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The Acanchi Effect

The financial position of ailing marketing firm Acanchi underwent a startling transformation in 2012 just as they started work on creating the fake grassroots movement “Vote No Borders”.

In 2011 Acanchi’s auditors noted “The Company made a loss in the current year of £197,003, and at the balance sheet date its liabilities exceeded its assets by £385,162”. The company had a turnover of £25,631 against cost of sales of £21,283 and “admin expenses” of £201,125.

In 2012 Acanchi started work in Cambridge and London on developing the “VNB” PR campaign against Scottish Independence, which is surprising given that BBC propaganda portrayed VNB as a spontaneous movement of local Scots. We know they started in 2012 because one of Acanchi’s staff, Jessica Quiney, posted it on her CV on Linked-in. The CV page was deleted yesterday but not before Wings Over Scotland grabbed a screenshot.

This work for the No campaign coincided with an amazing turnaround in Acanchi’s financial fortunes. In 2011 they made a loss of £197,003. In 2012 they made a profit of £103,292. The income from sales went from £25,631 in 2011 to £348,835 in 2012.

There is a very interesting explanation given in the Directors’ report to the Acanchi annual accounts for 2012. It is signed by Gary Waple, the man who registered the “Vote No Borders” domain and who now works for the Regulatory Commission of the Bank of England. Mr Waple states in the 2012 Acanchi Directors’ report:

The nature of Acanchi’s business is that the award of government contracts is subject to external delays beyond the Company’s control. As stated in last year’s financial statement, the Directors’ forecast that there would be a significant improvement in these financial statements. This was achieved as the result of the company being awarded contracts in the current period which had been the subject of long on-going discussions in the past.”

So what was young Jessica Quiney doing at Acanchi at this period? Well, in 2012 she:

“collated and formatted material promoting the pro-Union arguments in opposition to the SNP’s call for Scottish independence including development of narratives, a positioning strategy and a programme of micro-initiatives for this project.”

In 2013 Jessica was:

“Involved in the development and implementation of a proposal and subsequent micro-initiatives for a campaign supporting the No vote in the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014”.

Vote No Borders had nine adverts in one single edition of the Daily Record newspaper in Scotland this week, each giving the story of a single “grassroots” Scots punter and why they are against independence. These “narratives” were developed by Jessica Quiney, a Cambridge classics student, born in England and educated at Northampton High School. I can see no evidence she has ever been to Scotland. Interestingly the photographer, Claire Borley, who took all the photos of “typical Scots” for the No Borders campaign which are appearing in the newspapers, is also Cambridge based.

Claire Borley’s cv gives a stunning glimpse into just how real and gritty this “Scottish grassroots campaign” is:

Born and raised in Cambridge, my professional life has always been about communication.

After gaining an English degree and jumping in at the deep-end in Bermuda as a PA with limited shorthand but fast typing, I worked in television production in London. Here I built up a wide variety of skills working for the Walt Disney Company, Buena Vista International, Buena Vista Productions, Roger Bolton Productions, Wall to Wall TV and Windfall Films.

After spending a number of years on the production side of a visual industry I felt it was time to develop my own creative abilities. With this in mind I returned to Cambridge and continued to work successfully as a freelance photographer for advertising, editorial and corporate clients as well as private clients, musicians and performers.

My aim is always to capture the personality and essence of the individual moment and make each project unique for the client. This leads to much of my work being used for PR, marketing and multi-media broadcast. I enjoy working below the line (direct mail, flyers etc), above the line (mass media advertising) or through the line (bit of both).

Young Jessica Quiney has done nothing wrong. Despite the fact that Fiona Gilmore, 100% owner of Acanchi, was now by 2012 raking in 100 grand a year in profit, poor Jessica was not even being properly paid – she was an intern, an example of the appalling exploitation of our young generation and the total lack of respect in modern society for the value of labour against capital.

But what cannot be forgiven is the BBC’s extraordinary promotion of VNB as a genuine grassroots organization – in total just under 150 minutes were devoted to showing Gavin Esler’s puff piece on the BBC News Channel, not to mention at least 20 minutes on other BBC news programmes.

It has recently come to light that the UK government has been rocked by private polling costing £56,000 of taxpayers’ money, which shows a major fall in “No” support. It is incredible that the government even thinks it is legitimate to pay with taxes for private polling to be made available to only one side in the referendum campaign. It does make you wonder, what else do they think it is OK to pay for? My strong expectation is that the poll of which news has been leaked is only the latest in a series; polling statistics are the basis of PR strategies such as the one Acanchi has been developing for the No campaign.

