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Wednesday, 22 July 2020

The fury of the scorned

Remainer fury yesterday was fierce, on the release by the Intelligence and Security Commission of the long-awaited Russia report. The fury on show extended to members of the committee itself. It was not, however, directed at the Russians, for having attempted to interfere in the 2014 Scots referendum, but at the entire Leave side, for the result of the 2016 referendum not having been subject to Russian interference.

They excoriated the security services for not finding something that wasn't there. They wanted, I bet, to excoriate the Russians for not having interfered. But most of all they were furious that the 52% won the referendum fair and square, when for four years FBPE stars  have tacitly supported suggestions that the Russians crooked the result. They failed even to find anything on Arron Banks, long the target of Russian smears. Brendan O'Neill has a piece in the Speccie hoping, I think naively, that this report will now end Russsian conspiracy whispers in relation to the referendum. I doubt it.

The report did however include one paragraph of note - but we have to read through the redactions -

One of the fundamental pillars of a free democracy, the integrity of the secret ballot, is largely safe - or it was when the committee took its evidence, and before the 2019 election.

What is safe is the process that involves stubby pencils on bits of string and collapsible hardboard voting booths, locked boxes being opened and votes counted in local town halls and sports centres. This, at least, Blair could not foul with his 'reforms'. However, I'll bet a pound to a pea that the redactions include reservations about the integrity of the postal voting system. It is this, rather than fantasies about the integrity of the 2016 referendum, that should now dominate the committee's concerns.

The 2019 general election saw the proportion of postal votes rise to 37%. At the same time, public confidence in the integrity of the postal vote process has fallen. Voters know what's going on, even if the Electoral Commission doesn't. What's extraordinary about the postal vote level in the 2019 election is that a 120-page report on the election by the Commons Research dept, a report that includes an analysis of everything from the weather on polling day to the numbers of spoiled ballots, makes not one mention of this extraordinary increase in postal votes.

Covid may mean great pressure to move to wholly postal voting, absent a vaccine. Before we acquiesce, we must be sure that the process is secure. Here is where members should turn their attention, not chasing remainer fantasies around the integrity of the 2016 referendum. 

The report is also critical of the extent of Lords' interests in Russian money, and the Mail points out Peter Mandelson's shareholdings in Russian defence firm Sistema, and that he previously sat on the company's board. Peter's interests aren't just Russian, though - he's also President of both the Great Britain China Centre and the German British Forum.


Dave_G said...

You can guarantee there will be no such investigations into EU corruption of the voting process - assuming they even allowed 'you' to vote (without calling for a re-run because you didn't do it right).

Somehow its always 'someone else's fault' when TPTB policies fail to endure because people know they're being duped. Shame it always has to be Russia as the fall guy too - couldn't they direct it towards Islam or immigrants or anywhere where some real action could be taken and it actually made our lives better?

And because voting actually does make a difference they're changing the rules on how it works to ensure we can vote the wrong way ever again - see America for the latest on mail-in voting controversy and where we are all headed sometime soon.

jim said...

With any long boring report the first step is to turn to the appendices - that is where any useful nuggets are hidden. Lo and behold, page 45 onwards contains absolutely nothing. This report has been well kippered. Ostensibly to prevent Russia getting any help, just as likely to prevent us here at home becoming any the wiser. We must look elsewhere.

For an alternative and usually well informed view it is worth turning to Craig Murray's blog. His bottom line is that a great deal of so called intelligence is in fact 'reading the newspapers'. This gets dressed up as 'credible open source reporting'. Now the publicly stated SIS budget is £3.2Bn, so really a good bit more. This report tells us that the proportion of budget allocated to Russia is a measly 6% - still a not so measly £190 million - a lot of civil servants and a lot of newspaper reading.

Then we find the Ruskies have been snuggling up to our politicians and heaven forfend, sending Twitters. How frightful, what is a secret squirrel to do. Then much talk of constraint by lack of legislation for this and that.

Now my memory of James Bond is that he didn't muck about rummaging among the Pipe Rolls, he pulled a Walther PPK. This is what I expect our secret squirrels to do. I know they are essentially undemocratic but the idea is not to play nice but to put on the frighteners. I expect a lot of frightening for £3.2Bn+, with a bit of restraint.

Perhaps their real problem is too many pencils and Lapsang Souchong and not enough Walthers.

