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.
Former Lib Dem MP for Sheffield Hallam and serving Peer Richard Allan has said that Mark Zuckerberg not appearing before the DCMS Committee today is “not great.”
Despite serious questions beign raised over the ethical behaviour of how the Committee went about obtaining documents from a US software developer, the Committee has brought together legislators from nine countries to form what they modestly call the ‘International Grand Committee on Disinformation and Fake News.’
Never knowingly understated Committee Chairman Damian Collins must be loving this…
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.
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:
I’ve been watching the DDCMS Select Committee with Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore. 5 MPs haven’t even shown up and those that have are utterly incompetent in their questioning. A terrible advert for select committees so far.
— Iain Dale (@IainDale) June 12, 2018
Banks and Wigmore running rings around the DCMS committee so far.
— Matt Foster (@mattlpfoster) June 12, 2018
the Labour MP asking Banks and Wigmore about £250 and then realising that “I meant £250m”, was a particular lowlight
— Jim Pickard (@PickardJE) June 12, 2018
Don’t think this is playing out quite how Damian Collins wanted…
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?”
“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”
An ultra-Remainer former quango chief will receive a huge pay-off from the taxpayer despite being sacked for openly criticising the government on Brexit. Former Economist editor Bill Emmott became head of Ofcom’s Content Board in 2015; as a journalist Emmott proposed extending the single market, advocated a new EU ‘energy union’ and made an anti-Brexit film for the BBC called The Great European Disaster Movie. He is a properly fanatical Europhile…
The following year Emmott was let go having given an interview to an Italian newspaper headlined: “Outside Europe the UK dies”. He had also tweeted: “Prediction: Jeremy Corbyn will be Britain’s PM by 2020. Boris’s legacy” and “Gove scaremongers on migration free-for-all”. Ofcom bosses are subject to strict impartiality guidelines, all the more crucial in a referendum year…
Emmott took the government to the High Court over the circumstances of his departure and was granted a judicial review. Last month DCMS sneaked out a backpedalling statement:
“The parties now recognise that his departure from the post reflected changed circumstances since his recruitment and have agreed formal terms to resolve the dispute between them.”
Matt Hancock’s department has now agreed to pay a substantial sum in compensation, which Guido understands could be up to £80,000. An arch-Remainer paid off with your cash despite clearing bringing Ofcom into disrepute with his blatant anti-Brexit bias…