Damian Collins’s Next ‘Fact Finding Mission’ Approved

In 2018 Guido revealed that MP and anti-Brexit campaigner Damian Collins had spaffed £30,000 on a fake news ‘fact finding’ jolly to the US; comprising flights, luxury hotel rooms, food allowance and Amtrak tickets. It now seems Damian’s about to get another taxpayer-funded jolly thanks to a motion passed in Parliament a few weeks back. The change, approved by the House, will allow his cross-house Committee for the Draft Online Safety Bill to convene outside of the UK, “from place to place”. He and the Committee will soon be heading to Brussels…

The impending cost of Damian’s latest planned trip is raising even more eyebrows among those in the know that his last. His 2018 trip was in the role of elected chair of the DCMS Select Committee; this time he’s playing an unelected role, given to him as a consolation prize by the party. One sceptical colleague suggested it’s going to be nothing more than a “vanity project for yesterday’s man.”

One MP who attended Collins’ US jamboree noted to Guido it’ll be interesting to see whether he manages to keep costs under control this time. In 2018 he gave himself a luxury penthouse suite in the New York Benjamin Hotel, with his own bar area, while all the rest of the MPs were in normal rooms. Once again, Guido asks: has the Committee not heard of Skype?

mdi-timer 15 December 2021 @ 15:00 15 Dec 2021 @ 15:00 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
DCMS Committee’s New Anti-Cadwalladr Rule

The DCMS committee does not yet have its full membership confirmed yet, and already change is afoot. Senior sources close to the Committee tell Guido that new Chairman Julian Knight laid down the law to Committee staff upon being elected to the position, saying the scrutinising body is not going to run like it did before. Looks like a clear rebuke to the Collins – Cadwalladr relationship…

Knight declared that no journalist will get special treatment or favours from the Committee. This follows complaints being submitted under the previous chairman Damian Collins, whose close relationship with Carole Cadwalladr saw her attend the committee sitting apart from other journalists, and seemingly coordinate bizarre stories. Now, finally, the UK’s 19th biggest newspaper will be treated like all the others…

mdi-timer 14 February 2020 @ 14:49 14 Feb 2020 @ 14:49 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Who’s Backing Who: Minimal Progress

Guido’s list is holding steady this morning with just one new high profile backer has announced this morning, DCMS Committee Chair Damian Collins has declared for Boris, becoming the second Select Committee chair to join his column in two days, having yesterday secured the backing of Defence Committee Chair Julian Lewis. 55% of the Parliamentary Party has now declared. Guido hears there are unlikely to be many more announcements until the Prime Minister formally steps down as Party Leader tomorrow. Some are holding back out of respect…

View the full list here: order-order.com/backers

Get in touch with any updates…

mdi-timer 6 June 2019 @ 09:30 6 Jun 2019 @ 09:30 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Carole’s Wylie Whitewash

Carole Cadwalladr has celebrated the one-year anniversary of her big Observer exposés with a brand new puff piece for each of the Brexit ‘whistleblowers’, complete with a fresh set of serious-looking photoshoots. Chris Wylie has gone for cactus green in his “clean, white, Scandinavian lines” new H&M office this time…

Carole does include a number of entertaining new nuggets about the talented Mr Wylie, including that he carries around $1,000 in cash when visiting New York, believes he has been poisoned, and “insisted on a chauffeur back and forth to his flat in London” from the tinfoil-hat gathering last Summer at the Byline Festival in Sussex. Staying in Damian Collins’ yurt apparently didn’t appeal to him…

Yet despite almost 4,000 words of gushing prose, in which she complains that “both Wylie and I have been constant targets of the right-wing blogsite Guido Fawkes, attack pieces by BuzzFeed, abusive tweets from the BBC’s Andrew Neil”, Carole curiously doesn’t find the time to mention the large lumbering elephant in the room, Wylie’s own company which he set up as a direct competitor to Cambridge Analytica. Offering all the same dubious data-targeting services…

Regular readers will recall he was one of the key people in designing Cambridge Analytica’s illicit voter-targeting techniques, Wylie then jumped ship to start his own company Eunoia Technologies in direct competition with them. Eunoia unsuccessfully touted its services to everyone from Donald Trump to Britain Stronger in Europe and Dominic Cummings, before finally securing a C$100,000 payday from Justin Trudeau’s Liberal Party. Despite telling Damian Collins he hadn’t had any clients…