Raedwald said...

Ah, a fellow afficianado of ancient archives. Do you remember when they were kept at St Giles, before the funny fellows used the building?

Yoof today probably reckon the Master of the Rolls is the bloke in charge of the official car.

John Brown said...

The Intelligence and Security Committee’s report into Russian activity claimed the government made no effort to investigate Russian interference in the EU referendum.

How do they know this?

The report should have read : “Mrs. May’s government claims to have made no effort to investigate Russian interference in the EU referendum”.

Why would this be?

Since the government, the civil service and TPTB wanted to remain in the EU, and would therefore have been happy to have the EU referendum result discredited, it is clear that they did not get the result they wanted.

So to keep the conspiracy theories and doubts alive it was decided to pretend that no effort was made to investigate Russian interference.

DiscoveredJoys said...

If people say there is no evidence that will sway their deeply held beliefs (as in the Remoaners and the ISC report) then they are operating on faith, not fact. They will almost certainly be conspiracy theorists of some degree.

It will be interesting to see the responses to the EHRC report into Anti Semitism in the Labour Party.

Span Ows said...

John Brown 09:19, exactly! The news on the radio this morning was exactly that nudge nudge wink wink they must have had an effect on the Brexit vote although refraining from any direct mention, even the official sounding 'expert' on such things who recorded answers left no doubt. Fuckers.

James Bond (and such activities) would be about 0.1% of 'secret squirrel' but you're right about the papers jim, same with trade reports, mostly completely obvious to anyone who knows anything about the country/industry/sector in question.

Re postal voting, it should end IMHO. 100%. Zero then start on a case by case justification (overseas, disabled...). Nor 'online' in teh sense of being able to do it from any phone or computer; if they want it electronic then have a system like the National lottery machines where each vote still needs a person to turn up and most will be on film.

Anonymous said...

This won't be the last effort by the undemocratic losers. They are playing the long game.

mongoose said...

There may have been no evidence found of Russian interference in the EU Referendum but there was plenty of US interference. For instance, I saw that Obama chap on the telly saying that we would be "at the back of the queue" if we had the temerity to leave. He was an American something or other, wasn't he?

Doonhamer said...

Obama. He said "queue"? Maybe picked it up in Kenya.
Or some Brit coached him.
" You want me to say what? What has pool got to do with it? "
Say that in USA and you get blank looks.

Anonymous said...

I don't remember the EU-philes getting all worked up about democratic accountability and Russian collusion when Mandelson and Osborne were wined and dined on Oleg Deripaska's yacht.

Handing the 'king of aluminium' sweeteners (allegedly) whilst watching our aluminium industry being sacrificed on the 'climate change' altar didn't seem to worry the EU sulkers then.

Greg T said...

How does it feel to find you are all Putin's Useful Idiots?

Because - you are.

Oh yes, whilst I am here ...
Te much-deride-by-you-idiots BBC has scored a small victory against Corbyn's loonies in the courts, I see. ( Anti-smitism in Labour )

DeeDee99 said...

"What is safe is the process that involves stubby pencils on bits of string and collapsible hardboard voting booths, locked boxes being opened and votes counted in local town halls and sports centres."

Didn't appear to be very safe in Thanet, where several boxes went missing for several hours.

Mark said...

Butt hurt!

I thought we were Trump's whores?

Oh sorry. On planet troll Putin put Trump in the White House.

mikebravo said...

I missed you Tingey.
A comical cross between Catweazel and Don Quixote is how I picture you.
Don't change a thing.

Span Ows said...

"A comical cross between Catweazel and Don Quixote is how I picture you."

LOL. Showing your age. I used to love Catweazel (and the music, ahd a catchy tune (like many shows back then: the Persuaders, Avengers etc) , fantasised about living in my own 'camp' in a water tower or something similar.

Greg to me is like an older Alan Partridge crossed with the current errr Steve Coogan, fading badly.

Mark said...

Hells teeth, you've just brought that atrocity of a remake to mind!!

Anonymous said...

Russian interference was probably trifling, compared to Robert Mercer's US billions, services-in-kind, and the rest, along with untold amounts funnelled by PayPal, crypto, and the dark web to UK Leave campaigns.

Wigmore crowed as much.

Mark said...

If we moronic leave Neanderthals are so easy to manipulate why weren't rejoiniacs able to do it?