Wednesday 28 October 2015

EU Referendum: EEA Ruled by Fax? Iceland Said No

It does seem rather revealing that, David Cameron has opted to make his case against UK membership of the European Economic Area (EEA) - the so-called Norway option - in Iceland, which is also a member of the EEA.

The EEA would allow us to have access to the Single Market without "ever closer union, but crucially as Flexcit demonstrates membership would not be the end game but merely part of a six stage process to facilitate an orderly exit and allow the UK to rejoin the global community without EU constraints or baggage.

That neither the Vote Leave campaign nor the Leave.EU campaign (nor indeed UKIP), thus far the only two candidates for official designation, have officially adopted such a position of the Norway option leaves us wondering why the Prime Minister would go to such lengths to discredit the option.

It can only leave us with the conclusion that the option posses a significant threat to the pro-EU movement. It negates the economic argument, leaving only politics and "ever closer union" which leaves them vulnerably exposed. And with this it does indicate that the ideas behind Flexcit, the only definitive exit plan on the table which helps us leave the EU, is gaining traction.

It appears rather ironic that Cameron will attempt to argue against EEA membership in Iceland, which has a population of around 313,000 people; a country which boasts fewer people than the London Borough of Croydon (363,000). A country which has, as we have noted before, said no to the EU.

Iceland was involved with one of biggest rejections of the EU there has ever been by an EEA member over the collapse of Icesave.

Yet as has been typical of our membership of the EU, it has been based from the outset on deception and quite frankly lies, a deception necessary as the true nature of the project cannot be conveyed candidly by politicians to the British people as they would rightly reject it. The true nature of which the EU itself readily acknowledges.

And so it proves with the Norway option which allows us a "stepping stone" out. Inaccurately dismissed as "ruled by fax" (perhaps the use of the term fax is an indication of the backward looking nature of EU supporters - the world's moved on) Norway has in reality more say than the UK over Single Market rules, particularly via global regulatory bodies such as UNECE. Not forgetting also that EEA members have a veto over EU single market rules as per the video above.

Here we see that Mr Brexit does a comprehensive job of demolishing the "Norway has no say meme", for example:
Norway and the other EFTA countries have more influence over the rules and regulations that are turned into laws. In fact, they actually get two bites of the cherry in influencing their shape. As a non-EU country, Norway represents itself on the world stage. Unlike every EU member state, Norway has seats on the international bodies where rules are developed and decided, before being handed down to the EU to implement. EU member states are not allowed to represent themselves, the insists on having a single position for all 28 member states, which is a generally a diluted, compromise position.

But then as members of the EEA (single market) the EU consults Norway and the other EFTA countries on the measures to be implemented, giving them an opportunity to influence the shape of the implementation. So Norway has more than just a say, it also gets to shape the rules from the outset and again at implementation. This gives Norway far more influence than any EU member state.
With the deception of associate membership now out in the open, and the danger which Cameron et al faces over the Norway Option combined with Flexcit, it's only our own side that can stop us now.

Monday 26 October 2015

EU Referendum: Hurdles To Exit

French civil servant and pen pusher Jean Monnet became one of the architects of the EU and appreciated, eventually, the difficulties of trying to encourage nation states to give up their power to an "anti-democratic" bureaucratic elite. This we can clearly see via the observations of Prime Minister Clement Attlee:
"[There's no way Britain could accept that] the most vital economic forces of this country should be handed over to an authority that is utterly undemocratic and is responsible to nobody"
With significant and understandable objections to Monnet's flawed model he had to adopt a salami strategy - slice by slice - a strategy which within the EU is known as the engrenage (gearing) principle or the Monnet Method which was a tribute to the man.

Engrenage is taking away a nation's powers incrementally, via more and more treaties, with the seemingly innocuous call for "more Europe" in times of crisis. In reality it is a project to create an anti-democratic construct.