I cannot leave the subject of Acanchi without referring to this report that:

According to the Israeli daily Haaretz, in October 2008, it was the turn of British firm Acanchi, hired by the foreign minister “to craft the new image” (“Foreign Ministry, PR firm rebrand Israel as land of achievements,” 6 October 2008). The firm’s founder toured Israel as part of the mission “to create a brand disconnected from the Arab-Israeli conflict that focuses instead on Israel’s scientific and cultural achievements.”

I have deep contempt for Fiona Gilmore. To try to create a “brand image” for Israel that leaves out the Palestinians, is the moral equivalent of creating a “brand image” for the Nazis that leaves out the concentration camps. Anyone who can tour Israel as the guest of the Israeli foreign office to that end, is not somebody I would wish to associate with. She is however the ideal partner for Malcolm Offord, the Vote No Borders financier – and major contributor to the Tory Party and to Michael Gove personally – who argues that Britain needs much more drastic cuts to welfare benefits. There must be something about food banks that gladdens the Tory heart. The prospect of not having any in Scotland evidently terrifies them.

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Give Generously and Give Freedom Wings

I urge anybody with the remotest interest in fairness and justice to donate to the Wings Over Scotland fundraising appeal. Against the biased BBC and a 97.5% rabid unionist media, against DFID money fed in through Acanchi and the entirely fake No Borders campaign, against Saudi money fed in through the Ulster bigots of the DUP, Wings Over Scotland really is the most effective, wide reaching and important media of communication available to the Scottish Independence movement. Anybody who can afford something, and agrees that in a democracy both sides of a ballot ought to be heard, should donate. The second Independence referendum is indeed coming.

To be plain I have no connection at all to Wings Over Scotland and do not stand to receive anything from this appeal. I am donating myself.

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BBC Bias

I am involved quite extensively in the making of what I believe to be a valuable independent documentary. It is based on George Ponsonby’s excellent book London Calling, and has the working title How the BBC Stole the Referendum. We have already done a few hours filming of my contribution.

The film is being directed by Alan Knight. It still requires some finance, having raised over £12,000 so far from crowd sourcing. If any readers of this blog can make a contribution, it would be gratefully received. I vouch for the good faith and commitment of the production team, though I am not in any sense connected with the management or finances.

I should like to ask for a couple of other bits of help as well. Can anybody find the BBC footage of the appalling Gavin Esler puff piece for the “Vote No Borders” PR campaign. The BBC broadcast it repeatedly on every TV news programme on 2 May 2014, but seem to have managed to erase all trace of it from the internet. It might also be useful if somebody could take a little video footage of the company nameplate of Acanchi Ltd at 24 Chiswell Street, London, EC2Y 4YX. Footage of the nameplate, the street sign and a little of the surroundings, just to visually establish it is in London. The technical quality of that little bit of video is not terrifically important.

UPDATE

See Gill R’s comment below. The company may be at Unit 311 Business Design Centre, 52 Upper Street, London N1 0QH. If anyone can easily get to either address and see what they can film it would still be helpful.

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BBC Propaganda Hits New All-Time Low

Every half hour BBC News is running a three minute puff piece which is even more sinister for what it hides than for what it says – and By God! That is sinister enough.

“Now the BBC has learned about an alternative No campaign which calls itself No Borders a group determined to rouse the emotions many feel about being Scottish but also British.  Gavin Essler has this exclusive report:”

GAVIN ESLER: “A recording studio on the outskirts of Edinburgh.  A group of musicians putting the finishing touches to a song which they hope could save the United Kingdom”

(Pretty girls caterwauling unpleasantly). The song is part of a new campaign called No Borders.  Their website goes live today on the anniversary of the Union”

(Long speech by Malcolm Offord of No Borders – not a single question asked).

GAVIN ESLER (orgasmic voice): “Here in the very heart of Glasgow in fact almost anywhere you go anywhere in Scotland you’re never far away from our three hundred years of shared British history…. Putting the passion into the campaign to save the United Kingdom is exactly what No Borders say they are about.”

(Another statement from Malcolm Offord.  Still not asked any questions).

GAVIN ESLER ‘The idea is a grassroots campaign to rival that of the pro-independence campaign, based on those who wish to remain in the UK.  A retired care nurse from Glasgow Elizabeth Bashir is one of those who has given her testimonial.

(Pro-union view from sweet old lady.)

(14 seconds to spokesman for Yes campaign – presumably this is BBC “balance”.)

