Legatum Institute

The Legatum Institute devises and promotes methods of conning the public to make them believe that extreme exploitative “free market” capitalism can help everyone rather than just helping a tiny elite of financial gangsters.  

This objective is displayed brazenly throughout Legatum’s literature, speeches and interviews.  For example, as a response to a data-driven report Public Opinion Post-Brexit that showed that there is majority public support in Britain for state control of capitalist mayhem, the author, Matthew Elliot, ended the report by stating

Now, the political class will need to turn its attention to economic attitudes, or face the risk of the ground shifting beneath its feet.  And for those who believe that competition, entrepreneurship and free trade are key drivers to make societies more prosperous, it’s time for us to up our game.

That is a plea for the capitalist elite to fight back against the intelligence and knowledge of the public; by “our game” Elliot meant the game of PR, confidence trickery and fraud.  In his comment on the report Elliot displayed utter contempt for the public’s decisions:

It [the report] suggests that economic attitudes in the country are further to the left than is widely appreciated, posing a challenge for those who have seen at first hand the power of competition, entrepreneurship and free trade to drive prosperity.”  
“The findings of our polling are concerning for anyone committed to the principles of free enterprise. Competition entrepreneurship and free trade are all essential to achieving prosperity, not to simply generate profit for businesses, but to extend opportunity to all.” 

On the same comment page Elliot tried to denigrate left-of-centre politics by equally applying the pejorative term “populist” to the extreme right and to any political stance to the left of Legatum’s.  This tactic of misrepresentation was a clumsy attempt to position mainstream left-of-centre politics as an outlier and to position right-wing unrestricted “free-market” exploitation as the norm and as the centre of the Overton window.  It also normalised the far right: Elliot discussed right-wing populists such as Geert Wilders, Marine Le Pen and the Alternative für Deutschland” but his “populists” Wilders, Le Pen and Weidel are racist extremists.  His downplaying of their extremism was deliberate.

Disaster Capitalism
In Open Democracy on Legatum Peter Geoghegan explained the history of Legatum Institute and its international umbrella group Legatum Foundation, and he discussed the influence it has on the Tory government.  He described the founders of Legatum Foundation as

disaster capitalists. They created a hedge fund in the 1980s after selling the family department store in Hamilton, New Zealand. They piled into Russia in the ‘shock therapy’ years when the Soviet Union’s state-run businesses were rapidly privatised.  Sovereign Global, the brothers’ fund, was by their reckoning the largest foreign portfolio investor in Russia by 1994. By 2002 the pair were the fourth largest investor in Gazprom, the Russian state-controlled gas company.”

In other words, organised crime on a grand multi-billion rouble scale.  Former public-owned services were stolen from the Russian people and continue to be a revenue stream of unearned income for the so-called ‘oligarchs’ and their overseas partners in crime.  

In a different article Peter Geoghegan revealed that Legatum Institute’s income has increased hugely in the last five years with most of that income from Legtaum Foundation.

The foundation is registered in Bermuda and controlled by a company in the Cayman Islands. The Legatum Institute’s income has grown significantly in recent years, from £35,000 in 2012, to more than £4m in 2016, with around 90% coming from the Legatum Foundation.”

It is no surprise that two notorious locations for mass tax-dodging house the Legatum Foundation.

Post-Brexit Britain
The new target for the Legatum disaster capitalists is post-Brexit Britain.  As part of the process of departure from the EU the Tory government intends to remove all restrictions on exploitation including workers’ rights, tenants’ rights, access to justice and free speech as well as removing dampeners on financial recklessness and on tax avoidance.  The Tories intend to rapidly privatise police, fire and health services.  All such changes provide opportunities for the most disreputable and immoral wealth terrorists, and the Legatum Foundation and its associates are salivating in expectation.

Legatum Institute’s Brexit Inflection Point report press release stated

Historically, the British system of free trade made Britain, Europe and the world richer. The EU system that has replaced it—of protectionism and harmonised regulation—has constrained economic growth for Britain and the world. There is now a brief opportunity for Britain to restore her freedom to trade, liberalising the global trading system itself.”

Legatum’s support for “free trade” for Britain, free from the EU’s “protectionism,” is the same con as that perpetrated by the Institute for Free Trade: “The IFT’s real objective is not “free trade.”  Its objective is to make it easer for international capitalists to exploit more widely.  The IFT yearns for the days of imperialist colonialist empires” is a summary from Institute For Free Trade and it apples equally to Legatum.

Historically, the British system of free trade made Britain, Europe and the world richer” is a grotesque misrepresentation of Britain’s vicious colonialism and spotlights Legatum’s intent clearly.

Legatum Institute people
The report author mentioned above, Matthew Elliot, was the director of Vote Leave, the main lobby group for exiting the EU during the EU referendum campaign.  Vote Leave is being investigated by the Electoral Commission for alleged overspending during that campaign: Electoral Commission investigation.

Philippa Stroud, Legatum’s CEO, founded the Centre for Social Justice alongside Iain Duncan-Smith, to whom she was a special adviser for the entirety of the 2010-2015 Tory/Lib Dem government; in that role she was one of the architects of Universal Credit and of other devastating cuts to welfare provision.  Thus, the thousands of deaths caused by the Tories’ continuous assaults on the lives of the poorest people, particularly people with disabilities, are the responsibility of Stroud.  She is as culpable a mass murderer as Duncan-Smith is.

Shanker Singham‘s interesting history of political and business connections was discussed by Peter Geoghegan in his Open Democracy article mentioned (and linked to) above.  Singham plays a major role in Tories’ Brexit plans.  His main focus is promotion and development of charter cities.  See Baker Street Herald.

Among Legatum’s fellows is think-tank hopper Tim Montgomorie.  As a co-founder of both the ConservativeHome website and Centre for Social Justice, Montgomorie’s experience as a charlatan is plentiful.  

Links to brief descriptions of other right-wing think-tanks: UK think-tanks

Legatum Institute

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