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Tax Exile Funds Second EU Referendum Campaign

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion and Ethics' started by Markham, Jan 21, 2017.

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  1. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Richard Branson, whose ownership of Virgin Group has made him so spectacularly wealthy that he lives full time as a tax exile on his private Necker Island in the British Virgin Islands, is providing funding, office space and leadership to "UK-EU Open Policy Limited" which aims to prevent Brexit. Branson, who is worth an estimated £4.5 billion, used to divide his time between his Holland Park mansion and his 200 acre Oxfordshire estate but moved to Necker - which he bought in the late 1970s from Lord Cobham for $180,000 - in 2013.

    Heading the campaign group is Virgin chairman Peter Norris and former Blairite minister Alan Milburn. The remaining backers are all successful in the realm of finance and include the insurance tycoon Sir Clive Cowdery who made £150 million when his Friends Life insurance company was acquired by Aviva in 2015. They also include Anatole Kaletsky who is an economist who has said that Britain needs to be persuaded to change its mind about Europe. They will be based at an office suite within Virgin's London headquarters at no cost to the campaign group.

    Branson believes voters have "shot themselves in the foot" out of ignorance and wants them to change their minds and to press the government to hold a second referendum. He claims "The referendum was just an advisory referendum. Once people see the terms and the consequences of what’s happening, things could change." His group will launch their campaign when Theresa May begins her negotiations with the EU.

    Tory MP Peter Bone said: "The Establishment, and I include Richard Branson in that now, is determined to thwart exiting the EU and this shows what they are up to. They do not accept the democratic view of the British people and think they know better, but this liberal elitism is one of the reasons people voted to come out. I’m sure the campaign will have tons of money but it will still fail as the British people know they want to take control, be an independent sovereign country again. I’m disappointed someone who runs an international airline would think the EU is that important. I’m sure some people will decide to no longer fly with Virgin Atlantic."

    Virgin Group is involved in domestic aviation with subsidiaries operating in Australia and the United States as well as Virgin Atlantic whose sole EU destination is London; unlike Easyjet and Ryanair it does not operate within the European Union nor does it have any plans to do so.

    I have met and interviewed Richard Branson several times including on Virgin's inaugural flight to San Francisco towards the end of the 1980s. In those days, he was the maverick fighting an airline establishment elite (that included British Airways) that had already seen-off Freddie Laker's challenge and, using dirty tricks, were determined that this former "barrow boy" would not succeed in the airline business.

    Branson couldn't beat the establishment back then, so he joined it, became successful and moved out of HMRC's reach. He no longer personally lives in or contributes to Britain but he still presumes to tell Britons how they should vote whilst counting his cash, mostly acquired in Britain, in luxurious surroundings in the eastern Caribbean.
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2017
  2. Timmers
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    Timmers Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    I do not believe for one moment that the Liberal elite will win over the decision of the man in the street, I hope people like Branson realise they will be cutting their own throats trying to thwart the decision of the British people.

    Yet another person who doesn't believe in democracy, they think by having money they can change things to suit their circumstances, that may work in their business circle but it will not work when you are up against the might of the British voting public.
  3. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    I agree and I think that once that reality sinks-in, they'll switch tactics and lobby MPs hard into voting against Brexit. Easier to sway fewer than a hundred or so remain-supporting MPs into ignoring the will of the majority than to change the minds of tens of thousands of leave supporters.

    Democracy bought is democracy denied.
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  4. Timmers
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    Timmers Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    It does annoy me somewhat to think their are people out there who would like to scupper the will of the British people because they think they know better or the result goes against their business interests, a referendum result to me is final, no if's or but's.

    There will no doubt be MPs who vote against the triggering of article 50, interesting times ahead no doubt.
  5. Timmers
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    Timmers Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    Just a thought, what would happen if MPs blocked the triggering of article 50?
  6. Dave_E
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    Dave_E Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    Branson has been supporting this group of knuckle dragging elite for several months now.

    About time he accepts that the EU is history, and helps to make Brexit a success.
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  7. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    Well if the Supreme Court rules that MPs must vote a "trigger Article 50" Bill into law then if that Bill gets defeated, May will have to call a snap General Election. She would almost certainly increase her majority by at least 100 which would enable her to get the Article 50 Bill through and complete the business of Brexit almost unhindered.

    MPs would be well advised to respect the will of the people and not frustrate the process to avoid any possibility of civil unrest.
  8. Timmers
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    Timmers Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    You're probably right, things could turn nasty for certain.

    Lets hope it doesn't come to that and politicians see sense.
  9. Methersgate
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    Methersgate Well-Known Member Lifetime Member

    Yawn.
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  10. Dave_E
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    Dave_E Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    Good night Andrew.

    Pleasant dreams.:like:
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  11. Timmers
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    Timmers Well-Known Member Trusted Member

    He's a lad is our Andrew, thank God the majority of people do not share his views, which of course he is entitled to.
  12. Markham
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    Markham . Lifetime Member

    The above is not entirely correct. Virgin Group, founded by Richard Branson, owns 51% of Virgin Atlantic Airways (the remaining 49% is owned by the American airline, Delta). Virgin Group sold its 25% stake in Virgin America to Alaska Air Group in December 2016 and the group is a minority shareholder of Virgin Australia Holdings, owning just 8% - down from 50% when that company was formed in 2002.

    Interestingly Virgin did have a European operation namely Virgin Express, based in Brussels, and its subsidiary Virgin Express France but both these airlines were sold off after ten years in 2006. It also briefly operated Virgin Sun whose hubs in Manchester and Gatwick serviced routes to the Canary Islands and Mediterranean destinations, principally Corfu, but for just two years before it was sold in 2001.

    Controversially, Virgin Group is a driving force behind NHS privatisation: its wholly-owned subsidiary Virgin Care is said to have around 330 contracts with the NHS to provide GP and community health services.

    Other than operating a few gyms in Spain, Portugal and Italy, it would appear that Virgin Group has no interests within the EU, where it operates abroad it is in non-EU countries such as America, Japan and Qatar.
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