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Thursday, 19 April 2018

Michael Gove - Pants On Fire

The perpetually thirsty Paul Staines is on record as claiming that “The lying in politics is on an industrial scale”, although what he is less ready to tell is that it is him, his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, and his pals in the Tory Party who do most of it. And proving Staines right, but in all the wrong ways, has been Michael “Oiky” Gove, the Minister for Murdoch.
Gove went on the BBC Radio 4 Today Programme this morning and declared “We're the most immigration-friendly country in the EU”. Wait, what? And there was more: spewing out his stream of verbiage unchallenged, “Oiky” went on to claim that this country had “the most liberal attitude towards non-EU immigration in the EU”.
Sadly, there was, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with this idea - it was bollocks. Only two years ago in the run-up to the EU referendum, the Elmer Fudd of the Tory Party was scaremongering, claiming “a population the size of Scotland” could arrive from Turkey and other potential new EU countries by 2030.
That does not fall into the category called “liberal”. Nor does having a Prime Minister who was, as Nesrine Malik has observed, “in her six years as home secretary … was the high priestess of hostile environments for immigrants”. Nor does having a Home Office which included in its 2017 annual report “In January 2016, we broadened our engagement activity in priority countries to maximise returns of all nationals in the UK illegally”.
That is the turning of the Home Office into some kind of dystopian machine for hunting down and deporting human beings and then blithely reporting the exercise as some kind of performance metric for which they should be thrown a biscuit. In clear expectation that many would be deported to Jamaica, and yet be unfamiliar with the country, the Home Office guidebook has even counselled “try to be Jamaican - use local accents and dialect (overseas accents can attract unwanted attention)”.
Could it get worse? As if you need to ask. The claim of “liberal” attitudes to immigration falls as soon as the UK is compared to other EU and EEA countries on numbers of refugees accepted per million of population. We are behind not just Germany, Austria and Sweden, but Belgium, Denmark, Greece, France, Italy, Cyprus, Luxembourg, Malta, the Netherlands, Finland, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.
And worse: Gove is defending a régime introduced by a Home Secretary - guess who - who stood up in the Commons and saidwe can deport first and hear appeals later”. On top of all that, Lord Kerslake, former head of the Civil Service, told BBC Newsnight that Theresa May’s immigration reformwas highly contested and there were some who saw it, I shan't name them, as almost reminiscent of Nazi Germany in the way it's working”.
There is stuff all “liberal” about that. It is authoritarian, over-zealous, uncaring, inhumane, and worst of all, it is effectively allowing the right-wing press to dictate Government policy.

Michael Gove should head for the nearest extinguisher. Because his pants are on fire.

UK Is Banana Republic - OFFICIAL

As if things could not get worse for The Blue Team, today has brought news that the Tories have apparently managed to manipulate HMRC to their own advantage. No, that is not a mistype, that is what has happened. What is yet more remarkable is that HMRC has admitted what has happened. And what happened is that a major Tory Party donor managed to bodyswerve a money laundering probe into it.
The company concerned is Mobile Virtual Network Operator Lycamobile, which sells PAYG SIM cards for international calls and now boasts more than 15 million customers worldwide. Lycamobile also donated more than half a million quid to the Tories during the run-up to the 2015 General Election. The company’s donations during the period Young Dave was leader totalled more than £1.3 million.

But then BuzzFeed News revealed late in 2015 that “three bagmen were secretly filmed dropping off rucksacks stuffed with hundreds of thousands of pounds twice a day at Post Offices across London … the Lyca telecoms group deploys three men to drive around in an unmarked people carrier depositing bags of money, which have totalled up to £1 million each week”. Following these revelations, action was taken. But not in the UK.
French prosecutors “arrested 19 people accused of using its accounts to launder money from organised criminal networks two years ago”, and that, not unreasonably, “wanted British authorities to raid Lycamobile’s London headquarters last year and seize evidence as part of their investigation into money laundering and tax fraud by the company”.

However, and here we encounter a significantly sized however, “The HMRC response went on to say that Lycamobile would be likely to challenge any raids on its properties in court and may succeed because the French request did not contain enough ‘solid information’. The request stalled, and Lycamobile’s UK offices were never searched”.

