Information Commissioner Crushes Carole’s Conspiracies

Guido readers will be well-versed in Carole Cadwalladr’s various conspiracy theories about how a secret nexus of data companies conspired to rig the Brexit vote. As well as the corrections that would inevitably follow her front page ‘revelations’, buried on page 50 of the next week’s Observer…

In an inconvenient twist for the Orwell Prize-winning journalist, the report out today from the Information Commissioner’s Office has crushed most of her central claims. Terrible when a good story gets undermined by basic facts…

Carole claimed that Leave.EU was working with Cambridge Analytica. The ICO found that there was “no evidence of a working relationship between Cambridge Analytica and Leave.EU” beyond “preliminary discussions”:

“[B]oth parties stated that only preliminary discussions took place, and the relationship did not move forward when Leave.EU failed to attain the designation as the official Leave campaign… Based on our enquiries, testimony and interviews, we conclude that this is indeed the case – there is no evidence of a working relationship between CA and Leave.EU proceeding beyond this initial phase.”

Carole claimed that the Canadian data firm, AIQ, who worked with Vote Leave, was effectively the “Canadian branch” of Cambridge Analytica, although she has since retracted this claim. The ICO scotched this one too:

“Whilst there was clearly a close working relationship between the entities and several staff members were known to each other, we have no evidence that AIQ has been anything other than a separate legal entity… ultimately we have concluded that this was a contractual relationship.”

Carole’s whole conspiracy centered around the notion that AIQ and Cambridge Analytica had shared data in the referendum. In fact the ICO found no evidence that either Cambridge Analytica or its parent company SCL Elections were involved in any data analytics work on the referendum at all:

“We found no evidence of unlawful activity in relation to the personal data of UK citizens and AIQ’s work with SCLE. To date, we have no evidence that SCLE and CA were involved in any data analytics work with the EU Referendum campaigns.”

Meanwhile Vote Leave was given a clean bill of health for its data work with AIQ:

“We know that Vote Leave had a commercial relationship with AIQ. In respect of that work, we have not obtained any evidence that Vote Leave transferred or processed personal data outside the UK unlawfully – or that it processed personal data without the consent of data subjects… Our further investigations into AIQ revealed no evidence of the unlawful processing of UK personal data.”

After massively bigging up the report yesterday, Carole has been unusually quiet on Twitter since it landed, mainly complaining that no-one was paying attention to the “MUCH bigger story” (was it being “deliberately buried”?) and even accusing Buzzfeed – of all places – of doing Arron Banks’ “dirty work”Maybe she’s still feeling a little bit sore after *that* article

Remainers were hoping for an explosive report to blow up Brexit. Instead it revealed that it’s the Remain campaign and the Lib Dems who are under investigation for potential data breaches, while Arron Banks’ looming fines are almost entirely for using his Leave.EU mailing list to flog insurance after the referendum, not for activities during the campaign. The only thing the report blew up was Carole’s conspiracy. She was after all, as Isabel Oakeshott famously said, “chasing unicorns”…

People’s Vote Under ICO Investigation

Guido can shed more light on the Information Commissioner’s Office investigation into the use of data by campaigns during the EU referendum.

The report reveals that the ICO is “still looking” into breaches of data by BSE that may require further action. After the referendum, BSE became Open Britain, and this summer re-branded again as the ironically named People’s Vote campaign. All while the investigation was ongoing…

The campaign’s re-branding leads to priceless tweets, but it doesn’t get them out of the serious ICO investigation.

The People’s Vote campaign is still under investigation by the ICO for potential serious breaches of data privacy.

“‘During the course of our investigation, we obtained information that the Liberal Democrats had sold the personal data of its party members to BSiE for approximately £100,000.”

“In June and July 2018, we served information notices on Open Britain, the successor organisation to BSiE, and the Liberal Democrats, under the DPA1998, to investigate these issues.”

“We are still looking at how the Remain side of the referendum campaign handled personal data, including the electoral roll, and will be considering whether there are any breaches of data protection or electoral law requiring further action.”

The ICO has placed an enforcement notice against AIQ handling any UK data in the course of its investigation. Shouldn’t the ICO – in the same way – suspend the People’s Vote campaign from using any UK data while they investigate and determine the source of the data?

UPDATE: BSE responds: “This assertion is entirely untrue. Britain Stronger in Europe did not receive, or pay for, Liberal Democrat members’ personal data at any point.”

Guardian Accidentally Confirms Continuity Remain is Continuity Remain

The Guardian has quietly changed its online copy of today’s newspaper story about the People’s Vote campaign for a second referendum. In the paper they refer to “the Remain campaign, now called the People’s Vote”. The corrected version now says: “The People’s Vote campaign, which is supported by prominent anti-Brexit groups”. Could it be that someone at the continuity Remain campaign (now called the People’s Vote) was angry at the first more accurate description of their organisation and demanded a change?