(Pretty Girls Caterwauling Again).

GAVIN ESLER “In the music industry they say you should never rewrite a hit, and No Borders say the Union has been a great hit worldwide for three hundred years.  But others say it might be time to sing a new song.”

Now this long propaganda piece for the No campaign is disgusting in itself for its internal bias, and for the fact that the very much larger grassroots movement the Radical Independence Campaign has never been given any publicity by the BBC (and the failure to reference the longstanding anarchist No Borders movement).  It is not even news – it is two days since “Vote No Borders” was given an even longer bout of free publicity on Newsnight Scotland.

But what makes this propaganda utterly unforgiveable is that Vote No Borders is not a grassroots campaign at all but a government organized campaign which has mysteriously acquired start-up cash of 400,000 pounds with no declared origin.

The registered office of Vote No Borders, a private limited company, is at 24 Chiswell Street, London, EC2Y 4YX . Which is perhaps surprising for a “Scottish grassroots campaign”.  The directors are Malcolm Offord and Fiona Gilmore.

Now pay close attention: Fiona Gilmore is chief executive of Acanchi a PR Consultany which specializes in “Country Branding”.  Its clients include Israel, Dubai, Bahrain and “England”.  Yes, it actually specifies “England” on the company website.  Acanchi also works for DFID – in short, it gets UK taxpayers’ money, plus Israeli and Gulf Arab money.  Are you familiar with the word fungibility?

Malcolm Offord, it turns out, has donated over 120,000 pounds to the Conservative Party plus made personal donations to Michael Gove.  He is the author of the report “Bankrupt Britain” on the Conservative Home website.  In his paper Offord suggests that further cuts in UK public spending should continue to be made  even after the present debt crisis has been passed and urges government to:

“Reform the bloated benefits system of this country to reduce the burden on the state and, just as importantly, boost the growth rate of the country”

And the wee retired care home nurse Elizabeth Bashir?  Well, she’s not quite as “grassroots” as shown by the BBC either.

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That picture is definitely the “grassroot” Elizabeth Bashir interviewed by the BBC.  There is also an Elizabeth Bashir from Glasgow on Facebook who “likes” Vote No Borders [reference here deleted as it has been pointed out, I think fairly, it was to something probably meant as a joke]. This lady has expensive tastes for a grassroot, her other “likes” are Svarovski Crystal, the swanky Aura club in Mayfair and Faz Collection clothes.  Strangely although she calls herself Elizabeth Bashir, Glasgow and supports Vote no Borders, everything she “likes” which has a geographical location is in London.  It is conceivably a different Elizabeth Bashir from Glasgow, perhaps a daughter, but the coincidence of the Vote No Borders like is very strong.

It took me an hour with google to find all this.  That the BBC continues to propagandise this fake “grassroots campaign” without revealing Offord’s Tory Party credentials, his belief in never-ending cuts in public spending and welfare benefits, and Acanchi being a consultant paid by government to boost the UK image is completely beyond anything that can remotely be described as legitimate.

It is the most abhorrent example of a fake story, entirely contrived state propaganda, being put out by a state broadcaster.

UPDATE

From commenters below: The “Vote No Borders” website domain was registered by Gary Waple, who works in the Prudential Regulatory Authority of the Bank of England!!!! Before that he worked at the Central Bank of the United Arab Emirates – that British government and Gulf money connection pops up again.

ANOTHER UPDATE

The Guardian also is pushing it.  Amazing how neither the BBC nor the Guardian noticed who Mr Offord was, or who his fellow director is, or asked where the money came from.  We have a huge responsibility in social media to combat the ultra-powerful combination of the entire mainstream media with the British state, the City of London and their overseas neo-con allies.

I ask every single person who reads this to do what they can do to get this news out – it may open eyes about the BBC, media in general and the hidden hands behind the No campaign.  Feel free to copy and paste anywhere you want.  But please everybody either blog or tweet about it, put it on your facebook page, email people about it or if you can’t do any of those, just tell three people.  The only way we can beat the massed forces of the state and the ultra-rich is by a deliberate and purposeful exercise of people power.  That will never happen unless everybody tries. Do something.  Now. It does not matter where you are in the world.  Knowledge is universal – that is the root of every power the people can hope to have.

FURTHER UPDATE

Brilliant! This post is currently being read by more than one person every two seconds. I hope it’s being read some other places by now too.  Don’t stop, we need much more than that to equal the numbers who will view the execrable mainstream propaganda.

 

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