Rebel Wisdom
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Rebel Wisdom

Did Brian Rose use the money he scammed from his followers to run for Mayor?

The final judgement of the voters in the London Mayor race will be laid down tomorrow. But an election campaign is meant to be the process of testing candidates’ policies and characters in the crucible of a high pressure situation. And with just a couple of days to go, it looks like people are starting to see the real Brian Rose. His run-in with the 15-year-old hosts of the Politics Relaxed podcast (left), where he cut the interview short, and then cynically blocked them uploading it to YouTube seems to have cut through, with outlets including Guido Fawkes running the story. His “free speech” credentials are in tatters. However, the key question, in the headline above, has yet to be asked properly by the mainstream media. In this piece, I lay out the publicly available evidence for the first time.

Boxing, breakdancing and buff. The Times strokes Brian’s ego

I have been hugely critical of the quality of the coverage of Brian Rose since the beginning of the campaign, with a puff piece in the Times followed by another unchallenging interview in the Evening Standard. However, in the time since the Standard piece was published, possibly under pressure from angry commenters and tweets, asking where their money went, the Standard have made a highly unusual, and highly prominent edit to their story.

The original can be seen archived here. The new version has this paragraph inserted, as the third paragraph in the story: “The financing of Rose’s Mayoral bid has been questioned — the Digital Freedom crowdfunder raised more than a million US dollars but the platform is yet to be set up. That has led to speculation donations have been diverted into his campaign fund. A spokesperson for the Brian For Mayor campaign says: “We firmly refute the allegations that any money raised to support our Digital Freedom Platform initiative has been used for financing the mayoral campaign. The majority of our campaign spend has been self-funded. We believe in our policies, we believe in our ideas and we back ourselves to win on May 6th.” Rose added he was taking legal action against a publisher of the allegation.”

Strong stuff, and while this is to be welcomed, an edit of this magnitude should be flagged up at the end of the article, not done stealthily and uncredited.

This is the first clear denial on the record from Brian about the Digital Freedom Platform (DFP) money being used to fund the Mayoral campaign. Now I am intrigued as to who he has taken “legal action” against, and have my strong doubts that it is true. However, to have brought it up is what you call in poker a “tell”, that he’s very worried about this claim spreading further. And for good reason, his own terms and conditions for the DFP made what looks like a legally binding commitment.

I’ve never outright accused Brian of funding the mayoral campaign through the Digital Freedom Platform scam. Only someone inside LR with access to the books and inner knowledge would be able to confirm that (hello [more] whistleblowers!). However, I will spell out what we do know, and can prove, that hasn’t been widely reported.

The Timeline

So this is what we know about the DFP funds and the Mayoral campaign, with screenshots and evidence. He originally claimed the DFP would be “independent of London Real”. Actually the money went to Longstem Ltd, Brian’s company that owns London Real.

The latest accounts (up to December 2019) show that Longstem is still in serious debt, now to the tune of over half a million pounds. More evidence of Brian’s great business acumen that London will be cruelly deprived of by the verdict of the voters.

The DFP was launched in May 2020, spurred on by (valid) fears of big tech censorship in the febrile early months of the pandemic, and was one of Brian’s sole successes, raking in $1m. Admittedly we only have the counter on his own website to go by to validate that, but as Coffeezilla points out, he quickly kept pulling extra (ludicrous) ‘stretch goals’ out of the air to keep the crowdfunder going, so it must have been working. He claimed EXPLICITLY (left) that the money would only go towards the DFP.

For newcomers, the whole backstory of the DFP is here. Why I feel comfortable calling it a scam is because the promised entity never really existed: 1. It was sold as being an independent entity, it wasn’t. 2. It existed only as a plugin within London Real’s website. 3. The ‘tech solutions’ he used cost a tiny fraction of the money raised. 4. Brian added multiple stretch goals such as ‘blockchain technology’, ‘taking YouTube to court’, none of which have happened. Anyone who has tried to question what happened to the money on London Real’s YouTube site or livestreams has been systematically censored and banned.