BSE Re-Brands… Again

After losing the referendum, changing their name to Open Britain and failing to keep us inside the single market and customs union (well, so far…), beleaguered Britain Stronger in Europe have re-branded once again, this time in support of second referendum. In the press release launching Open Britain they stated: “The referendum decided that the UK would leave the European Union”They will be merging their social media clout (570,000 Facebook likes) with the ailing People’s Vote campaign (which has a mere 10,000).

Despite the UK being on course for a very soft Brexit, with Philip Hammond and Greg Clark remaining in the Cabinet and the Brexiteers quitting in protest, Theresa May’s capitulation to the Remainers only has only encouraged them to push for more. Remember when Soubry and Wollaston backed Chequers, before deciding days later that actually they wanted more concessions? Open Britain used to say they respected the result of the referendum. Now they want a second referendum. It could all have been different if May had challenged the Remainers rather than surrendered to them, and actually backed Brexit properly…

Bad Al Attacked Farage’s “Elitist Party”… Where Was He That Night?

When Alastair Campbell attacked Nigel Farage for attending an “elitist party” at the Ritz on Wednesday night it was tempting fate. Guido wondered aloud, where was Bad Al that night?

Turns out that Campbell was dining at the Michelin starred River Cafe restaurant in Hammersmith, attending an elitist establishment party of his own with fellow Remain campaign losers Peter Mandelson and Sir John Sawyers, the former boss of MI6, BSE chairman and tycoon Sir Stuart Rose as well as billionaire Remain donor Sir Charles Dunstone.

bad-al

The River Cafe menu offers slow-roasted veal shin for £37, wood-roasted grouse for £40 and wines at over £2,000 a bottle. The very next day Campbell had the gall to call out Farage for attending an “elitist party” – hypocrisy at its most delicious…

Remainers Split Over Freedom of Movement

REMAINERS SPLITTING

The remnants of the Remain campaign have descended into an almighty squabble over their future direction. Britain Stronger In Europe has rebranded as Open Britain, a new lobbying group which has ditched the commitment to freedom of movement, a pillar of Europhile principle. On Sunday, Open Britain’s founders wrote:

“The strength of feeling is clear. Free movement of people cannot continue as it has done. It has to be reformed.”

This has caused other prominent Remainers to kick off. Guido hears a letter is being circulated among pro-EU groups condemning BSE and Open Britain. Signatories include the man in charge of Scientists for EU, previously one of BSE’s main backers. Meanwhile the CEO of the European Movement, Matthew Fulton, says “our red lines are protecting freedom of movement”. When asked whether BSE and the European Movement were still on the same side, Fulton responded:

“At the time we were, but now with their lack of commitment to freedom of movement – I know it’s not popular thing in the country at the moment – but there needs to be people making that argument.”

Soft Remain versus hard Remain…

Stronger In Welcome Anjem Choudary Support

Screen Shot 2016-06-23 at 10.15.44

Now deleted. Oooops…

Will Straw Ordered Remain to Attack Leave Over Jo Cox Death

wil-straw-jo-cox

Remain campaign director Will Straw sent the above email to the Stronger In mailing list yesterday. The thinking behind it is revealed in a recording of a conference call, obtained by Guido, which took place yesterday afternoon. Straw told Remain campaigners that voters had been “pulled up short” by the murder of Jo Cox, and that Stronger In should now attack the Leave side for creating “division and resentment”. Straw says they should respond to Cox’s death – “the new context that we’re in” – by claiming only they represent “a decent, tolerant” Britain.

“We need to recognise that people have been pulled up short by Jo Cox’s death and it is now time to make a very positive case for why we want to be in the European Union… to call out the other side for what they have done to stir division and resentment in the UK. That is something we must all do… This is what we think is the closing argument of the campaign, reflecting all the arguments that we have been setting out for many months but also the new context that we’re in. What we want to say is people should vote Remain on Thursday for more jobs, lower prices, workers’ rights, stronger public services and a decent, tolerant United Kingdom.”

Fair to say campaigning is well and truly back under way…

SPANISH FLEE: Remain’s Messina Off to Madrid

MESSINA

Remain’s “senior strategic advisor” Jim Messina has learned from David Axelrod how to fly in for a couple of days, shake a few hands, send a couple of tweets and then jet off having trousered a thick wedge. With ten days to go Messina is forgetting about the referendum – he has just been hired by Spanish Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy to help with his election strategy. According to the Spanish press Messina begins work immediately:

“He will combine working for Rajoy with other work such as assisting Cameron in the campaign against Brexit, though his involvement will be higher in Spain. Messina is responsible for online communication.”

The last sighting of Messina in London was at a crisis meeting with BSE on May 31 as the polls started to turn. How much are they paying him to jump from the sinking ship?