How convenient for the Tories! But the letter from HMRC also told “It is of note that they are the biggest corporate donor to the Conservative party led by Prime Minister Theresa May and donated 1.25m Euros to the Prince Charles Trust in 2012”. That’s a reason not to raid their offices when there is clear evidence of money laundering?
It got worse: when BuzzFeed put this to HMRC, the reply came back “No HMRC official would ever write such a letter … This is the United Kingdom for God’s sake, not some third world banana republic where the organs of state are in hock to some sort of kleptocracy.” But “after verifying the contents of the email seen by BuzzFeed News, another HMRC spokesman said that it was ‘regrettable’”. Ouch! And now there is more bad news.

The Commons Treasury Committee Twitter feed has told “Commenting on @BuzzFeedUK's story about HMRC's handling of a Lycamobile investigation, Chair @NickyMorgan01 said: ‘This clearly raises all sorts of questions and is completely inappropriate.’

When this kind of thing drops, the last person the Tories need chairing the Treasury Committee is an independently-minded Tory former minister with nothing to lose.

So now we might find out what Lycamobile has got on The Blue Team.

Nick Timothy - Pants On Fire

Theresa May continues to find herself under fire, not least for misleading the Commons twice in the space of a few minutes yesterday. As a result, only the Guardian has put the scandal of the “Windrush Generation” on its front page today, with the increasingly desperate and downmarket Telegraph, one of those more favourably disposed to the PM, instead allowing her former éminence grise Nick Timothy to shamelessly spin for her.
The problem for both Tel and Tim is that the latter talks well, but lies badly, and on the most basic of points. Ms May’s time at the Home Office became infamous for a number of initiatives aimed allegedly at illegal migrants, but which generated severely adverse comment for their effect on the BAME community generally. One of the most notorious was that of the so-called “Go Home” vans in the summer of 2013.
Timothy is now claiming that his boss was actually opposed to the “Go Home” vans, and in pursuit of getting his message home, has taken to Twitter to back up his Tel column. “The Windrush scandal is heartbreaking and must be fixed. But it should not be used as an excuse to stop sensible policies that limit illegal immigration” he offered for starters.
Then came the deflection: “In my column today I also reveal the truth about the notorious ‘go home or face arrest vans’: TM was opposed to them and they were approved while she was on holiday in 2013 … The so-called ‘hostile environment’ strategy designed to limit illegal immigration actually began under Labour, not the Tories. This is what Jeremy Corbyn calls ‘callousness’”. And, as Jon Stewart might have said, two things here.
One, the problem now faced by so many of the “Windrush Generation” is not down to anything Labour might have done when in power - the relevant legislation was enacted in 2014. And Two, we know exactly what Jezza called it, as his Twitter observation from the time is still extant: “The Immigration Bill has a very dangerous new clause which allows the Home Secretary to remove citizenship and thus create stateless people”.
Moreover, the idea that Treeza was away on holiday at the time the “Go Home” vans were patrolling London is bunk. This exercise, called Operation Vaken, was and indeed still is well documented, and this is what the blurb says about when it all happened: “The pilot took place between 22 July and 22 August 2013 in six London boroughs [and] continued until 22 October to provide a three month period to allow for Emergency Travel Documents to be obtained and completion of the voluntary departure process for some of the nationalities encountered”. July to October 2013. Without interruption.
And as James Doleman has discovered, on the very day that Operation Vaken began, Ms May was featured, very much in the present tense, in the Daily Mail. She was then featured in the following edition of the Mail on Sunday. And on July 30, she managed to send the authorities in Portugal a request regarding the Madeleine McCann case.
Theresa May was very much at work when the “Go Home” vans began to circulate around London. And the Operation Vaken pilot went on for its full scheduled three month period. So Nick Timothy has been caught blatantly lying in the pages of the Telegraph.

Then he wonders why people have difficulty believing him. What a complete clown.

Karen Danczuk Engagement IS OVER

It was the Z-list news of last June: Karen Danczuk, ex-wife of Rochdale’s now thankfully former MP, had become engaged while in Spain, to someone she met out there. The moment of proposal was a complete surprise, despite the cameras being present to exclusively record the event to generate more attention for Fame Flynet.
Karen Danczuk ...her 15 minutes is up

The Mail gushed “They're definitely NOT on the rocks! Selfie queen Karen Danczuk is overwhelmed as her Spanish toyboy pops the question on the beach (before they stop to snap a picture) … Mother-of-two Karen Danczuk, 34, is set to marry her Spanish toyboy lover David … The so-called selfie queen looked overwhelmed as he proposed on a beach … The loved-up couple frolicked on the shore and David gave Karen a piggyback”.

There was even a joint appearance on ITV’s Loose Women, with the Mail faithfully giving the accepted narrative: “Selfie Queen Karen Danczuk has revealed that the path to romance with her new toyboy fiancé wasn't quite so smooth … In fact, 26-year-old Spanish waiter David turned the mother-of-two down the first time she plucked up the courage to ask him out … ’I was devastated,' she told the Loose Women panel during an appearance on the ITV daytime show”. But all good things come to an end.
News Thing panel 31 March/1 April - Kazza at left

Zelo Street sources over in Rochdale have told that Kazza’s fiancé has moved out of the Danczuk bungalow. Perhaps the prospect of him being stuck working long hours for not very much money in a nearby warehouse was less appealing than working long hours somewhere not far from Alicante, whence he came.

Was it the end? Well, one never decides on a single source, but then Kazza fetched up on RT’s News Thing at the end of last month, in one of her increasingly rare sleb appearances. There she is on the left of the photo … sans ring. Then came an inadvertent two part confirmation, first from her on Twitter, then from her now former partner.
After one Tweeter had suggested she had left the UK for Spain, Kazza snapped “unless Rochdale is a Town in Spain I’m defo still in the UK enjoying my life despite the bitter middle aged women like yourself”. But on the first Monday of this month, her fiancé posted a photo from an aircraft window with the caption “Sierra de Callosa desde mi ventana”. And after that posting, he promptly took his account private.
The Sierra de Callosa is just west of Elche, which is just west of … Alicante-Elche airport. All of which means he’s back in Spain, while Kazza is still happily telling the world of life with the kids in Rochdale. But not about this minor setback in her increasingly desperate campaign to extend that 15 minutes of fame. Which has progressed not necessarily to her advantage.

Meanwhile, the press has moved on to the next Z-lister. Sad, really.

Wednesday, 18 April 2018

Labour Anti-Semitism - We Have To Talk

After yesterday evening’s Commons debate on anti-Semitism, a number of voices from across the political spectrum have been actively spinning the subject to promote their own political ends. This is wrong, no matter whether one is on the left or right. Anti-Semitism, and indeed any form of racism, is not a subject to be spun for party political advantage. But it is a subject that should be take seriously.
So let’s consider what the situation is, and what we can deduce from that. We should usefully start at the very beginning, as it’s a very good place to start.

One, some within the Labour Party have behaved in a plainly and sometimes blatantly anti-Semitic manner. That is inexcusable, and nor is it a matter for debate. It has happened, and action must be taken to prevent its recurrence.

Two, the Labour leadership has acknowledged that it has happened, and has committed itself to eradicating the problem. Jeremy Corbyn has made that commitment, and the party’s new General Secretary Jennie Formby has committed to executing the policy.
Three, there is no reason - none whatsoever - to doubt the leadership’s commitment or to dismiss that commitment out of hand. Those on the fringes of politics engaging in such dismissive behaviour demonstrate only their absence of credibility and character.

Four, there is no reason why any Labour MP should not state publicly that they have been the target of anti-Semitic attacks, and nor is there any reason why they should not have joined the protest outside Parliament recently. Those MPs were free to make that choice; Corbyn endorsed their choice, and Ms Formby has underscored that endorsement.
Five, there is no place in this debate for comparative dismissal of some complaints of anti-Semitic behaviour: if the likes of Ruth Smeeth point out that they have been the targets of that behaviour in the past, it is not acceptable to say “yes but she once got something wrong”. Dismissing anti-Semitism in that manner cannot be allowed to stand.

Six, the greater determination indicated by Ms Formby to deal with outstanding complaints of anti-Semitism will mean that some Labour members will be reprimanded or dismissed from the party altogether. That, too, should not be made the subject of “yes, but” protests.
Seven, no-one should be above this particular law: if the likes of Ken Livingstone are judged to have behaved badly enough to warrant dismissal, then there should be no exception made for him, or anyone else. Out should mean out.

So far, so straightforward. Now we come to other parties, the wider question of racism, and indeed other forms of discrimination and prejudice.

Eight, that Labour has admitted that the party has had a problem with anti-Semitism does not mean that no other party is thus affected. So that leads us to one conclusion.
Nine, the likes of Nadine Dorries, who compared a Jewish former MP to a Nazi concentration camp doctor, should not escape censure. It will be interesting to see how the Tory Party deals with the matter - if it deals with it at all.

Ten, anti-Semitism is not the only form of racism prevalent in Britain today. Therefore, the determination to stamp out racism cannot end with anti-Semitism. Any form of discrimination on the basis of race, colour, religion or culture cannot be allowed to stand.

Eleven, prejudice or discrimination against the LGBTQ community is also unacceptable, and should not be overlooked, merely because it is not racial prejudice. So is sexism and misogyny, which featured strongly in That Spreadsheet (of Tory MPs).
Twelve, it would help immeasurably if the press establishment were to avoid completely the use of nudge-nudgery which is little more than a dog-whistle to racism and other forms of prejudice, merely for the purposes of political or commercial advantage. This has in the recent past included Racism, anti-Semitism, Islamophobia, and Xenophobia.

Thirteen, it would ill behove the Tory Party to use the potential dismissal by Labour of Ken Livingstone to excuse the incompetence in office of his successor as London Mayor, Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson, who is himself a vicious and unapologetic racist.

Fourteen, racism also includes Islamophobia and anti-Muslim sentiment. That may not include many MPs, whatever their political stripe, but it certainly includes the press that shills for them. If the Tory Party is serious about the issue of racism, they should both tackle their press pals, and be prepared to call out their blatant prejudice.

Fifteen, don’t even think of calling “racist” on anyone else when you harbour racists and manipulators of racial prejudice in your ranks. Hello Campaign Against Anti-Semitism.
Sixteen, anyone who was using the issue of anti-Semitism just to dump on the Labour Party should hang their heads in shame. This is too serious a problem just to be used as leverage by those seeking cheap political advantage. The Guido Fawkes rabble aren’t capable of such contrition, but, you know, just a thought.

And Seventeen, just as anti-Semitism cannot be an excusable response to the actions of the state of Israel, nor can criticising those actions be inferred to be anti-Semitic.

Labour must tackle anti-Semitism and eradicate the problem within their ranks, however small it might be. So must other parties. All parties and their supporters must tackle all forms of racism. That must extend to other forms of discrimination and prejudice.

Ultimately, though, this will come down to that same old problem: it is easy to make the accusation, less easy to take the necessary action, and not at all easy for those using the problem for their own ends to admit that they are not themselves blameless.

In conclusion, it’s good to see so much effort dedicated to combating anti-Semitism. It’s only sad that the issue wouldn’t even be on the media radar for 99% of the time, and in 99% of the circumstances. And that, media people, is not good enough.

Fawkes Murdoch Link CONFIRMED

There has been a disturbing trend of late for the right-wing press to go after anyone perceived to query the establishment line on any matter du jour, and especially anything related to Russia and Syria. As Zelo Street regulars will already know, the Murdoch Times ran “Apologists for Assad working in Universities”, and in doing so deliberately defamed one of its targets, an academic called Louis Allday.
Totally independent. Or rather not

The resorting to Cold War smears - the idea that those who are not with us must therefore be against us - is clearly meant to silence dissent, which in any free society should be a cause for concern. What may also concern media watchers is the manner in which the likes of the Murdoch press is pressing home its attack.

