The latest front for the Remain campaign is presenting itself as a campaign for “Less power in the hands of the ruling elite and more in the hands of the people”. Guido can confirm, however, that the man behind the curtain is the personification of the elite in Britain – Roland Rudd. When Rudd isn’t lounging in his opulent multi-million pound mansion, he’s lucratively lobbying for bankers and big businesses…
Whispers around Westminster point to Democracy Unleashed becoming a campaign for proportional representation aimed at forcing the Labour Party to commit to this in the 2024 election – despite the organisation not mentioning PR at all in its petitions or social media. A source close to the People’s Vote campaign tells Guido this new campaign is being staffed by the few people “weak enough and untalented enough to capitulate to Roland Rudd for a pay cheque whilst watching their colleagues be literally locked out of their offices and worse.” All is not happy in former Remaintopia..
Sadly, Rudd’s anti-elite, pro-transparency campaign is not transparent at all about its governance structure. Rudd, Reed, and Sidhu-Robb are listed as the only directors of both Open Britain and PV Campaign Ltd, yet the websites of Democracy Unleashed and Open Britain mention no names and include no contact details, beyond an email to opt-out of messages. Consequently Guido has some questions to publicly ask the new campaign…
- Who chairs the new initiative? What is Rudd’s role?
- What role do PV Campaign Ltd play in the governance of Democracy Unleashed and who currently sits on their board?
- Who are “the elite” referred to in their mission statement? Do they include millionaires like Rudd, Geeta Sidhu-Robb, Richard Reed and Hugo Dixon?
- What efforts did you make to consult the 500,000 people on the Open Britain database about the change in direction?
- What have you done with the hundreds of thousands of pounds raised from grassroots donors that was left in the Open Britain bank account when Rudd launched his coup?
Guido looks forward to receiving answers…
This morning another email comes from the database of Rudd’s Remainers which you may remember split acrimoniously into different factions in its pre-election People’s Vote incarnation for reasons none of us can quite remember. Tom Baldwin and James McCrory were kicked out and it all sort of fizzled out.
Now it seems yet again to be rebranding as Democracy Unleashed, using a database that has been illegally re-purposed – something that the LibDems got heavily fined for doing. Obviously to avoid that they sent their email this morning signed by the CEO of Open Britain, an older incarnation under the Democracy Unleashed branding. It is a basic tenet of EU GDPR law that data gathered for one purpose can not be used for another without permission. Permission they have neither sought nor been given…
A new Companies House update shows the headquarters of Open Britain Limited – the former Stronger In campaign, who have just rebranded to “Democracy Unleashed” – are soon to move from Milbank Tower in Westminster, to Stamford in Lincolnshire. Guido imagines most staff will be deeply annoyed by the move; not only will their nearest Pret now be 15 miles away, the switch will be a stark awakening as the company moves well out of its comfort zone: from heartland Remain-territory in Westminster (69%) to heavily-Leave South Kesteven (60%). Guido wonders whether the cost of London office space also influenced the change of scenery – Open Britain’s accounts have been overdue for a month…
The People’s Vote campaign is back from the dead, following its complete collapse in November last year. It is now going by the name of ‘Democracy Unleashed’. The People’s Vote campaign was itself a rebranding of Open Britain, which in turn was a rebranding of the official Remain campaign. The same organisation holding the same valuable data changing its clothes yet again. Guido has compiled a timeline…
- 12 October 2015 – Britain Stronger in Europe (BSE) campaign founded.
- 15 April 2016 – BSE receives designation. Official campaign begins.
- 23 June 2016 – BSE loses the EU Referendum by 1,269,501 votes.
- 25 August 2016 – BSE changes name to Open Britain.
- 26 July 2018 – Open Britain changes name to People’s Vote.
- 23 May 2019 – Parties endorsing a ‘People’s Vote’ lose EU Parliamentary elections.
- 9 July 2019 – Labour changes Brexit position to back a ‘People’s Vote’.
- November 2019 – People’s Vote campaign collapses.
- 13 December 2019 – People’s Vote campaign shuts down.
- 17 June 2020 – People’s Vote campaign changes name to ‘Democracy Unleashed’.
Last week, Sheridan Parker resigned as the sole Director of People’s Vote Limited, and was replaced by Christopher Clayton. A very powerful dataset looks to be gearing back up again in British politics. Personally, Guido prefers Comedy Unleashed…
The Remain Campaign’s Director of Communications Tom Baldwin has written a real sob story for the Spectator in response to an article which pointed out a major error their recent report attacking the ‘Norway Plus’ option. Baldwin goes full holier-than-thou as he insists:
“We are determined to be an evidence-based campaign and will continue to contest claims for forms of Brexit that are clearly untrue…
“Everyone should owe it to the public to engage in that debate in a way that upholds the very highest standards of rigour and truthfulness.”
This is coming from a campaign that:
The “People’s Vote” campaign have no interest in what people have or haven’t voted for, they simply want to stop Brexit by whatever means that are available to them, desperate for a second chance to atone for losing a campaign that was massively stacked in their favour in the first place. They are free to campaign for what they like but trying to take the moral high ground like this really is shameless…
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.”