Bennett Battle Bus’ Giant Carbon Footprint

BENNETT

Natalie Bennett told Britain to vote Remain to save the planet this morning. Standing in front of a 12.4 tonne BSE battle bus…

Guido’s data bods have been crunching the numbers. A very conservative estimate tracks the bus as having covered some 900 miles since April. With the six-cylinder Mercedes-Benz Tourino boasting just 14.1 miles per gallon, it has used at least 63.8 gallons of fuel – 290 litres – on its journey round the country. That’s roughly equivalent to two entire barrels of oil, or a carbon footprint of one tonne of carbon dioxide. Sure Nat’s bike saved a few litres, though…

Sexists For Remain

patel ROACHE

Uh oh! GMB union chief and leading Remainer Tim Roache tells his annual conference:

“Priti Patel, surely a contradiction in her name”

Think Tim should have gone to Specsavers…

BSE’s Will Straw said Tim Roache “speaks for over 600,000 working people” when he endorsed Remain back in February. Now Straw is silent. Meanwhile Harriet Harman is the big gun wheeled out for the Remain campaign today. She would be touring the studios if a Leaver had said this...

UPDATE II: Roache doubles down:

UPDATE III: BSE statement on the man they described as “fantastic” three months ago:

“Comments like this have no place in this debate.”

UPDATE IV: Tory MP Anne-Marie Trevelyan: “This abuse is a new low for the remain campaign.”

#InOrOut Debate: Audience Turns on Cameron

Cameron should have had an easy ride with the audience, having been softened by 30 minutes of project fear. If anything, they were tougher…

Soraya Bouazzaoui, an English Literature student waiting to study her Masters, gave Cameron a broadside over Turkey joining the EU:

“They are under such heavy accusation by the entire Middle East for funding ISIS. How can you reassure us of staying in the EU and saying there are no risks, when there are clear risks? Especially when it comes to ISIS.”

The PM was clearly not expecting such a fierce line of questioning over something he has so far strived to dodge as quickly and efficiently as possible. Soraya demolished Cameron’s “waffling” over security. She should expect a call from Vote Leave tomorrow…

James Dexter leant the defining voice of the public’s rection of project fear: “Do you regret the personal damage that your scare mongering campaign has done to your reputational legacy. Personal damage.” Ouch…

#InOrOut Debate: Cameron’s Façade Cracks

Faisal Islam did an admirable job destroying the PM’s arguments for Remain. First Dave was seen as empty on immigration, protesting “I’m not going to put a date” on immigration controls.

Next up, Islam humiliated Cameron in front of the audience over his WW3 Brexit claims, before laying into the failure of project fear in general:

Bring on the audience…

Remain Takes Project Fear to Church

FFL Euro

The Remain campaign are coordinating another letter to be published in a newspaper over the weekend, this time from religious leaders. BSE sent the text of the letter to Faiths Forum, asking them to get the signatures. Faiths Forum’s email to religious leaders openly admits disguising that it is part of the official Remain campaign.[…] Read the rest

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Celebrity Consumer Champion Hits Back at BSE

Celebrity consumer champion Martin Lewis is the expert who, according to the polling, is one of the most trusted among the public when it comes to finances. So you can understand why Britain Stronger in Europe wanted to put his face on a leaflet.[…] Read the rest

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Taxpayer-Funded Lloyds Loan to Remain

The new Electoral Commission release shows that Lloyds Bank, which is still in part state-owned, has given a £20,000 loan to the Remain campaign at a rate of 1%. Awkward…

Vote Leave are all over it, and David Owen notes BSE have also taken cash from Goldman Sachs, JPMorgan, Morgan Stanley and Citi as well.[…] Read the rest

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Miliband’s Museum Speech Swerved Spending Rules

LBC made a good point this morning – does David Miliband’s speech at the British Museum yesterday mean Britain Stronger in Europe flouted campaign spending rules? This is what the Museum, a public body, says:

“The British Museum has followed the guidance issued by Cabinet Office.

[…] Read the rest

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Liz Truss’ Scotch Botch

SCOTCH BOTCH DAVID FROST

Liz Truss is not happy with the impact Brexit will allegedly have on the Scotch whisky industry. That. Is. A. Disgrace, she almost said today:

“There’s a huge risk to the whisky industry. If we were to leave the single market it would mean lots more cost for their business.”

A neat line, but what does the industry itself think?[…] Read the rest

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BSE Rehash Debunked Football Flop

Football Brexit

In January the Remain campaign tried and failed to convince us that Brexit would prevent Premier League clubs from signing the best talent from the continent. Three months on and they’re still pushing this rot:

https://twitter.com/StrongerIn/status/715574407650013184/

“A Brexit could lead to the most talented players in Europe not being able to come to the Premier League, threatening its status as one of the world’s most exciting leagues.” 

As Guido previously noted, hundreds of non-EU players have been easily signed by Premier League clubs with no fuss at all.[…] Read the rest

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BSE Weaponise Brussels Attacks

bse email

Twitter jumped on the outrage bus yesterday when Telegraph columnist Allison Pearson and UKIP’s Mike Hookem suggested the Brussels attacks were another reason to vote Leave. Yet the lefty social media echo chamber declined to lose it over Britain Stronger in Europe’s email this morning, which quoted Theresa May as saying the attacks showed why we should Remain:

“The Home Secretary and the Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police both say today, in the aftermath of the tragic attacks in Brussels, that Britain is safer in Europe, and leaving would put us at risk.

[…] Read the rest

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