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Ofoc, there go the centrists!

SOLOMON HUGHES describes Our Future Our Choice's fitting end

OUR Future Our Choice, the anti-Brexit “youth group,” backed a hopeless “centrist” party called Advance Together during the last election.

Our Future Our Choice, known as Ofoc, spent a lot of effort trying to influence Labour Brexit policy, often through stunts that made a lot of noise, but didn’t involve that many activists.

But it turns out it was supporting the failing centrist Advance Together party during the election.

Records from the Electoral Commission show that Ofoc gave Advance Together £20,000 on December 7 in the run-up to the last election.

This was the largest donation Advance Together had ever received, and the only donation to a political party Ofoc has made.

Advance Together was founded in 2018 by former Lib Dem parliamentary candidate Annabel Mullin as an anti-Brexit, centrist party.

It was part of the craze for new centrist parties and went into the 2019 election in alliance with another centrist party called Renew.

They were completely unsuccessful.

Advance stood five candidates in the election, and won just 351 votes in total. The party’s leader, Mullin, won just 80 votes in Wokingham.

Advance stood on big but vacuous slogans, like “No more left or right” and “We are the political renewal.” It opposed “politics at the extremes” and offered up a bland proposal for “innovation, regulated free markets and responsible public finances.”

By backing Advance, Ofoc was backing the least inspiring and least successful “centrist” politics.

During the 2019 election period, the main People’s Vote campaign collapsed in acrimony, as Roland Rudd, the corporate lobbyist who ran the campaign, split the organisation.

Ofoc said it would break from the People’s Vote campaign to focus on the election instead, and “run a scheme encouraging young voters to vote tactically in key seats,” in an attempt to stop Boris Johnson and his “Get Brexit Done” campaign.

Giving money to the ineffectual Renew party may have been a peculiar way of trying to encourage “tactical” voting.

During the election Mullin and Renew paid for Facebook advertisements arguing against a Tory vote: “If you trust Donald Trump with our NHS, vote Conservative” the advertisements read, because “the Boris-Trump trade deal will be the end of the NHS as we know it.”

This was largely a copy of Labour messaging, but delivered by an anti-Labour, and more-or-less irrelevant centrist party.

Ofoc have a pattern of paying for “activism.” In 2018 it hired billboard trucks to drive around Labour constituencies demanding their MPs back a second referendum.

These paid-for events, combined with some stunts, got them a fair bit of press coverage.

But its campaign, while it had disrupted Labour’s messaging, was ultimately unsuccessful.

The failed campaigns for a second referendum paying one of Britain’s least successful “centrist” parties to run an election campaign seems a fitting end.

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