BBC and DCMS Committee Push Fake News About Vote Leave Facebook Adverts

Whoever wrote this news article for the BBC website about Vote Leave’s Facebook adverts is going to have some explaining to do to their editor. The article talks about how Vote Leave and BeLeave “micro-targeted” adverts during the referendum, “with 252 of them seen fewer than 1,000 times”. Just one problem: it’s total nonsense. The adverts were never requested by Vote Leave or BeLeave. They never ran. That is why they appear in the “0-999” impressions box in the DCMS select committee’s numbers. The true number is zero. A glaring factual error completely demolishing the BBC’s story that Vote Leave “micro-targeted” adverts to data sets of fewer than 1,000 people.

This fake news has come about because the DCMS select committee refused to publish evidence that would have clearly explained what happened. Aggregate IQ wrote to the committee with the explanation back in May. The committee refused to publish the letter, and now off the back of that the BBC has ended up publishing nonsense. Yet more evidence of Damian Collins’ Remoaner select committee, which is supposed to be impartial, losing touch with reality as they peddle their conspiracy theories about Vote Leave…

UPDATE: Carole is going on about there being no imprint – on the ads that didn’t run – “That look completely illegal”. There is no legal requirement for imprints on online adverts. This is not a “whole new massive can of worms”. It is Carole showing her complete lack of knowledge of the rules.

The reason online adverts don’t require an imprint is because generally they are too small and when viewers click they will in any event be taken to a site that generally says clearly who the advertiser is by advocating a vote for them.

UPDATE II: The BBC has issued a correction:

Cadwalladr and Collins to Share Platform at Byline Festival

Brexit probe grandstander Damian Collins appears to have gone off the deep end. The DCMS select committee chair is due to appear alongside Carole Cadwalladr next month at the crackers Byline festival in Sussex. The panel is entitled ‘Is Silicon Valley a Danger to Democracy?’. Readers will remember Byline as the conspiracy theory website founded by the tin foil hatted Peter Jukes.

You have to wonder what a select committee chairman is doing hanging around with cranks like Byline. Collins has already lowered the standing of select committees with his disastrous performances so far – even Remainers were protesting at his incompetence after he was humiliated by Arron Banks. Sad.

Now Incompetent Collins Committee Publishes Banks’ Passport Number… And Leaves Unredacted PDF Online

Another great success for Damian Collins: his DCMS committee has published Arron Banks’ passport number and ID details in breach of data protection legislation. The personal information was released in a volume of evidence uploaded to parliament’s website, for all to see. Under data protection rules it should have been redacted…

Collins says the error was amended – but as off midday Monday the original link is still live and Banks’s personal data is still being widely shared on social media. The Information Commissioner’s Office is aware of the breach. After last week’s embarrassing charade, hardly a display of competence from Collins’ committee…

Collins Humiliated as Banks Walks Out For Lunch

After running rings around Damian Collins and his dire DCMS committee all morning, Arron Banks then left them completely humiliated by standing up, telling them he had a lunch to go to and walking out. Nothing the impotent Collins could do. Watch to the end to see his face – a picture of total defeat. That’s how you take grandstanding select committee chairmen down a peg or two…

UPDATE: Guido hears their lunch date was with DUP MPs Ian Paisley and Sammy Wilson.

Banks Running Rings Round Collins’ DCMS Committee

Arron Banks is enjoying himself a lot more than the MPs on the DCMS committee this morning. At one point he asked them: “Are you all Remainers? Yep? Hands up?”. And then he burned Paul Farrelly:

“What is this? Are you the MP who got drunk in the House of Commons and harassed a woman at a karaoke evening?”

Those watching are not impressed with the performance of the committee:

Don’t think this is playing out quite how Damian Collins wanted…

Collins Declines to Recuse Himself Over Russian Hospitality

Andy Wigmore mentions Guido’s story on Damian Collins accepting hospitality from Putin-linked Roman Abramovich at Chelsea FC. He asked the DCMS Committee Chair:

“Perhaps you might want to recuse yourself?”

