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Friday, 2 January 2015

Henry Jackson Society - Who Pays?

Few out there on the right are saying anything about the decision by the increasingly right-wing Henry Jackson Society (HJS) to withdraw funding from two Parliamentary groups because it was not prepared to let Commons authorities know where it got its money. In this it is not alone; Zelo Street regulars will recall that the so-called Taxpayers’ Alliance is equally coy about who pays its bills.
Douglas Murray - not the voice of tolerance

The HJS “had provided an office and staff to organise meetings for the two groups, chaired by Tory MP Bernard Jenkin and Labour MP Gisela Stuart. The arrangement also saw the society’s political director, Davis Lewin, and its events manager, Hanna Nomm, given Commons passes as part of this support”. That arrangement has now been terminated.

The Guardian, which revealed the HJS action, also tried to piece together the known income sources for the HJS, whose income for 2013 is estimated at £1,313,000. “The Atkin Charitable Foundation, a London-based charity founded by a British businessman turned philanthropist Edward Atkin”, may have given around £125,000, and “The Stanley Kalms foundation, named after the Dixons boss, also gave the society £100,000 last year”. Kalms has recently been expelled from the Tory Party.

That still leaves well over £1 million unexplained, and this matters, not least because the HJS, in the shape of its associate director Douglas Murray, has been increasingly anti-Islamic over the years. Murray “complained last year that London had ‘become a foreign country’ because white Britons were a minority in 23 of 33 London boroughs”. The Tory front bench formally broke off relations with him in 2011.

Why this should have happened is not hard to understand. Murray had asserted “Conditions for Muslims in Europe must be made harder across the board: Europe must look like a less attractive proposition … all immigration into Europe from Muslim countries must stop”. He advocated forced deportation, even of Muslims born in European countries. There were circumstances in which he approved demolition of mosques.

As the Guardian also noted, “Murray has … been pictured with Robert Spencer, the far-right US anti-Islam campaigner banned last year from Britain by the Home Office … the US-based rightwing Gatestone Institute … publishes Douglas Murray’s writing alongside Geert Wilders, the founder and leader of the Dutch Party for Freedom who has declared he ‘hates Islam’”. The thought enters that he’s an Islamophobic bigot.

Does it matter where the HJS gets its money? Yes it does: this is an organisation that has turned sharply to the intolerant right in recent years, and is trying to influence Government and other opinion formers. Had Doug Murray The K made any of those comments about Jews, he’d have - rightly - been ostracised and openly condemned. The thought that this group is being funded by interests outside the UK should be ringing alarm bells.

If the HJS is seeking to influence policy, it should say who is paying. No ifs, no buts.


john Böttcher said...

Might be worth asking that well known left wing socialist firebrand and founding member of the HJS, Jim Murphy M.P., Leader of Scottish Labour a few questions, no?

Nibs said...

This blowhard Murray is regularly on the BBC advoicating war against Syria, as though he is some sort of unbiased observer or expert. The Beeb never mentions the funding of the HJS of course.

Anonymous said...

These are the views of Bernard Jenkin about the invasion of Iraq.


The interesting thing to note is that he thinks that concerns about international law are phony. The disastrous results of the invasion are due to these phony concerns, according to Jenkin, and not to the flawed nature of the invasion itself.

This is very much in line with HJS thinking - that the UK should get involved in wars without concern about international law. The recent Islamophobic line of the HJS isn't the main reason why the HJS is dangerous.