When he launched his Mayoral campaign at the end of 2020, the information on his Mayoral website said that donations would be going to “Brian for Mayor Ltd” (left). Which is good, standard practice for political campaigns, a separate company for clear financial record keeping and a demonstration of good faith.

But meanwhile, publicly available data from Google showed that the YouTube ads for Brian’s mayoral campaign were actually being paid for by Longstem Ltd.

Then a canny Redditor did a search of Companies House and found that the company “Brian for Mayor Ltd” didn’t actually exist. Emails to Companies House, which they took very seriously, revealed that they had no record of it, and they got in touch with Brian’s campaign.

Soliciting donations for a nonexistent company for a political campaign is a serious business. Companies House made that point forcefully to Brian’s team, and they made a stealth edit to their website, which now shows that any donations to Brian’s campaign are actually going to Longstem Ltd after all. Why would Brian try to obscure this?

Add to that that Brian has claimed he is spending “seven figures” on the campaign. This is something he has regularly claimed, despite the Electoral Commission limiting spending to £420,000 (left).

So given that money by its nature is fungible, we know that the same company is funding the Mayoral campaign that was receiving the funds from the DFP scam. And that it was in serious debt before this scam brought in “seven figures”. I should reiterate that Brian denies this allegation in the strongest terms. And will sue anyone who accuses him of doing so.

The DFP campaign happened in May 2020. The money that Brian took in through the DFP would be taxable income. A large corporation tax bill awaited him if the money was still in the company at the end of the year. How could he possibly spend such a large amount of money in such a short space of time and get it off the books?

Incidentally, as a journalist who knows defamation law very well, while I haven’t outright accused him of funding the Mayoral campaign via the DFP, I have made other statements that Brian could sue me for, if they were untrue. I have called the DFP a ‘scam’ and I have accused Brian of lying. Because he has lied on multiple occasions. I have proof of those statements, and if he wants to go to court and lay the whole thing bare, that’s highly unlikely to go well for him. Also the NDAs that he has used to muzzle former employees are not valid when it comes to a court case, and I suspect he doesn’t want to go there.

From the start I have been clear about this. Brian Rose has the right to run for Mayor of London. The press are right to cover the electoral process. However, the quid pro quo HAS to be that his words and deeds are scrutinised, otherwise he’s just hacking the electoral process for profile.

Brian’s PR meltdown

Luckily things seem to have come to a head in the last few days of the campaign. His decision to cut short an interview with the 15-year-old hosts of the Politics Relaxed podcast, and then attempt to copyright strike their interview to prevent it being seen, was breathtakingly cynical for the supposed free speech candidate. And also mindnumbingly stupid from a media relations perspective. That he then compounded that error by accusing the children of lying about what happened, when they HAD THE PROOF that he had indeed cut the interview short and blocked the upload, was another sign of how far out of their depth Brian and his PR team are when it comes to the level of scrutiny that comes with a Mayoral campaign.

The true accountability for Brian’s multiple lies has not come from the media, but from the dedicated amateur sleuths of the internet. In particular the anklebiters of the Gamma Secret Kings Reddit community. They have tracked through all the online material, found all the digital receipts, and pieced together everything that Brian has wanted to hide. As the famous saying goes: “Journalism is what someone, somewhere doesn’t want printed, everything else is public relations.”

One suggestion to the GSK massive. The thing that broke through and allowed the media to start running pieces questioning Rose’s courses, was the FB group set up with 300 members or so. Finding someone who donated and was angry about it was much harder. A petition, or similar gathering place for the DFP folks would solve that problem.

This has been another example of how, as Jordan Hall has described at length on Rebel Wisdom, in the age of the internet, power has shifted from the crumbling mainstream media towards the nascent ‘collective intelligence’ made possible through decentralised media. Reddit’s ‘The Donald’ elected Trump, but GSK may have destroyed Brian Rose.

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