Thus in order to exit we have to adopt a similar strategy of our enemy; of Monnet. It has to be a process; one which is less a big bang but a process. A process of reassurance. Flexcit addresses this in six stages:
  • To win a referendum and continue trading in the Single Market
  • Then to address the migrant problem in Europe
  • Then to participate in common rule-making in Europe under UNECE
  • Then the ability to develop new domestic policies outside the suffocating straitjacket of EU membership
  • Then embrace global trade and actively participate in international regulatory bodies such as Codex
  • Then to stop the elite unaccountable buggers joining the likes of the EU again without our permission.
In the spirit of Monnet, Flexcit's six stages allows us to have an orderly exit with relatively little fuss and, crucially, to win a referendum which is the immediate priority.

Here we consider jockeys'; they do not attempt to jump all the hurdles at once in the Grand National at Aintree. To do so would require a flying horse. Instead one hurdle needs to be taken at a time in order to win, some more difficult to navigate than others.

With this mind the first hurdle regarding an EU referendum is that we need overcome it to win it. Fall at the first hurdle and it's all over.

Friday 23 October 2015

EU Referendum: Vote Leave And Plagiarism?

The AV referendum in 2011 - which had been offered as nothing more than a sop to the Lib Dems as part of a coalition agreement - was one very few cared about; acutely reflected in the very low turnout.

The lack of interest allowed certain elements of the tight knit Westminster circle the opportunity to win the official designation with little competition and without, it's become apparent, much scrutiny.

Perhaps this gave significant reassurance for a team led by Elliott that designation for the EU referendum would also be a similar shoo-in. Certainly the media, well briefed by Elliott, have assumed so.

The relativity low profile of the AV referendum may have also given confidence that no-one would bother to wade through manually nearly 500 pages of invoices submitted to the Electoral Commission, invoices which illustrate a clear conflict of the No2AV campaign.

Nor indeed an anticipation that records would be downloaded from companies house, among other records, regarding The Taxpayers' Alliance, nor that records would be sourced regarding companies registered in Hong Kong.

This appears to represent a lack of appreciation that there are many who have been in the anti-EU movement for years, if not decades, many of whom are battle hardened through bitter fighting. We are not going to stand aside and allow a SW1 candidate to waltz in and take the designation especially when it potentially involves handing out contracts to his Westminster friends - financial reward at the detriment of trying to win

So while on the surface it appears the 'leavers' are engaged with fighting among itself what we are instead seeing is battle for the soul of the movement. Much is happening behind the scenes not least significant attempts by those inside the M25 to silence blogs like this one.

It has been notable that Elliott has been conspicuous by his absence since the launch of his inept Vote Leave website. Maybe he's realised that his "vision" of a reformed EU would be contrary to Electoral Commission criteria regarding applying for a straight leave campaign.

"Reform" not leave has been an argument he has noted before - here and here. The lack of clarification on leave or reform has been dramatically exposed by Mr Brexit, Elliott is proving to be one of Cameron's useful idiots writes Lost Leonardo.

Maybe concerns over competition for the official designation bid is why the Vote Leave campaign is now taking to plagiarising other material in what appears to be an about turn to try to win designation as Pete North notes. The latest Vote Leave newsletter says:
“We will be publishing a lot of work over the next few weeks about how we can have a better UK-EU relationship. For example, there are important arguments concerning regulation that we will address soon. Vote Leave is not 'a campaign to scrap regulations'.
The arguments concerning regulation are more complex than the media suggests. Further, they have changed over the past 15 years as the global regulatory system has evolved. Many 'EU regulations' actually come from global bodies.
An important argument for leaving the EU is that we would then regain our ability to influence global discussions about global rules at the global level. There are good arguments for having some common global standards, e.g. the modular, standardised shipping container system has been a huge success.
As the global economy integrates and becomes more interdependent, there will be more global rules and platforms. This strengthens the argument for Britain engaging at the global level rather than confining itself to the parochial meeting rooms of Brussels” 
Global regulation? 'Not a campaign to scrap regulations'? Now where have we seen that before? Flexcit - two years in the writing and a document hitherto been dismissed by the likes of Cummings and Elliott.

