Referendum: voting problems won’t go away for Ukip and social media use

“Ukip is to face a tribunal over its use of analytics during the EU referendum after refusing to cooperate with an investigation by the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO).

The ICO announced a formal investigation into how political parties use data analytics to target voters in response to concern about how social media was used during the referendum.

“We are concerned about invisible processing – the ‘behind the scenes’ algorithms, analysis, data matching, profiling that involves people’s personal information. When the purpose for using these techniques is related to the democratic process, the case for a high standard of transparency is very strong,” said Elizabeth Denham, the information commissioner, in an update on the ICO’s website.

Denham said more than 30 organisations, including AggregateIQ, a little-known Canadian firm that received millions of pounds from the leave campaign, were under scrutiny. While some were co-operating, she said, “others are making it difficult”.

She said that the ICO had issued four information notices, formally ordering organisations to disclose information, “including one to Ukip, who have now appealed our notice to the information rights tribunal”.

Separately the Electoral commission is investigating whether Vote Leave, the lead campaign for the leave vote in the referendum, broke spending laws by coordinating spending with other campaign groups.

A Ukip spokesman said the party was prepared to cooperate with the ICO, and was only appealing against a threat of criminal sanctions. “We’re perfectly happy to deal with them, but not under the threat,” he said.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/dec/13/ukip-to-face-tribunal-over-use-of-data-in-eu-referendum-campaign

“Electoral Commission launches inquiry into leave campaign funding”

”Watchdog has ‘reasonable grounds to suspect offence was committed’ by Vote Leave, a student campaigner and another Eurosceptic group.

The watchdog will investigate whether Vote Leave, which was the officially designated Brexit campaign during the referendum, broke campaign finance rules.

Bob Posner, the commission’s director of political finance and regulation, said there were legitimate questions over the funding of campaigners which “risks causing harm to voters’ confidence in the referendum”.

The campaign, run by political strategist Matthew Elliott and former special adviser Dominic Cummings, will be investigated alongside Veterans for Britain and student activist Darren Grimes, now the deputy editor of the Brexit Central website, where Elliott is now editor-at-large.

The investigation has been opened after a review of previous assessments that the Electoral Commission conducted in February and March 2017, where it initially decided no further action was needed.

The commission said new information had since come to light which meant it had “reasonable grounds to suspect an offence may have been committed”.

Grimes and Veterans for Britain will be investigated as to whether he delivered an incorrect spending return in relation to a donation they received from Vote Leave and related campaign spending.

Vote Leave’s spending return will also be investigated, as well as whether the campaign breached its spending limit.

“There is significant public interest in being satisfied that the facts are known about Vote Leave’s spending on the campaign, particularly as it was a lead campaigner with a greater spending limit than any other campaigners on the ‘leave’ side,” Posner said.”

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2017/nov/20/electoral-commission-launches-inquiry-into-leave-campaign-funding

Voting processes need tightening (and scrutiny) urgently

Why shouldn’t our council’s Scrutiny Committee check in its Electoral and Returning Officer’s procedures – even if the Monitoring Officer doesn’t like the idea because it MIGHT be considered political (by him)? A clean bill of health would reassure voters surely?

“The list of Brexit campaigners done for breaking the rules is getting lengthy.

Following the record £12,000 fine for breaches of spending rules, the pair of £1,000 fines for other offences, the company fined £50,000 for illegal text messages and the 11 anti-EU campaign groups struck off for breaking referendum rules, there’s now another £1,500 fine on a different Brexit campaigner:

The Electoral Commission has fined Mr Henry Meakin, a registered campaigner in the EU referendum, £1,500 for failing to submit his spending return on time. It is an offence not to deliver a spending return by the due date.

Though Mr Meakin reported spending of £37,000 in the campaign, the return was received more than 5 months late.”

https://www.markpack.org.uk/150816/henry-meakin-european-referendum-fine/

Nominative determinism and 22 MEPs who need to resign

How ironic (as Owl is sure many people will point out) that
the UKIP MEP who allegedly got into an altercation with another UKIP MEP (Stephen Woolfe tipped as yet another potential leader) is called Mike Hookem!

But also how shocking that these people – who have got what they want and despise the EU – should still be around the European Parliament, sponging off it.

On his website, Hookem says that he joined the party because he was committed to showing his constituents “what a corrupt and dictatorial system the European Union is and how many of the decisions taken by faceless, unelected bureaucrats, directly affect them”. As far as we know he has not complained about being paid by them.

Our UKIP MEP is William, Earl of Dartmouth, hardly short of a bob or two.

There are TWENTY TWO of them costing us millions of pounds a year which could better go to our NHS! AND their salaries have gone up 15% as they are paid in EUROS!

(Nominative determinism is the theory that a person’s name has some influence over what they do with their life).

Brexit: a desire to return to the old certainties of Budleigh Salterton!

A european academic writes:

“Last week’s referendum, in which middle-aged and elderly British citizens with a noticeably shaky grasp of economics, international affairs and foreign languages voted in large numbers for the UK to leave the European Union, represents a Quixotic collective impulse to return to the security and timeless certainties of Budleigh Salterton.

Britain, or at least the 52 per cent of voters who endorsed the call to quit the EU, is demanding a halt to the relentless march of modernity with its multiculturalism, its immigrants from Poland, Bulgaria and Romania, its Jihadi terrorists and its Brussels-based bureaucrats and politicians who have had the temerity to legislate for Englishmen and -women.”

https://www.socialeurope.eu/2016/06/budleigh-salterton-brexit-quest-mythic-england/

Neil Parish does the Brexit hokey-cokey

hokeys

He was one of 79 Tory MPs who voted with the opposition to force the EU referendum.

He then backed – vociferously – Remain,

Now he backs Brexiter Andrea Leadsom.

Hugo Swire has not yet declared. Might he also back a Brexiter?

Well, you have to be flexible in the Parliamentary jobs market.