Louis Allday is a member of the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media, as is fellow member Tim Hayward of the University of Edinburgh, who has responded to claims that he and his colleagues are “pro-Assad” by stressing that he is “simply ‘pro-‘ getting at the truth”. Also in that group is Professor Piers Robinson of the University of Sheffield, and it is through him that we see the darker side of the Murdoch operation.
Immediately after the Times had gone after Robinson and his colleagues, Alex “Billy Liar” Wickham, teaboy to the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines at the Guido Fawkes blog, followed up with the claim “This is what the University of Manchester said when I asked them about Prof Piers Robinson in 2016. Robinson is a lunatic obsessed with sick conspiracy theories from extreme websites and Russia Today”.
Milk, no sugar, hold the smears

A lunatic obsessed with sick conspiracy theories”. So the usual Wickham smears and dishonesty, then. But this was not a coincidence. The Fawkes teaboy has previous when it comes to lying about Robinson, kicking off with “Well well. Piers Robinson, who wrote that Guardian article spinning for Russia, is a big fan of the Canary”. He commented favourably on two posts appearing there. But there was more.
His Twitter feed is filled with links to conspiracy theory sites. This man writes for the Guardian and is employed by @sheffielduni…”. No citations are provided, but then, research sometimes proves challenging when there aren’t any real facts available.
Then comes the customary Fawkes smear: anti-Semitism by association: “You'll be shocked to learn Piers Robinson also tweeted an article dismissing Labour's anti-Semitism row”. He Tweeted a link to Open Democracy. Which is not a conspiracy theory site. Open Democracy deals in real journalism, so must be attacked by those who don’t.
[The now-legendary Fawkes hypocrisy on anti-Semitism is summarised HERE]

All of which is so routine for Fawkes watchers, but the truly disturbing part is that Wickham has returned to attack Robinson at the same time as the Murdoch press is delivering punishment beating to others in the Working Group on Syria, Propaganda and Media. As I said earlier, this is not a coincidence. It confirms the Fawkes-Murdoch link.

There was a good reason I previously told that the Fawkes rabble was the sub-boot boy arm of the Murdoch press. And that’s because that’s exactly what they are.

Theresa May Must Go

[Update at end of post]

As her pals in the press exhort their readers to look anywhere except where the evidence is inexorably piling up, Theresa May is pretending to say sorry for the shameful desertion of duty by the department that she led for so long, while no-one, least of all her, carries the can for the débâcle. The children of the so-called Windrush Generation have lost jobs, been denied NHS care, and rounded up as if they were illegal immigrants. Yet there have been no resignations, only more spin and deflection.
(c) Steve Bell 2018

Ms May hosted a meeting of Caribbean leaders at 10 Downing Street yesterday, where, as the BBC has reported, “She said she was ‘genuinely sorry’ about the anxiety caused by the Home Office threatening the children of Commonwealth citizens with deportation. The UK government ‘valued’ the contribution they had made, she said, and they had a right to stay in the UK”. But then came the news that undermined her yet further.

Amelia Gentleman at the Guardian was once again on the case: “The Home Office destroyed thousands of landing card slips recording Windrush immigrants’ arrival dates in the UK, despite staff warnings that the move would make it harder to check the records of older Caribbean-born residents experiencing residency difficulties”.
There was more. “The former employee (who has asked for his name not to be printed) said it was decided in 2010 to destroy the disembarkation cards, which dated back to the 1950s and 60s … The files were destroyed in October that year, when Theresa May was home secretary”. Theresa May again. It keeps coming up Theresa May.

Also coming up are the excuses, mainly that it was all about data protection law. This is, let us not drive this one around the houses for too long, bullshit. These were paper records, and as historian Bendor Grosvenor has told (see his thread on the issue HERE), “1st, the Data Protection Act relates primarily to records created post 2000. 2nd, the records were still being used, and of value to the people whose information they contained. 3rd, there is a clear exemption in the Act for material of historical value”.
The Government response has once again been to spin and deflect: the records, they claimed, were not reliable. But they had already claimed that it was a DPA problem. Meanwhile, as Ms Gentleman tells, “Many Windrush-generation individuals who have had difficulties providing evidence of their status have told the Guardian how they were repeatedly told their names were ‘not in the system’”.