It's shameless as well as desperate...

Monday 19 October 2015

The EU: The Poisoned Chalice

"Determined to lay the foundations of an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe".
(Treaty of Rome 1957)

For all the criticism which could be leveled at the EEC/EU it could rarely be said that it didn't hide its ambitions in plain sight. 

"Ever closer union" were the words in its first Treaty, as part of the first sentence. They meant it then, they mean it now. The organisation even calls itself the European Union. Not a single market but a union. We're in Ronseal "it does what it says on the tin" territory. 

The lack of candid appreciation of the EU's inherent ambition by the UK is why it is known as the "awkward member state" - it has failed to appreciate the rules of the club it has joined and willfully so. Is it any wonder that other member states are often exasperated by the UK's inability to fully comprehend the EU's primary objective - political union.

The greatest deception of course is self-deception. And with this it allows Tory MPs to put forward Judas Goat arguments of wanting "reform" allowing them to pretend to be eurosceptics (a word now debased) but really wishing to stay in. Here then we see a great example via Mr Brexit, regarding Conservative MEP Daniel Hannan:
The problem with having a Leave campaign that is owned and run by people who have never publicly called for Britain to leave the EU, but instead have long urged David Cameron to secure a deal to  'reform' of our EU membership, is that you cannot trust their apparent conversion.

Prominent Vote Leave supporter, the Tory MEP and arch Eurosceptic Daniel Hannan, has signalled the real objective of the Matthew €lliott/Dominic Cummings campaign with these words in a piece he wrote for ConservativeHome (run by €lliott protege, Mark Wallace):
Ah, some readers will say, Hannan and the Eurosceptics are just trying to raise the bar impossibly high. Actually, we’re not. Our key aims – the supremacy of UK law on our own soil, more freedom to strike bilateral trade deals with non-EU states and the right to determine who can settle on our territory – are remarkably moderate. Nothing would make me happier than for the PM to come back from Brussels with a deal that we could support.
The problem for Hannan is that he has been able to maintain his long standing duplicitous Tory position, often outside UK media scrutiny as an MEP in EU institutions while there was no referendum promise by his own party. But now there is a referendum, with only two options; remain or leave, he's come unstuck. A Tory to his fingertips.

In the spirit of Hannan's self deception, below are the four episodes of the BBC's The Poisoned Chalice on the UK's membership of the EU.

Episode one shows at the beginning Douglas Hurd ("now we've signed it we better read it" fame) treating other EU member states rather rudely by turning up late. Perhaps it played well at home in the UK but it merely demonstrates the arrogance of a country which consistently refuses to acknowledge the EU's true purpose. Reform is not an option...

Friday 16 October 2015

EU Referendum: Guido's Dodgy Data Grab?

In light of our recent posts it comes of some interest to see that blogger Guido Fawkes - a self declared anti establishment figure - is criticising the establishment, more specifically supporters of Labour leader Corbyn, for potential data mining:
The Corbyn cheer-leading organisation “Momentum” claims to be able to contact all the people who signed up to support Jeremy Corbyn during the leadership contest, but they might not have permission to do so. When people signed up as supporters of the Corbyn4Leader campaign, they were asked to give their email addresses and postcodes; the campaign said they were collecting this information to “enable us to carry out casework on behalf of constituents; issues and campaigns we are involved with locally; maintaining our own accounts and records; supporting and managing our employees and agents.”

According to the Information Commissioner’s Office “individuals should generally be able to choose whether or not their personal data is disclosed to another organisation” and if an organisation does intend to disclose information to another organisation, “fairness requires that you tell the individuals concerned unless they are likely to expect such disclosures.”

If Momentum is a stand alone limited company and doesn’t share any formal links with other organisations as they claim, what right did the official Corbyn campaign have to pass over the sensitive personal data of its supporters to them?
It really is astonishing that given Guido's assertions by his own admission to build a database of "sensitive personal data" on the back of referendum campaigns he has the nerve to criticise others for allegedly doing similar and to give "unofficial" advice. It's brazen hypocrisy. It is also a reflection of supposed prestige over facts, by a blogger who is clearly a member of the establishment

It has long been with some despondent amusement to find that a blog which purports to be anti-establishment, yet clearly has establishment approval who have financial interests at stake, has as its main author a man who has been bankrupt, is guilty of criminal behaviour and appears to be happy to abuse taxpayer's money with the icing on the cake being a blog published by an offshore company. That he is given significant leeway by the establishment is of some puzzlement. Perhaps it's a perfect reflection of them.

In addition Guido Fawkes is clearly closely linked with Matthew Elliott as we have previously seen and obviously there are questions to be answered regarding the conduct of Guido and Matthew Elliot in the AV Referendum; questions which have yet to be answered despite plenty of opportunity to do so.

With this in mind we wonder then whether MP and former Cabinet Minister Owen Paterson MP should associate himself with those who may compromise his position as a decent man.

Hattip: Toby Goodman on Twitter.

Sunday 11 October 2015

EU Referendum: Where's Elliott?

The above video shows a Sky News interview with Owen Paterson, who rightly argues that the EU is not the top table but is superseded by international bodies such as UNECE. Thus at present we are represented by the EU at an international level where we only have a diluted voice - by being one of 28 member states. This in a system where the EU is leaving us behind in its determination to create a poltical union as it always has been designed to do.

Owen's argument has been an lonely one in today's media which is determined to ignore the EU's raison d'être of "ever closer union" and try to reduce politics down to personality based biff-bam nonsense.

Nowhere has this been more true that the lightweight reporting on BBC's Andrew Marr this morning - it was like the Wilson report on BBC EU bias never happened. Certainly if that's the "quality" of the debate we can expect by the legacy media, then thankfully we have the internet.

Interestingly with Andrew Marr we ask the question, in the spirit of where's wally, of where was Matthew Elliott on Marr's BBC show this morning? Despite clearly being advertised in advance as appearing on BBC's Andrew Marr show by the Guardian, reported elsewhere and clearly insinuated by Andrew Marr at the end of his show last week Elliott's absence this week has been very obvious.

It does appear to be extremely odd that with the official launch of Elliot's business just last week, to try to win official designation, Elliott has gone apparently missing in the media. It surely would not be unreasonable to expect a number of appearances by Elliott and/or his associates across the Sunday media in the face of such a launch. Thus we do wonder is this supposed to be a professional launch of a "campaign".

Clearly then Elliot's business website "vote leave" launch was rushed and has many faults as Lost Leonardo notes:
This site is far worse than amateur. It carries the imprimatur of people who simply do not care, which, given that (without exaggeration) the EU referendum is about the future of our nation and Britain’s place in the world, is grounds enough to place a very large question mark over whether the ‘Vote Leave’ organisation and the people behind it are suitable candidates to lead the official “leave” campaign.
As eurosceptics we deserve better...

Friday 9 October 2015

Guido Fawkes: Vote Leave, Take Control?

Isn't it rather strange that with the launch of the "vote leave" campaign, whose CEO is Matthew Elliott, Guido Fawkes writes a rather supportive blog piece. What a contrast to the various uncomplimentary pieces written about Arron Banks.

Now I wonder why that could be...?

EU Referendum: Vote To Leave?

We wouldn't advise, on a professional basis, that a website emblazoned largely with black would be conducive to try to successfully advertise a campaign, let alone portray a positive image of trying to leave the EU. Perhaps maybe Elliott's close associate and "IT expert" Jag Singh knows better:
So I’ve carved a niche as an “online electioneer” and “digital strategist” – the go-to-guy for when campaigns and organisations want to win over the hearts and minds of people
This blog has never been impressed with the self-promoting statements of Singh particularly when, despite being a "Senior Advisor for Hillary Clinton for President" among other claims, he's a surprisingly difficult man to pin down via the internet. For an “online electioneer” it's odd that attempting to get to grips fully with his online profile proves to be somewhat elusive.

