Friday, 11 May 2018

Dead sardine is a red herring

So the Electoral Commission has fined Leave.EU a record £70,000 for breaking spending limits in the EU referendum. Leave.EU co-founder Arron Banks isn't happy:
“We view the Electoral Commission announcement as a politically-motivated attack on Brexit and the 17.4 million people who defied the establishment to vote for an independent Britain.”

He added: “The EC went big game fishing and found a few ‘aged’ dead sardines on the beach. So much for the big conspiracy!
“What a shambles. We will see them in court.”

Speaking on BBC Radio 4’s Today programme, he added that the commission was made up of “former MPs, liberal MPs, the SNP, former Labour leaders of councils, all sorts of people that all believe in Remain”.
Two things:

1. This is what Arron Banks has previously said about facts and persuasion:
What they [Political strategists Goddard Gunster] said early on was ‘facts don’t work’ and that’s it.

“The remain campaign featured fact, fact, fact, fact. It just doesn’t work. You have got to connect with people emotionally."
Which explains Banksy's fishy response to the fine. But if you can see what he's trying to do, you can get past the emotive language he's using to dodge the issue. The question here is "Did Leave.EU break the spending limits or didn't they?" Comparing the EC's findings to a dead sardine doesn't answer that question. That's no dead sardine, it's a red herring. As is his angry allegation of an "attack" on the "the 17.5 milion people who voted for Brexit."

It was an attack - on people who break the rules which are there to protect those 17.5 million people (and the rest of us) from cheats. The question, again, Banksy, is "Did Leave.EU break the rules?" The Electoral Commission think they did. If you want anyone to think differently, put up or shut up.

2. Having spent zero per cent of his statement addressing the substance of what Leave.EU did (or didn't) do, Banks had time to insinuate that his opponents were a bunch of conspiracy theorists, before launching into a conspiracy theory of his own which invited us to believe that the Electoral Commission itself was a vast establishment conspiracy. This from a man who wasn't above getting his underlings to smear an investigative journalist by photoshopping a tinfoil hat onto her picture:
I'll leave the last word to that same journalist: