[Image: OLIVIER HOSLET/AFP/Getty Images]
UK – Billionaire investor George Soros has received immense criticism again recently by giving £400,000 to pro-EU campaign ‘Best for Britain,’ whose chairman – Lord Malloch-Brown – has plead to stop Brexit by bringing down the Tory government. He is one of three main figures planning to launch a nationwide advertising campaign at the end of the month, which they hope will lead to a second referendum to keep the United Kingdom in the Union.
Their strategy is to convince Tory MPs to vote against Theresa May’s negotiation deals – regardless of its content – to trigger a new referendum or general election. “Malloch-Brown and his backers believe that, if Parliament rejects the Brexit deal, the government will fall, and Brexit can then be stopped,” Nick Timothy of the Telegraph explains.
Soros has, of course, gotten a lot of critique for supporting such a movement openly. A supporter of Soros, Fraser Nelson, for instance, critiqued him in a recent article called George Soros is a champion of democracy, but on Brexit he is on the wrong side:
“Many people think the elites have stolen their democracy,” Soros wrote a year ago. Quite so, yet he has now ended up bankrolling a campaign to reverse the biggest vote cast in the history of British democracy.
He denied accusations of him undermining democracy and said that the movement had his “wholehearted support.” Soros has – as a rationale for this position – referred to Britain doing economically better than the rest of Europe before Brexit, and claims that this has now been reversed, “with Continental economies powering ahead while Britain lags behind.” Such claims require great evidence, which he has not been cited to provide, but even regardless of whether this is true or not, the critique of him undermining democracy still stands. If the people have been given a vote, and the majority has voted for a path they want their country to follow, it naturally undermines the democratic system if it is attempted to nullify the results or make them arbitrary. That’s essentially what Soros does here. If he doesn’t like an outcome of an election or a referendum, he will do what’s in his power to override the results. Fraser says, “Soros is a great advocate of doing research before spending money, but failed to do enough before donating £400,000 to Best for Britain.” The sum itself isn’t enough for it to be likely to change public opinion drastically, but it has drawn attention to interventions in politics by such people as Soros. Fraser describes Best for Britain as they “could have been put together by a committee of sadistic Brexiteers wishing to caricature their opponents as out-of-touch elitists.” A quite telling illustration of the movement.
Soros doesn’t have much to gain of supporters by this investment, but he does have a goal, and his goals have been working out quite well for him in the past. He is known as the man who “broke the bank of England,” when he won a fortune in a gamble against the sterling on Black Wednesday in 1992, forcing the UK to withdraw from the European Exchange Rate mechanism after having tried desperately to increase interest rates to prevent it. He funded the Open Society Foundation (OSF) in 1979, which he has donated over $32 billion since its launch, making it the second largest philanthropic fund in the world.
Fraser quotes former President of Georgia Mikheil Saakshvili – whom Soros helped get elected – to have said “Soros was at his best in a clear battle between democracy and authoritarianism, but when he starts to play politics, he’s not that good.”