After the recent revelations about the various campaigns wanting to see a Leave vote in last year’s EU referendum, especially that Cambridge Analytica and its use of Facebook data to micro-target susceptible voters had been used by Arron Banks’ gang at Leave.EU, Banks - along with former Vote Leave supremo Dominic Cummings - have been snapping back at the Guardian’s Carole Cadwalladr. But here a problem has arisen.
Their campaign of rebuttal has progressed not necessarily to their advantage, after it was made clear that Ms Cadwalladr had not only done her research, but was also able to reveal even more incriminating morsels, especially about Banks.
Cummings was first up for a denial, pitching the sniffy response “Piece by @carolecadwalla = v bad journalism + her ludicrous conspiracies undermine serious debate on important issues viz data & politics”. This might have sounded plausible to Dom before former Guardian man Charles Arthur woke him back up.
“‘Ludicrous conspiracies’ such as catching Dominic Cummings (@odysseanproject) in very odd contradiction over how he found AggregateIQ” he observed. AggregateIQ’s intellectual property is owned by Robert Mercer, the bloke who owns Cambridge Analytica.
But Cummings flailing around was a mere hors d’oeuvre before the Arron Banks entrée. After noting the response that Cambridge Analytica “did no paid or unpaid work for leave.EU”, Ms Cadwalladr took out the filleting knife and made her first incision: “So. First up. Here's Cambridge Analytica employee Brittany Kaiser on Leave.eu's panel at Leave.eu's launch”. She just happened to be passing, no doubt.
There had been evidence on the leave.eu website, and although it had been deleted, it had’t been deleted enough: “And here's Leave.eu with Cambridge Analytica on its website. Since deleted. Weird, huh? Too bad there's an ARCHIVE”. And that archive has plenty about Cambridge Analytica on it. leave.EU waxes positively lyrical about its contribution.
Another Tweet, another link: “Cambridge Analytica ‘did no paid or unpaid work for leave.eu’ Er..HELLO? CA ‘has teamed up with leave.eu’ says boss”. This time it was a still extant post from Campaign Live that brought the incriminating details.
And then it was time for the sweetest of afters, as Banks claimed “We worked with Gerry Gunster and had two meetings with CA but never took them up on the their offer. Paid or unpaid”, only for Ms Cadwalladr to respond “But here you are sitting next to Cambridge Analytica employee at your launch event” and Paul Brennan to add “And here is Banks tweeting about using CA”. What was he saying in that Tweet?
Only “Our campaign is being run by Gerry Gunster - won 24 referendum [sic] in the USA and Cambridge Analytics experts in SM”. That would be putting the lid on it.
Arron Banks has talked well, but lied badly. Carole Cadwalladr has done her homework, she has him bang to rights, and his next denial is going to have to be more convincing.