They were faced with having to pay out in legal fees to progress their cases, but did not have the money to do so. And although MPs such as David Lammy have correctly called for Home Secretary Amber Rudd to resign, as the mess has been uncovered on her watch, it keeps coming back to the architect of the problem, and that is Theresa May.
That is why papers like the Mail, still stoking the faux outrage this morning with its headline “WINDRUSH: THE NEW BETRAYAL”, is skating on very thin ice. They have decided Ms Rudd must go, but are seemingly oblivious to the clear corollary - that Ms May must follow her. The Mail won’t go there, as they back the PM, but the scandal just might.

Theresa May is an uncaring hypocrite. And she has yet to do the decent thing.

[UPDATE 1335 hours: Theresa May used today's PMQs to try and blame Labour for what has happened. As the BBC has told, "Theresa May has said the decision to destroy landing cards of Windrush migrants was taken under Labour ... The Prime Minister told MPs she was not Home Secretary when the move was approved, saying it happened in 2009".

Thus she scored the necessary point. But then came the reverse ferret, as Paul Waugh observed: "Imp clarification after #PMQs from No10: destruction of landing cards was an 'operational decision' by the UK Border Agency. Ie Not a decision by a Labour Home Secretary or minister".
So Theresa May had misled the House. And it got worse: as James O'Brien deduced, "I'm open to correction/clarification too but surely the landing cards only became relevant after the removal of this clause from the 2014 Immigration Act. And there's no doubt about who was in the driving seat for that decision". So back to Theresa May once more.
And thus the problem: no matter how hard she tries, it keeps coming back to her. Only this time she has misled the House, which turns the possibility of it being a resigning matter into a racing certainty]

Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Arron Banks Data Abuse EXPOSED

When it came to questions as to whether Arron Banks, the so-called “Man who bankrolled Brexit”, used any data from his various insurance businesses to, shall we say, help oil the campaign wheels of Leave EU, he has been quick to warn off questioners. He told Carole Cadwalladr of the ObserverEldon has never given or used any data to Leave.EU. They are separate entities with strong data control rules. And vice versa … Make any mistakes relating to the business and we will be most assuredly coming after the Guardian & you”.
Banksy in the poosy

Thus the encouragement to anyone and everyone interested in the growing Brexit data misuse story to dig a little deeper. And those digging did not have to do much excavating before they uncovered the latest little local difficulty for Banksy and his pals.

Former Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Keiser has been speaking to the Commons digital, culture, media and sport select committee today. And what she had to say about Banks and Leave EU left onlookers in no doubt that, even if data from Eldon Insurance was not used in the referendum campaign, the intent was certainly there.

As Alex Hern at the Guardian has told, Ms Keiser “said she had ‘specific concerns of legality’ about the working practices of Leave.EU, the unofficial pro-Brexit campaign founded by the insurance magnate Arron Banks. She described Banks explicitly asking her if there could be savings on the work Cambridge Analytica was carrying out if the company could process data from Leave.EU, Ukip and Banks’ insurance company Eldon together”.

Why would there be any need for CA to “process data from Leave.EU, Ukip and Banks’ insurance company Eldon together”, other than as part of the referendum campaign? Worse for Banks, Ms Keiser added “We were never commissioned to do this work. But I do believe that this work was carried out, just not by Cambridge Analytica.”

And it got yet worse: “Kaiser also described attending the headquarters of Leave.EU to supervise the organisation’s data collection team in order to ensure that the information they received through their phone banking operation was useful for the data analysis. When there, she said, she was surprised to discover that the people staffing the phones were employees of Eldon Insurance”. Is Banksy coming after them yet?

Ms Keiser had this observation to make: “In regards to this proposal and work that I believe was undertaken, with or without us, there’s a few specific concerns of legality. Firstly it’s in relations to breaches of electoral law, for chargeable work, some of which I did which was never paid for, and unreported to the electoral commission … Secondly, I have evidence from my own eyes of possible breaches of the Data Protection Act concerning the usage of personal and commercial data of individuals in the Eldon Insurance database and possibly the Ukip database, being used for the benefit of the Leave.EU campaign”.