So for a highly paid digital expert it comes as a surprise that first observations of the "voteleave" website mean we note that much of the text is unreadable particularly when such text, for example, is written over pictures of Cameron's face (below):

This surely is about as amateur as it gets when it comes to website design. And perhaps the "Vote Leave" is the only website which could make a picture of a murmuration of starlings - one of nature's wonders - look unsightly:

The "scrolling" text at the top of the website gives the distinct impression of a design made by an overzealous 12 year old who has discovered HTML script for the first time. If this is an example of the supposed "campaigning genius" of Elliott and his friend Singh, then we can expect Elliott to lose the leave campaign and lose it heavily, if he is given the official designation. We sometimes wonder in these circumstances whether that might be the point - he 'accidentally' loses which helps to facilitate further his Tory career. 

Further concerns come in the form of the "voteleave" website which looks suspiciously like a certain website by albeit one designed with different colours. The horizontal "bar" structure is the same and the coding is little different. The subsequent invoices would be interesting to investigate, as it has been before.

It's also interesting and very revealing that Elliot, who the media have clearly promoted as a shoo-in for being designated as the official EU Leave campaign, has had to launch his "leave" campaign earlier than expected as a response to the emergence of the campaign by Arron Banks. 

Elliott, the darling of the media which is the consequence of a sustained campaign of patronage, is quoted on Reuters as saying:
"We will be the main out campaign," Elliott told Reuters. He said the campaign would be launched imminently.
Aside from such arrogance Elliott's hasty launch amounts to little more than a re-branding of his previous campaign to try to enrich his mates - a re-branding which has had to occur rather sharpish with reflection of the Electoral Commission's recommendations that the question will not be between an "in" or "out" option but between "remain" or "leave".

With the rushed and what is apparently the unexpected launch of Elliot's campaign to try to receive official designation, many of our observations have come to pass regarding the potential lack of quality of his campaign. We wonder why the campaign apparently believes that having a dark designed website would be attractive to "soft" voters who are crucial to winning the referendum.

Perhaps winning a referendum is less important than close associates of Matthew Elliott, such as Jag Singh, being able to build a voter database which can become extremely lucrative subsequent to a referendum.

Thus it appears that Elliott's campaign appears to have carried on where he started off with the AV referendum with no real concept of how to actually win a referendum - where he made such a shambles of it he had to be bailed out by the Prime Minister. Cameron was forced to intervene despite that all party leaders were anticipating to take a back seat.

It was a shambles which was due to incompetence and received warranted acute criticism even by those on his own side who were paid £3,333 per month by the No2AV campaign (page 54).

But then as we have seen Elliott seems not to be interested in the EU but more interested in constructing a web of companies which help facilitate financial gain with his friends. As EUReferendum writes not only is the silence revealing but so is the pressure to silence us:
It seems that I am not allowed to criticise the current Elliott operations, or express criticism of any of his supporters, such as Daniel Hannan. The writ is extensive, restraining me from offering critiques in any form, actual or implied - even when no names are mentioned. I am even required to censor my son, Peter, and ensure that he refrains from hostile comment. 

Such has been the pressure that I have even had complaints about pieces I hadn't written, on blogs I do not control.
An indication of the uneasiness in the Elliott camp comes via Breitbart:
The Vote Leave Take Control campaign says it won’t be paying salaries of more than £99,000 a year, so donors know their money is being spent on campaigning. Well, that’s awkward, and it shows that Mr Elliott and his friends are concerned with allegations popping up on the internet concerning the finances behind the last referendum campaign Mr Elliott ran: the NO2AV one.
With this in mind it's also very intriguing that Matthew Elliot does not appear on the website as the CEO despite that he is. Why is there not a statement on the website from him as the CEO including a picture with his team? Why the secrecy? 

This becomes even more curious when we see that he owns, alongside Dominic Cummings, the company behind the website. A company which is not a charity but a limited company.

