“Led By Donkeys” Unmasked as Greenpeace Campaigners

Guido’s campaign for transparency over big-spending anti-Brexit campaign ‘Led By Donkeys’ has paid off. The Electoral Commission now are reporting details of who the mysterious campaign are – who have raised almost half a million pounds to fight Brexit in the last few months. Guido can now unm-ass-k the donkeys. You may spot a pattern…

  • James Sadri (Secretary): Sadri is the former ‘Head of Mobilisation’ at Greenpeace, he’s led numerous Greenpeace digital campaigns over the years including their ‘VW Dark Side’ and ‘Save the Arctic’ campaigns and previously worked for the BBC and the UN. Mysteriously, his Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn accounts all appear to have been recently deactivated, although the internet never forgets
  • Ben Stewart: Stewart is Head of Speacial [sic] Projects at Greenpeace and was previously their Head of Campaign Communications and was one of six activists acquitted over causing £30,000 of criminal damage to a power station in 2008. His Twitter account has also been recently deleted
  • Oliver Knowles: Knowles is a… Greenpeace International Oceans Campaigner and their Global Tuna Campaign Leader, his LinkedIn described him as a Senior Advisor/Strategist although it has also recently disappeared. However, his Twitter account is still active and busy retweeting Led By Donkeys…
  • Will Rose: Rose is a photographer for (you’ve guessed it) Greenpeace, he’s taken photographs all over the world for Greenpeace campaigns before turning his attention closer to home. No social media to speak of but he’s got plenty of nice photo galleries

Lefty environmentalists are famously not very good with money, nonetheless Guido looks forward to them declaring how they’ve managed to buy over £230,000 worth of advertising for less than £159,750. Why have they been so keen to go dark on social media and hidden their Greenpeace connection?

Guido takes his hat off to them, they’ve come up with an original, eye-catching campaign, even if it hasn’t convinced the Guardian. It doesn’t matter how clever the campaign is, they’ve still got to play by the rules…

mdi-timer 22 May 2019 @ 17:04 22 May 2019 @ 17:04 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
“Led By Donkeys” Questions for the Electoral Commission

Despite Guido presenting them with compelling evidence that anti-Brexit billboard campaign ‘Led By Donkeys’ are in breach of EU election spending limits, the Electoral Commission tell Guido that they are simply “monitoring the activities” of Led By Donkeys. They add that Led By Donkeys are “fully aware” that they will have to register if they spend more than £20,000 in England, or £10,000 in any other part of the UK. According to their own figures they’ve already spent over £230,000…

Since the Electoral Commission haven’t found the time in between staging Brexit Party stunts to open their investigation so far, Guido thought he would help them out with their inquiries. Here’s what we know so far:

  • Led By Donkeys (LBD) have crowdfunded over £438,000 to support their anti-Brexit campaign.
  • The spending limit for Non-Party Campaigns (in England) is £159,750 – if they’re registered with the Electoral Commission.
  • LBD do not appear on the register with the Electoral Commission.
  • LBD have catalogued over 230 anti-Brexit billboards they’ve put up in England alone.
  • LBD themselves estimate the cost at £1,000 each.
  • The Electoral Commission’s guidance says that activity counts as regulated campaign spending if it is both aimed at the public (“the public test”) and is intended to influence voters to vote for or against particular parties or candidates (the purpose test”).
  • Guido has analysed every billboard put up by LBD and found that over 200 (205) directly target politicians from just two parties: the Conservatives and the Brexit Party.
  • Just 8 target politicians from any other party – over 96% are targeted at two specific parties.
  • LBD’s own stated aim is “showing our fellow citizens that this Brexit failure was founded on lies and hypocrisy”.
  • LBD have recently started producing even more sophisticated adverts directly mimicking the Brexit Party’s branding.
  • They’ve also created an entire fake website for the Brexit Party which features on their posters.
  • Design costs, staff travel, website design and hosting all also count as regulated spending.

Here’s what we don’t know:

  • Who are Led By Donkeys? They’re completely anonymous, their crowdfunder is anonymous, their fake website is registered through a third party.
  • Why are they not registered with the Electoral Commission? They’ve clearly spent over £20,000 which is the limit for registration. If they want to play a big part in an election the public has a right to know who they are.
  • How have they managed to buy over £230,000 worth of political advertising – according to their own figures – without breaching the spending limit of £159,750 in England for Non-Party Campaigners? And what’s happening to the remaining £279,000 from their crowdfunder?
  • Have their donations even come from permitted UK donors? Until they register, we just don’t know.

Led By Donkeys probably think they’ve been clever enough to get around the rules by not sticking ‘VOTE LIB DEM/CHANGE UK’ on their billboards. As the Electoral Commission’s own guidelines make clear, their hundreds of billboards still clearly qualify as regulated campaign spending. Clever political adverts are still political adverts. At least the Electoral Commission can proceed with their investigation much more quickly now we’ve done their work for them…

UPDATE: Following Guido’s campaign for transparency, Led By Donkeys have now registered with the Electoral Commission. It turns out they are all Greenpeace activists

See also: Anti-Brexit Billboard Campaign in Massive Apparent Breach of Electoral Law

mdi-timer 22 May 2019 @ 14:40 22 May 2019 @ 14:40 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments
Anti-Brexit Billboard Campaign in Massive Apparent Breach of Electoral Law

Anti-Brexit campaign ‘Led By Donkeys’ have been busy racking up the FBPE retweets for a fresh swathe of billboards they’ve put up around the country. The billboards are branded as Brexit Party adverts with a fake Brexit Party web address and feature phrases like “Attack the NHS” and “Target Gay People”. They’ve now said they’re taking down the “Target Gay People” billboard after a major backlash, Guido hears the Brexit Party are also considering legal action…

As Led By Donkeys are no doubt aware, as they’ve put a small imprint on their posters, the UK is in a regulated election period for the EU elections. Under Electoral Commission guidance Led By Donkeys clearly qualify as a non-party campaign. This means they are subject to legal spending limits:

“non-party campaigns for or against a political party, or particular categories of candidate, including campaigns on policies or issues closely associated with a particular party or category of candidates”

“Spending in the regulated period that can be reasonably regarded as intended to influence voters to vote for or against candidates or parties in the European Parliamentary elections will count towards these limits.”

Even though Led By Donkeys are yet to appear in the Electoral Commission’s database, Guido will give them the benefit of the doubt and assume they are in the process of registering. This means they have the following spending limits which have been in force from 23rd January:

Led By Donkeys have helpfully catalogued every billboard they put up between February and April, counting 255 in total. They’ve also tweeted out four new billboards which have gone up this week. On their own crowdfunder, which has raised over £400,000, they estimate the cost of each billboard at £1,000:

Even the first 8 posters which they say were “guerrilla operations” they put up themselves and around a dozen outside England, this means that by their own count they have spent well over £230,000 since January. They put up the 8th “guerilla” poster on January 23 itself, all the others appear to have been put up after this. This puts them over £70,000 over the legal spending limit and in massive breach of electoral law…

mdi-timer 17 May 2019 @ 15:01 17 May 2019 @ 15:01 mdi-twitter mdi-facebook mdi-whatsapp mdi-telegram mdi-linkedin mdi-email mdi-comment View Comments