Naturally Cambridge Analytica weren’t best pleased about a former employee making off with their intellectual property and trying to poach a load of their existing clients, and took legal action against him. Wylie lost big time and was forced to provide “very wide ranging written undertakings to SCL [CA’s parent company]… that, in summary, he would not use SCL’s intellectual property and other commercial or confidential material (obtained whilst working with SCL) in the course of his own business enterprise.” Eunoia flopped and Wylie subsequently wound it up. Which surely played no part in Wylie’s decision to attack Cambridge Analytica a couple of years later…

Despite Carole’s relationship with Wylie and the fact that she has evidently been following Guido’s investigation in some detail, she has still failed to respond to Guido’s questions about what she knew or report on any investigations of her own into Wylie’s highly dubious Eunoia dealings, which seems a remarkable oversight for an investigative journalist. Carole is still bravely fighting “the fight to hold the culprits to account”, surely she isn’t being selective about which culprits she is trying to hold to account…

mdi-timer 19 March 2019 @ 17:14 19 Mar 2019 @ 17:14 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Hardline Remainers Come Out Against May’s New Deal

While Brexiteers are keeping their own counsel until the Attorney General and the Star Council of Brexit lawyers come back with their formal legal opinions on May’s latest offering, Remainers have wasted no time in coming out to batter her new deal. Despite Brexiteers being the ones always branded headbangers, as usual it’s the Remainers who kicking up a fuss while Brexiteers are open to compromise…

Dominic Grieve has said this morning that it “doesn’t make any significant difference”, digging in on his fundamental position that he won’t back any deal unless May commits to holding a second referendum on it. Sam Gyimah dismissively says “We’re being played!” while comparing Brexit to Iraq. The mercurial Damian Collins also declared that he wouldn’t be budging last night…

There are still niggling concerns over what May has secured. Most pro-Brexit lawyers Guido has spoken to so far believe that the UK’s unilateral declaration will carry weight in future legal disputes if the EU does not raise any formal objections to its inclusion alongside the rest of the Treaty, there are still doubts about what position it leaves the UK in overall. Varadkar once again displayed his ham-fisted lack of political judgement with a bullish tone at his press conference this morning…

May said last night that the changes guaranteed that the backstop would not become the “template” for the future relationship, as EU negotiators boasted after the deal was first agreed. Ultimately MPs will be making a political judgement as much as anything today. May’s changes are legally binding, but are they enough? Does the risk of an even softer Brexit or no Brexit at all justify voting for the deal as the least worst option still available? Nick Boles’ ego is now so large that he is already threatening Brexiteers to “take the win” or else “we will do whatever it takes to frustrate you.” Brexiteers are still reserving their judgement, Remainers have showed their cards and made clear their only interest now is sabotaging Brexit…

mdi-timer 12 March 2019 @ 09:03 12 Mar 2019 @ 09:03 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Damian Collins Used Remain Campaigners to ‘Analyse’ Pro-Brexit Outlets

The DCMS Select Committee used pro-Remain campaign agency to ‘analyse’ activities of pro-Brexit media outlets under the pretence of uncovering the spread of disinformation online. The notoriously Remain-heavy committee employed the services of ’89up’ to carry out analysis of Facebook data in its new report. The Committee claims 89up is a consultancy firm, but it is really a campaigning and communications company with close links to the Remain camp…

89up was the sole communications agency for pro-Remain campaign group Best for Britain. They have also received considerable sponsorship from the Joseph Rowntree Reform Trust, which has made multiple political donations to secure a second referendum. Is it any wonder then that all pro-Brexit Facebook pages and companies examined by 89up are described as ‘populist’, ‘right-wing’, ‘conspirational’ and ‘anti-establishment’..?

Damian Collins’ committee appointed former Labour Councillor and 89up CEO Mike Harris to carry out the analysis. Harris has previously called the backer of Best for Britain, George Soros “the largest single donor in human history for the defence and strengthening of democracy.” Soros also funds the campaign to overturn the biggest vote in UK history, and Best for Britain has itself received multiple fines from the Electoral Commission.

Relying so heavily on such a clearly conflicted firm to push disastrous reforms for tech freedom undermines the entire legitimacy of Collins’ narcissistic ‘Fake News’ enquiry.

mdi-timer 18 February 2019 @ 16:41 18 Feb 2019 @ 16:41 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
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