‘The Tufton Street Brexit Nexus’, public version, April 2018

Paul Mobbs & MEIR:

‘The Tufton Street Brexit Nexus’

Every now and then you spot an astounding set of connections within other work. Sometimes that spawns a new research project. In this case, however, everyone I tried to sell the ‘story’ to did not want to know!

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‘The Tufton Street Brexit Nexus’ is an analysis of the political and business lobby surrounding ‘Brexit’. It looks at little-known groups at the heart of that network, such as the Mont Pelerin Society; but its core focus are a number of right-wing lobbyists who all have offices around Tufton Street, only a short walk from Parliament, whose finances are effectively ‘dark’.

Tufton Street, London
Tufton Street, London

Around 2017 I tried to pull together a book on ‘fracking’. As I did, I kept noticing a number of names which I also kept seeing within the (allegedly) impartial media or business debate over Brexit. The fracking book becoming increasingly unsatisfactory, in December 2017 I decided to follow-up this idea instead.

By February 2018 I had pulled together enough to get a view of the whole thing – which I now call, ‘The Tufton Street Brexit Nexus’ (zoom that A3 PDF file to more than 200% to get the best results).

Note: The current PDF of the ‘map’ is what I call the ‘public version’. I have not yet released the detailed version, which contains clickable links to background information on the groups and people identified, as I still hope to find and outlet for the ‘story’.

By early March I extracted the outlines for up to five articles from the ‘map’, and sent out a synopsis of the whole research project to likely news outlets. The result: Nothing. I mean, apart from automated replies, no takers, no enquiries, nada!

I know I'm not the only specialist freelancer experiencing this problem right now, either.

Curiously though, four or five months after I had widely circulated my synopsis, other ‘alternative’ news sites (including at least two of which I had sent my synopsis to) began to cover the story. Not exactly from my ‘deep’ angle, but looking at the surface connections between the right-wing lobby groups and certain politicians.

Cambridge Analytica Offices, London
Media outside Cambridge Analytica’s Offices,
St. Giles, London

Then on 17th March 2018, the Cambridge Analytica scandal broke.

By complete co-incidence I had planned to go to London a few days later, on 21st March, to collect footage to make a video on the issue. I went around Tufton Street, then across to St. Giles where Cambridge Analytica's offices are located. I met some journalists and producers, and exchanged cards and a little information. Still no result.

The Brexit paralysis doesn’t just consume politics; it infects all the institutions who exist around politics and who are supposed to hold it to account.

They are failing because there are many issues – not just Brexit-related, but across many other troubling issues of public policy as well – which they will not touch, or devote resources to investigate in anything other than a cursory manner.

In the present political climate, it would appear, no one wants controversial data analysis! That’s pretty bad news for freelance researchers like myself who have a long history of covering issues that the mainstream media traditionally will not touch.

At present I am keeping a ‘watching brief’ on the Tufton Street issue. I still hope to market a ‘story’ from the work surrounding the Brexit Nexus map, and I still have useful footage to make a video on the issue. At present, however, I cannot progress the work without an idea for who might fund its eventual publication.

‘The Tufton Street Brexit Nexus’, ‘public’ version, April 2018
‘The Tufton Street Brexit Nexus’ (April 2018)

Note: This is the ‘public’ version – I have not yet released the detailed version (containing
clickable links and other background information) as I hope to still find and outlet for the ‘story’.