Then there is the potential that a very useful and extensive database can be built acquired via a national referendum which can be laundered through Hong Kong, and then offered back to the UK as an offshore product.

We would strongly recommend that any personal details are not given over to any Elliott campaign.

Sunday 4 October 2015

EU Referendum: The Independent Deception

With the front page of the Independent on Sunday we see a good example of what to expect during the referendum campaign; copious FUD, fear and what can only be generously described as misleading details. On a slightly optimistic note we are being forewarned explicitly as to what Brexiteers can expect in the forthcoming campaign. Such is the poor quality of the Independent's article that it's no surprise EUReferendum is prompted to rightly criticise it.

The immediate agenda of the piece can be seen as a reaction to the start of the Conservative conference, attempting to highlight so-called divisions in the Conservatives for the newspaper's partisan reasons. Like the BBC on so many occassions- as per criticisms by its own Wilson Report - the question of how our country is governed by our membership of the EU is always reflected through the prism of Tory splits. With this in mind we can see that the wider agenda of the Independent becomes obvious.

The wider agenda comes with the usual tediousness, which eurosceptics are familiar with, that makes the same old tired arguments of the supposed fear of leaving which apparently would "threaten millions of jobs". The failing paper tries to make its case with deception,
In campaigners say this would not be so easy, claiming technical rules for EU withdrawal mean, should Britain vote for “Brexit”, the remaining 27 states would negotiate between themselves to determine the terms of the new relationship. They have warned that this would risk disadvantageous rules being “dictated” to the UK...
The procedures for EU exit are outlined in Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, which states: “The member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing member state shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.” 
It's disappointing, to say the least, that a national newspaper struggles to comprehend the full concept of Article 50, the realities of which has been well rehearsed here. It's interesting that the paper left out the initial part of Article 50 (4) as highlighted below in bold:
4. For the purposes of paragraphs 2 and 3, the member of the European Council or of the Council representing the withdrawing Member State shall not participate in the discussions of the European Council or Council or in decisions concerning it.
It's omission meant the Independent was able to insinuate that the UK would be excluded from EU institutions entirely upon invoking Article 50. In this context we wonder why the full paragraph was not included.

The missing sentence makes clear that paragraph four only means the UK is excluded where EU institutions are discussing the UK's exit and this is entirely logical otherwise the UK would end up negotiating with itself regarding its exit. Article 50 forces the EU to negotiate with us with both being on opposite sides of the table.

The paragraph four exclusion is entirely consistent to Article 49 where accession countries are also absent from the European Council and the Council, by virtue of not yet being EU members. The UK will still partake in EU institutions where decisions are unrelated to its exit. In addition Article 50 (3) makes explicit that EU treaties will fall after two years regardless if no negotiation is successful so no terms can be "dictated" to the UK.

We are thus tempted to conclude that this is less a newspaper's ignorant and lazy conclusion and instead a rather cynical and deliberate attempt to encourage eurosceptics to fall into territory where the argument is confined to be all about tedious irrelevant detail to the detriment of the bigger picture. Concentrating on such tedious detail will put of the electorate. Conversely we could also conclude the Independent is probably not that clever but the outcome of its article is the same.

Yet this is not entirely the Independent's fault. Significantly a great deal of failure must lie with the eurosceptic movement, particularly UKIP, who have consistently, and largely failed, to provide a credible exit plan which would comprehensively negate the legacy media's falsehoods.

In contrast Flexcit drives a coach and horse through such europhile's shallowness and lack of substance. In addition it provides the foundation for the real battle, not tedious detail, but instead a new relationship with the EU. Cameron is very likely to offer one very weak form of relationship with the EU by Associate Membership. But Flexcit is a better offer.

Our real battle is with Cameron - we have a better offer than he does, and with this we can not only completely outflank Cameron but the likes of the superficial and dishonest Independent.EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum EU Referendum  

Saturday 3 October 2015

EU Referendum, Data Mining And Hong Kong

Designation for the leave campaign means receiving official funding capped at £7million, a considerable sum which allows for more than a few contracts for friends. Designation also means that a large database, called Metis, consisting of millions of the electorate's details can be constructed in a national campaign as Mr Brexit notes. This database will have a lucrative market domestically particularly with the Conservative party and "Elliott's Four" have no qualms in spelling this out.

