There’s a lot of very serious stuff going on. It’s being alleged that Cambridge Analytica and the Vote Leave campaign stole the EU referendum and it’s entirely possible that the UK is being dragged out of the EU on the basis of a fraud. It’s bad enough that the Conservatives have decided after the event of the vote that it was a vote for the hardest possible Brexit, outside the customs union and outside the EU single market. It’s bad enough that the campaign was characterised by lies and mendacity. But now it seems that the entire leave campaign was fought unfairly and it is being alleged that the leave result was only obtained because electoral law was broken. All of our futures have been negatively affected because of data that was collected by Facebook against our knowledge and which was used by Cambridge Analytica without our consent because the leave campaign threw large amounts of money at them in an alleged breach of electoral law. This is an attack on the very foundations of the democratic process. The EU referendum divided the UK, and now it seems that it was dishonest.
Then, in order to cast aspersions on the credibility of one of the whistle blowers, a policy adviser in Downing Street, a man whom Theresa May counts as one of her closest aides, outed the whistleblower as gay. This is one of the worst things that one gay person can do to another. It’s a sin that is rarely forgiven or forgivable. The right to come out at the time of your own choosing is a precious thing. Outing someone else against their will is quite literally depriving them of the right to self-determination. I knew long before it became public knowledge that Kezia Dugdale and David Mundell were gay, but despite my many and varied political disagreements with them, despite the many and varied ways in which I’ve had a go at them, I would never had dreamed of outing them. There are some things you just don’t do. What makes it even worse is that the whistleblower concerned comes from a conservative Muslim family of Pakistani origin. His life is now at risk if he wants to visit his relatives in Pakistan. Yet Theresa May has refused to condemn her adviser, refused to discipline him, and refused to apologise. Did the Prime Minister’s office collude in a gross act of homophobic abuse? Theresa isn’t saying.
The Prime Minister has likewise shrugged off the links between the Conservative party and Cambridge Analytica. SCL, the parent company of Cambridge Analytica, donated £700,000 to the Conservative party between 2004 and 2017. One of their major shareholders of SCL, Jonathan Marland, served as a trade minister in David Cameron’s government, while the company’s chair Julian Wheatland campaigned alongside Cameron in 2015. Julian Wheatland was chair of the Oxford West and Abingdon Conservative Association until January 2017. Cambridge Analytica was in contact with the Conservatives in December 2016, offering its services to the party. Today The National reported that Cambridge Analytica had also offered its services during the Scottish independence referendum, although it was unclear to whom. Given the company’s close links to the Conservatives, it’s vanishingly unlikely it offered to help the Yes campaign.
Meanwhile Boris Johnson and Michael Gove are doing an impression of Ruth Davidson in a debate about fish. The normally loquacious pair are strangely silent on what they knew about the alleged collusion to break electoral law within the leave campaign of which they were such prominent members. What did Johnson and Gove know about the channelling of funds to AggregateIQ, a company with links to Cambridge Analytica, allegedly in breach of electoral law. You’d be as well asking Ruth Davidson’s party not to betray the Scottish fishing industry.
As if this was not enough, the UK government is continuing to rattle its sabre at Putin’s regime over the Salisbury affair. They’re not showing anything like the same degree of interest in preventing the UK being used as a safe place for Russian kleptocrats to store their ill-gotten gains, and they’re desperate to distract attention from the obvious truth that when the UK makes itself a haven for gangsters from a country where the distinction between gangsters and government is, to put it mildly, blurred, then you’re also making the UK a haven for the methods of the mobsters. Although given the behaviour of the Conservative party, the methods of mobsters were already very much at home in the politics of the UK.
With all this going on, with this sickness at the very heart of the British state, you might think that the Scottish media would be shouting and screaming at the parties of British nationalism, to get their houses in order, to ensure that they keep their promises to Scotland in order to keep Scotland happily esconced within the UK. But then if you thought that you probably also thought that the Scottish Tories really meant it when they said that they’d bring down Theresa May’s government if it doesn’t defend the rights of Scottish fishing communities.
The Mail on Sunday was getting itself in a lather because the SNP has spent money on adverts on Facebook. The Mail on Sunday didn’t see fit to mention that the amount that the SNP has spent on adverts on Facebook is less than the amount that the Scottish branch office of Labour party spent, and quite a lot less than Ruth Davidson’s Scottish Conservatives™ has spent, but you know. SNPbad. The Mail was outraged at the nerve of Thatessempee spending its money on adverts targetted at people who voted Tory or Labour last time, because apparently a political party should never ever try to persuade people who haven’t already voted for it to vote for it. Who knew? Next week, the Mail on Sunday will have a searing expose about the SNP’s office having an internet connection, a telephone, and a dog eared copy of the Yellow Pages.
The real issue today for the British nationalist media in Scotland is that a guy with links to the SNP has registered a domain name that could be used in a future independence referendum campaign. Oh. My. God. Someone has planned ahead. That’s just not British. If people thought ahead there might actually be a plan for Brexit. We should at least be grateful that the domain name wasn’t registered to Alex Salmond’s telly show, or we’d never hear the end of it. Reading the British nationalist press in Scotland is like a beakless chlorinated chicken trying to peck you to death. It’s trivial, pointless, and poisonous. Luckily for us, it will poison itself before we consume enough of it to kill us.
The Wee Ginger Dug has got a new domain name, thanks to Indy Poster Boy, Colin Dunn @Zarkwan. http://www.indyposterboy.scot/ You can now access this blog simply by typing www.weegingerdug.scot into the address bar of your browser, the old address continues to function, the new one redirects to the blog. The advantage of the new address is that it’s a lot easier to remember if you want to include a link to the blog in leaflets, posters, or simply to tell a friend about it. Many thanks to Colin.
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