’s takeover. It’s only fair.
Unsurprisingly, openDemocracy backed off smartly:
“You raise a number of very important questions. However, we don’t agree that answering them to your satisfaction should be a precondition of the IEA providing a response.”
Guido might be able to sympathise with their position – if they weren’t a campaigner for funding transparency…
In a week where free market think tanks have been subject to criminal damage as well as vitriolic online campaigns, the timing of openDemocracy’s interest seems dubious. It’s almost like they’re trying to add fuel to the fire…