Collins laughed:

“All I can say is… I didn’t meet the owner, I wasn’t offered Stalin’s vodka, I’m not as good at pushing their buttons as you are… I declared in the Register of Members’ Interests, there were no inducements, offers… Chelsea won 2-1”

Awkward…

Damian Collins Accepts Donation From Russian Billionaire Friend of Putin

Grandstanding select committee chairman Damian Collins has spent the last year chasing headlines about Russian interference in British politics. So it’s a bit rich of him to be taking donations from a Russian billionaire who is a close ally of Vladimir Putin…

The latest Register of Members’ Interests reveals that Collins accepted two tickets worth £1,000 to a football match at Stamford Bridge paid for by Roman Abramovich’s Chelsea FC. Abramovich has since had his visa renewal application delayed by the UK government, reportedly due to his close links to Putin. The oligarch was described by the Guardian last month as a “big Kremlin player”. Perhaps Collins should write himself one of his famous letters…

Damian Collins Wants to Know if Arron Banks Took Moscow Gold

Damian Collins wants to know if Arron Banks took Moscow gold to fund the Leave.EU campaign. Arron wanted to appear in front of the DCMS Select Committee, then he said he wouldn’t go, now he says he’ll see them next week. Collins versus Banks should be fun…

Cummings Threatens Commons Poster Protest

John Bercow has entertained the ridiculous charade of grandstanding Remoaner Damian Collins attempting to compel Vote Leave boss Dominic Cummings to come to his committee, allowing a debate on the great pressing issue of our nation tomorrow. Guido is reliably informed that Cummings is threatening to mount some form of protest from the public gallery. One suggestion being  considered, inspired by the epic CBI ‘voice of Brussels’ stunt during the referendum, is that Cummings could unveil a banner during the debate which says “Where the f**k is our £350 million a week for the NHS?” Wouldn’t be the first time he’s hijacked the Six O’Clock News with Vote Leave’s core message…

Cummings Calls Collins’ Bluff

As grandstanding Remoaner and DCMS select committee chair Damian Collins fires off another grandiose letter to Dom Cummings threatening to send the men in tights round, the Vote Leave chief responds:

If you had wanted my evidence you would have cooperated over dates. You actually wanted to issue threats, watch me give in, then get higher audiences for your grandstanding. I’m calling your bluff. Your threats are as empty as those from May/Hammond/DD to the EU. Say what you like, I will not come to your committee regardless of how many letters you send or whether you send characters in fancy dress to hand me papers.

As Guido has written previously, the House’s power to punish non-MPs for contempt is untested in the modern age, it would probably fall foul of human rights legislation. In theory Cummings could be summonsed to the bar of the House to be reprimanded or imprisoned. The House of Commons last used its power to fine in 1666…

Cummings also has a warning for the Brexit-hating DCMS committee and other ultra-Remainer MPs:

I’m told many of your committee support the Adonis/Mandelson/Campbell/Grieve/Goldman Sachs/FT/CBI campaign for a rematch against the country. Do you know what Vote Leave 2 would feel like for the MPs who vote for that (and donors who fund it)? It would feel like having Lawrence Taylor chasing you and smashing you into the ground over and over and over again. Vote Leave 2 would not involve me — nobody will make that mistake again — but I know what it would feel like for every MP who votes for a rematch against the public. 