While Banksy decides if he really is coming after them yet, another report on today’s proceedings is rather more to the point, claiming Ms Keiser “believed Leave EU leadership had combined data from Ukip members, Eldon Insurance and GoSkippy Insurance customers as well as Leave.EU data for analysis by a US university and the targeting of political messages around the EU referendum”. And who might that have been?
GoSkippy CEO's New Office shock horror

This is where the real bomb gets dropped. After describing the actions of Banks and his pal Andy Wigmore as having created “their own Cambridge Analytica”, she added “Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore have told multiple individuals that they took my proposal and copied it and they created their own Cambridge Analytica, which they called Big Data Dolphins in partnership with the data science department at the University of Mississippi”. That word “dolphin” is so popular with right-wingers, isn’t it?

She also claimed “If the personal data of UK citizens who just wanted to buy car insurance was used by GoSkippy and Eldon Insurance for political purposes, as may have been the case, people clearly did not opt in for their data to be used in this way by Leave EU. I have similar concerns about whether Ukip members consented to the use of their data”.

And on top of that, she said of that call centre that “every single person that they called was a lead or a customer from Eldon Insurance or GoSkippy”.

Wiggy has now “called Ms Kaiser’s statements a ‘litany of lies’ which she invented ‘to fit the anti-Brexit narrative’”. But the story is now out there, and enquiries are already being made with that University in the USA. Also, bodies like the Information Commission will want to have words with Banksy as a matter of urgency.

Either Brittany Keiser just made it all up on the hoof, which would have taken some doing, or Arron Banks is implicated in the most blatant and fraudulent misuse of data seen for some time. Which of those is true I will leave to others to find out.

Wetherspoon Social Media Exit BUSTED

When Tim Martin, the stridently anti-EU head of Wetherspoons, declared that his company was abandoning social media platforms including Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, it took some observers by surprise. But then, the excuses, such as “trolling”, began to unravel: many business people, party leaders and media folk receive adverse comment, but they don’t shut down their Facebook and Twitter accounts as a result.
Tim Martin - now facing questions

From the doubts came the questions: what Facebook data did Wetherspoon hold? How did they gather it? What did they do with it? Was some kind of commercial transaction involved? What are the data protection implications? Has the Information Commissioner been kept informed? Was there a DPA registration of any kind made? Thus far, answers there have been none. But this matters - because of the referendum campaign.
Did Wetherspoons use that social media information to aid the Leave campaign? As ever, the Observers’s Carole Cadwalladr was on the case: “Wetherspoons was a registered referendum participant. Printed thousands of pro-Brexit beermats. At this stage, I discount nothing”. Make that hundreds of thousands of beermats. In addition, Martin donated more than £365,000 to Vote Leave, the designated Leave campaign.
And Vote Leave could be in trouble, including criminal charges against some of its key players, including Stephen Parkinson, now at 10 Downing Street, and Dominic Cummings. Ms Cadwalladr was on that case, too: “Tim Martin, Wetherspoon's chairman, also a significant donor to Vote Leave....currently under investigation for possible overspending and data sharing. Via Facebook”. And there was more.
Wetherspoons deleted its entire customer email database last year - on June 23, or exactly one year after the referendum. The excuse given to punters, “Many companies use email to promote themselves, but we don't want to take this approach - which many consider intrusive … Our database of customers’ email addresses, including yours, will be deleted”, was not connected to the referendum campaign at the time.
Well, it is now, as Ms Cadwalladr noted: “In Vote Leave's official registration documents with Electoral Commission, it committed to deleting data within one year of referendum”. That is effectively an admission by Wetherspoon that its customer email database formed part of the data Vote Leave used in its campaign.
Ms Cadwalladr summed up: “Wetherspoons = official referendum participant @vote_leave, AIQ & Facebook data all under investigation … Today Wetherspoons deletes all social media accounts, including Facebook”. And one MEP is already on the case: Molly Scott Cato, representing South West England for the Green Party, is that person.
She announced yesterdayMolly has today challenged Wetherspoons chairman and major donor to the Leave campaign, Tim Martin, to reassure customers that their data was not ‘harvested’ to support the Brexit campaign”. Given that customer email database was deleted in the exact same timeframe as Vote Leave’s deletion commitment, and Martin had previously hitched his wagon to the Vote Leave train, it looks like it was.

Tim Martin is now well and truly in the mire. Couldn’t happen to a more deserving chap.