The AV referendum appears to have been acting as a dry run. During the campaign we can see the Action Centre section of the now defunct website (via Wayback Machine), where widgets could be added to blogs, Facebook and websites. Supportive tweets could be sent directly via the website and donations could be made which required names and addresses. All this information helping to build a database of supporters. Is it a coincidence that subsequently Metis began life in 2013 covering already 500,000 people?

What's interesting is this section of the Privacy Policy on the NotoAV website, (my emphasis): 
We may provide other third parties with information about our users, where this is likely to contribute to a successful outcome in the referendum for our campaign. Where you have not indicated that you agree to such sharing we will only provide third parties with statistical information cannot be used to identify you.

We may engage a third party to help us carry out any of our activities and these third parties may be located in countries that do not provide the same level of protection as is provided in the United Kingdom. We will ensure that these third parties have an obligation to protect your information in the same way that we protect your information.
Curiously one of Matthew Elliott's other business ventures Business for Britain does not have such an explicit "overseas third party" clause.

That NotoAV did begins to make more sense when we consider that Strateusis submitted a number of invoices to the AV campaign including this one below for £7,000 providing Search and Facebook marketing services:
Strateusis is, as we have noted before, registered in Hong Kong. Providing Facebook marketing services would strongly suggest it needs access to the database being accumulated, meaning that a copy of the data would be offshored.

If so this raises further concerns. Hong Kong data protection laws "are miles away" from developments internationally particularly within the EU. The main privacy law is the Personal Data (Privacy) Ordinance (Cap 486) (the Ordinance). But crucially Section 33 of the Ordinance which prohibits the transfer of data overseas has never been enacted, meaning there currently is no effective legal restriction on cross-border data transfers in Hong Kong (Guidance on Section 33 published by the Privacy Commissioner is voluntary and not binding).

NotoAV does try to reassure us that they "will ensure that these [offshore] third parties have an obligation to protect your information in the same way that we protect your information". But given the very suspicious way the campaign was constructed, how can we be so sure?

Friday 2 October 2015

Business For Elliott's Friends

We have previously established that after Elliott had been awarded the No2AV campaign, he appointed his friend and business associate Jag Singh as the Director of Digital Communications. Singh then appointed Message Space - the company in which he had a financial interest - as the campaign's digital agency. As notes: 
"Message Space was paid over £65,000, which including on 5 May – days before the poll – the biggest 1-day-blitz online ad buy in UK political history. One should note that Conservative Home - then under the proprietorship of Tim Montgomerie - was a major beneficiary".
It's also worth noting that Douglas Carswell, who has had a recent spat with Arron Banks over the former's support for the Elliott campaign, is also a customer of Message Space.

In addition to the £65,000 paid to Message Space (including one invoice for £17,000) Singh then went on to pay Strateusis well over £30,000, a Hong Kong company which he is a director. One such invoice, (below) showed a considerable sum of £20,000 for the vague term of "media planning". Interesting using the Hong Kong company meant he paid no tax on the money. Invoices for Message Space and Strateusis combined amounted to nearly £100,000.
Further invoices show yet another close associate of Elliott working for him in the AV Referendum campaign. We see that Dr Lee Rotherham was paid £4,166 (below), for "work undertaken". Rotherham advises The Taxpayers' Alliance on EU matters and has written at least two books with Matthew Elliott.
It's becoming perfectly clear that Elliott is completely unfit to lead any official leave campaign. Never has he advocated leaving the EU instead arguing that we stay in with unspecified reforms. More serious is the deep suspicion that his campaigns are being constructed largely to allow close friends to award themselves contracts.

However as Richard North says "should the [Electoral Commission] decide to ignore warning signs and make the award to the establishment grouping, there is always the prospect of a judicial review in the High Court".