One of the mistakes Brexiters made was letting Vote Leave stop campaigning…

Rum Collins: DCMS Committee Chair Enjoys Cocktails and Basketball on US Jolly

After a hard week probing fake news discovering there Russian intervention in the EU referendum was negligible, members of the DCMS committee are taking a well-earned break on their stateside knees-up. Chair Damian Collins shared a snap of the basketball arena at Madison Square Garden on Instagram. This morning Politico reported committee members were served cava, cocktails, smoked salmon, duck and mini-burgers at a the city’s flashy Newseum last night. Next time you’re blowing tens of thousands of pounds of taxpayers’ money on a vanity jolly halfway around the world, maybe don’t share the pics on Insta…

Damian Collins Rejected Tech Firms’ Offer to Save Taxpayers £30,000

Yesterday Guido told you how Damian Collins was spending an estimated £30,000 of taxpayer cash flying his Culture, Media and Sport select committee members on a jolly to New York and Washington to probe “fake news”. It seemed a total extravagance from one of the more grandstanding select committee chairmen. Buzzfeed have now followed up our story with the news that the CMS committee actually turned down an offer from US tech companies to fly their American executives over to London so they could face the committee in parliament. A move which would have saved UK taxpayers all that money. Clearly the temptation of a freebie holiday to the US was too much for members to resist. What a waste of money from Collins’ committee, which has spent the last year talking nonsense to get silly Russia / Brexit headlines in Remain papers…

Damian Collins’ Fake News Jolly To US Costing Taxpayer £30,000+

An MPs’ jolly to Washington DC and New York this week to probe ‘fake news’ will cost the taxpayer more than £30,000, according to estimates obtained by Guido. This website understands jet-setting MPs on the DCMS Select Committee trip have already left the country, despite the main evidence session not taking place until Thursday, when evidence will be taken from tech bosses on a visit to George Washington University, Washington DC. The Committee has already heard evidence from representatives of tech companies in Britain. They do have London offices…

Arrangements for these kind of jaunts are made through Commons Liaison Committee. According to an estimate provided to Guido this afternoon:

  • Fights of 3 to 10 hours in length during the day should be in premium economy class. Ministers’ private offices also have a deal with BA, so one assumes this is extended to members for committee travel. Flights longer than 3 hours overnight (which would be from Dulles) can be taken in business. But assuming they don’t take business, and looking 1 month ahead, then premium economy from LHR to JFK and then Dulles to LHR between 5th and 9th March for 9 people (8 committee members, 1 clerk) would come to £23,543.19.
  • Hotels in Manhattan for 2 nights and then DC would come to £5,226.68. This is 2 nights at the Row NYC (4-star, Midtown Manhattan) at £2,130.68 and 2 nights at the State Plaza Hotel (3 star, very near George Washington University) which came to £3,096, both for 9 separate rooms.
  • Assuming a food allowance of £50 per person per day, so £2,250.
  • Amtrak from New York to DC would cost £603.27.
  • This gives a total of £31,623.14.

Peeved parliamentarians say attention seeking remainer DCMS committee chair Damian Collins is using the trip to bolster his personal reputation. Enquiries to the DCMS Select Committee did not yield an exact figure for the cost of the trip.

A Taxpayers’ Alliance spokesman told Guido:

“I’m not sure taxpayers will be too proud that their hard-earned cash will be splashed on an all-expenses-paid trip for politicians to lecture journalists on ‘fake news’. It’s even less impressive that they are refusing to disclose the cost of this jaunt to Washington D.C.- it’s almost as if they are worried about the reaction of this egregious use of our money. In the future, our elected servants should worry more about how they spend our money and less about lectures with foreign media.”

Just download Skype?

Conservatives In: Spot the Difference

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE

In the top photo, “Kent Conservatives In” activists pose for a picture as members of the local Tory Remain campaign.

In the second photo, “Sussex Conservatives In” activists pose for a similar snap.

Notice anything odd?

The pavement is the giveaway – the photos were taken in exactly the same place, they just swapped the banner. Look closer and you see the exact same activists appear in each photo, they just swapped places so they appear for the cameras in a different order. One way of disguising the fact no one wants to campaign for you…

UPDATE: This from the weekend is another ConservativesIN event, publicity photos on the right show the closely pressed crowd, on the left we can see that the speech was actually delivered to a seated audience of three. Which is, to be fair, a pretty good turnout for a Hammond speech…

c-in



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