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Beware Blair, Barnier, Schulz and Soros

Those that are wishing to disrupt the Brexit process and democracy have seemingly endless pots of money and influence. We need the government to step up and introduce campaign reform to take back control of our system, argues TFA Director Rory Broomfield. 

Something is clearly happening in British democracy. Whether it be during the EU referendum or in our post-referendum (pre-Brexit) world, money has become increasingly influential. 

During the referendum, investment banks such as Morgan Stanley, Goldman Sachs and Citi Group did not just make dire predictions of economic failure if the country voted Leave - they financed the pro-Remain campaign.  

Now, after the referendum, the man who famously broke the Bank of England, George Soros, has given £400,000 to a new pro-EU group 'Best for Britain', according to the Telegraph. It is also reported in the Times that he has given £182,000 to another anti-Brexit campaign, the European Movement, and £35,000 to Scientists for EU.

This comes at a time when EU funded think tanks and others are still making dire warnings about the UK's life outside the EU. It also comes at a time when groups and campaigns are taking increasingly large donations from foreign companies with newspapers like the Telegraph now claiming that well-connected business elites are using 'guerrilla tactics' to keep the UK in the EU.  

It is the influence of those within the global elite, however, that is most pressing. The Clinton Foundation, Tony Blair's Institute for Global Change and George Soros's Open Society Foundations have given billions upon billions to causes across the world and have influenced many lives accordingly. Yet, at a time when politicians in the US, the UK and elsewhere are concerned with the potential influence that Russian money has had, very little attention is being paid to the obvious influence that these mega-foundations are having. 

What we know, however, is that it is not just the money that is the issue. More and more influence over the lives of those living in the UK is coming from abroad. 

Of course, as a global and outward-looking country, the UK welcomes many companies that either originated or are currently based abroad to operate and invest within the UK. This should continue and, indeed, our politicians should encourage such investment through competitive legislation and low tax rates. Nonetheless, these companies should not be able to dictate policy. 

Nor should those representing interests other than those of the British people. What we are currently seeing with the Article 50 negotiations is how much power Michel Barnier has been given. Like Juncker, Tusk and others within the EU institutions, Barnier's power is seemingly leading to future constraints on the British Parliament and its people. This is demonstrated not just with 'Phase One' of the UK-EU Brexit agreement, where regulatory alignment and the UK's adherence to ECJ rulings are included, but also in what is reportedly being prepared for the transition deal.

This approach is unacceptable and, yet, some seem only too willing to accept it. 

If there was any question as to why Jacob Rees-Mogg has become so popular among the Conservative Party's grassroots, this is why. The people of the United Kingdom voted to take back control of their laws, borders, money and courts. They expect this to be delivered and for British freedoms to be regained.

What is happening though in Germany will rock the boat further. The appointment of Martin Schulz, the former President of the European Parliament as German Foreign Secretary, would lead to a harder line from Berlin regarding the Article 50 Brexit talks. 

Yet again, it is the influence of a foreign politician and / or actor on the lives of the British people. It is the influence of a global elite. 

The government should ensure that they don't give into the ever-increasing pressures that will come from Berlin and Brussels over the next year, but in order to clean up politics in the UK there needs to be campaign finance reform. 

For individuals and political campaigns that are looking to change policy to be receiving such vast sums makes a mockery of our system. We need to drain the swamp of the dirty money that is corrupting our democracy. 

All views expressed in contributions by named authors are their own and may not reflect the views of The Freedom Association.

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