Tuesday, 6 November 2018


Carole Cadwalldr, possibly wearing Paul Mason's spare leather jacket

Well, what to make of the Information Commissioner's report into the misuse of personal data during the EU referendum, and the BBC's coverage of it?

The BBC is currently leading its news website with Leave.EU and Banks firm face £135,000 fines, concerning Arron Banks and the leading unofficial Leave campaign (or at least it was when I began writing this post. It's now gone back to the US mid-terms!), while also I'm seeing tweets from Tim Shipman, political editor of The Sunday Times, placing a very different emphasis on the Information Commissioner's findings, concerning both the unofficial and the official Leave campaigns:

  • Information Commissioner appears to find no evidence that Vote Leave used the Cambridge Analytica dataset or that there was any conspiracy involving them and AIQ.
  • Information Commissioner has also concluded that, beyond some initial scoping conversations, Leave.EU  did not use Cambridge Analytica either. Which unravels another thread of the “conspiracy”.
  • The claims are that: 1) Banks and Cambridge Analytica worked together on the referendum 2) Vote Leave was secretly coordinating with them via AIQ offshore. The ICO has found no evidence of 1 beyond the original discussions in public domain in 2015, and no evidence of 2.
  • The Information Commissioner’s report goes a long way to debunking the data conspiracy claims. The focus will now, rightly, be on the source of Banks’ money.

The BBC's take sounds much less appetising for Leave supporters than Tim's.

And the likes of Guido Fawkes are saying that this "crushes" Carole Cadwalladr's "conspiracies".

I'm going to compliment Rob Burley & Co. today and say that, watching this lunchtime's Politics Live, I think the matter was handled to the BBC's credit. 

Carole Cadwalladr was invited on, given her say and challenged. 

There was a decent range of opinions on the panel, Brexit-wise.

And Liam Halligan was a fine counterweight to Carole in pointing out that Remain overspent Leave massively, thanks to that Government leaflet, and that the Remain campaign also had the whole weight of the state apparatus behind it. 

Jo Coburn also did her duty by reading out Leave.EU's response in full and by concentrating on the Lib Dems' donation to Stronger Together as well - criticised from the ICO. (I smiled when she put that to Carole C. and Liam H. began smiling broadly too as Carole said yes, it wasn't good, and then, within seconds, changed the subject.) 

Credit where credit is due then.


  1. A bit late in the day, paying any attention to the massive 'lies' told by the pro-remain campaign, meaning the government, as well as others, when the BBC, including Joko, has been banging on relentlessly for nearly two and a half years about leave 'lies' and that bus promise.

    It's a fair bet people working behind the scenes have been out to get Banks and the reference to the crime agency seems like a fishing expedition on their behalf.

  2. For what purposes does the BBC insist on requiring licence fee payers to hand over their personal data including address and e mail to them in order to use the service (I Player) that our licence fees pay for?