Sunday, July 29, 2018

Did Mark Littlewood start out in the Chard Group?

© Steve Barnes
It looks as though Mark Littlewood will be in the news this week thanks to this Guardian story:
The director of the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) was secretly recorded telling an undercover reporter that funders could get to know ministers on first-name terms and that his organisation was in “the Brexit influencing game”.
Mark Littlewood claimed the IEA could make introductions to ministers and said the thinktank’s trade expert knew Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, David Davis and Liam Fox well. 
The IEA chief was also recorded suggesting potential US donors could fund and shape “substantial content” of research commissioned by the thinktank and that its findings would always support the argument for free-trade deals.
The Guardian also quotes Littlewood's response that there is nothing wrong with any of this, though I am not convinced by research whose conclusions you know before you have conducted it.

Sir Karl Popper writes: Neither am I and nor is Caron Lindsay. And is "thinktank" really one word?

As Littlewood is in the news, it seems a good time to quote a 2010 item from Liberator's Radical Bulletin - you can download a pdf of the whole issue yourself.

That story runs:
A fascinating Chard Group document comes our way (and that is not a phrase you will often read in Liberator). Long before its present preoccupation with running conference raffles, the Chard Group was set up and run by Richard Denton-White to support Paddy Ashdown’s objective, set out in his 1992 speech in Chard, of working more closely with Labour. 
The September 1995 issue of the group’s Campaigner newsletter says its new vice-chair is Mark Littlewood, who “is now the youth president of the European Movement”. 
Someone called Mark Littlewood was the Lib Dems’ head of media until his unfortunate spot of bother with Ming Campbell’s inaugural conference speech as leader in March 2006, and later ran the lunatic-fringe libertarian right Liberal Vision, before departing the Lib Dems last year to become director of the Thatcherite Institute of Economic Affairs. 
That Mark Littlewood was, by an extraordinary coincidence, described as a former youth officer of the European Movement in a 2004 interview in PR Week to mark his appointment as Lib Dem press officer. 
So did Littlewood really make the strange political journey from Denton-White’s pro-Labour body to the wilder shores of the libertarian right – and, if so, where might he next be found?
Well, he's still to be found at the IEA. But if he did start our with the Chard Group his journey has been stranger even than that of his employee Darren Grimes.

1 comment:

Phil Beesley said...

During the video embedded in the following story, Mark Littlewood can't stop scratching his nose.

Leaning back, tie and shirt open, ruffled jacket -- Littlewood tries to present as a confident man. But the scuffed up appearance is of a man scuffed up for a photo shoot in which he didn't expect to be a star.

Mark Littlewood got out of his depth. Good riddance.