You can read 9 more articles this month
THE multimillionaire-led attempt to launch a new “centrist party” to beat Labour is up and running, but the branding is so bland you might mistake it for a new weight-loss product or an exciting online estate agent. Or even a new video-on-demand service.
It’s called United for Change, with the slogan: “They said change was impossible. Let’s show them it’s not.”
It is funded by Simon Franks. He set up DVDs-by-post service LoveFilm, then sold it to Amazon in 2011 for around £200 million.
They promptly closed it down, as they just wanted the membership list and to stop competition for their own online video service.
Once a Labour donor — he gave around £20,000 to the party and £15,000 for Ed Balls to help run his office back in 2014 — Franks hates Labour’s turn left.
Last year it leaked out that he is putting up £50m for a new “centrist party to fight Labour, through a company called Project One Movement Ltd.
This month, Franks’s multimillionaire-funded-but-as-yet-member-free party has a new name and a new website, United for Change. He is out to recruit a mix of “experts” — businessmen and Labour MPs willing to abandon their “tribalism” and “historical baggage.”
It’s a technocratic appeal for “creating policies on the back of evidence and research that deliver long-term, workable solutions to the issues we face,” though it is going to be linked with a “populist” stand of a “tough” policy to address “the collapse in public confidence in our immigration system.”
Franks is hosting his new party from his company headquarters in London. Appropriately this HQ is in Orwell House, as centrists love to think Orwell is their patron saint, which has always seemed a bit unfair on Orwell, who at various times backed armed revolution and never enthused about technocratic managerialism.
Since giving up LoveFilm, one of Franks’s biggest businesses, which sits in Orwell House alongside the new party, is Redbus Media, an “outdoor advertising” firm.
Redbus specialises in helping corporations sell to “youth,” meaning 16 to 19-year-olds and students of 18 to 24. It does this by having poster spaces and digital displays around both colleges for the youth and university campuses.
Redbus has other niche specialities, like targeting shoppers with adverts pinned to the handles and sides of shopping trollies. Its recent clients include Coca-Cola, McDonald’s and Nestle.
So the “new” party challenging Labour and promising to write a “new social contract for 21st century Britain” is housed and funded by a man who sells sugary drinks and fatty food to “youth” and puts ads for choccy bars on shopping trollies.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by joining the 501 club.
Just £5 a month gives you the opportunity to win one of 17 prizes, from £25 to the £501 jackpot.
By becoming a 501 Club member you are helping the Morning Star cover its printing, distribution and staff costs — help keep our paper thriving by joining!
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by become a member of the People’s Printing Press Society.
The Morning Star is a readers’ co-operative, which means you can become an owner of the paper too by buying shares in the society.
Shares are £1 each — though unlike capitalist firms, each shareholder has an equal say. Money from shares contributes directly to keep our paper thriving.
Some union branches have taken out shares of over £500 and individuals over £100.
You can’t buy a revolution, but you can help the only daily paper in Britain that’s fighting for one by donating to the Fighting Fund.
The Morning Star is unique, as a lone socialist voice in a sea of corporate media. We offer a platform for those who would otherwise never be listened to, coverage of stories that would otherwise be buried.
The rich don’t like us, and they don’t advertise with us, so we rely on you, our readers and friends. With a regular donation to our monthly Fighting Fund, we can continue to thumb our noses at the fat cats and tell truth to power.
Donate today and make a regular contribution.