So many in our free and fearless press, as well as some in broadcast media (hello BBC), have been all too ready to pander to those in the various Leave campaigns, and especially those behind Vote Leave. Whenever Vote Leave has something to spin, the print and broadcast media is there, eager to take dictation from Matthew Elliott, despite his track record for peddling falsehood and misinformation on a monumental scale.
Especially keen to spin for Vote Leave have been the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog. Not yesterday, though. Nor was the rest of the media establishment. And that’s most revealing: yesterday was when Vote Leave got some bad news about their judicial review over their campaign spending breach.
The bad news was that they lost. If the press and broadcast media is reporting this, it’s being kept well hidden. An honourable exception was the Guardian, which told readers “The official pro-Brexit campaign group has lost a judicial review aimed at trying to get an Electoral Commission ruling that it breached spending limits thrown out”.
No comment from him ...
There was more. “Vote Leave was challenging the findings of a report issued in July that it had exceeded the prescribed £7m limit by channeling funds via another campaign group, but the high court concluded on Wednesday that its case was groundless … A judgment by Mrs Justice Yip said: ‘I do not consider that the claimant’s grounds are arguable.’ She also dismissed an attempt to claim that the commission did not have the power to investigate the alleged overspending”. And yet more.
“Vote Leave was fined £61,000 by the watchdog in July and its accounting officer, David Halsall, was referred to the police for further investigation … At the time, Matthew Elliott, the former chief executive of Vote Leave, claimed the commission had not followed due process in its investigation and that it was driven by ‘a highly political agenda’”.
... so no obedient spin from him ...
The BBC managed to report Elliott’s response back then, but has for some reason not covered this development. Nor has The Great Guido, whose routinely dishonest spin on the Electoral Commission (HERE) and Vote Leave (HERE) is well known.
When Vote Leave was about to be found guilty of breaking electoral law, not only did the BBC report what was a premature leak of the Electoral Commission’s findings, but the Corporation gave Elliott a platform to spin his excuses. He was even given the cachet of being interviewed by the Beeb’s political editor Laura Kuenssberg.
... and no exclusive report from her
While it’s true that there is another court case to come - Vote Leave is appealing against the July verdict which imposed that fine and made the Police referrals - is it worrying that those who were so keen to report every last detail when Elliott and his pal Dominic Cummings span it to them are today silent. Especially the BBC.
Anyone might conclude that the Beeb has developed selective amnesia over anything that throws doubt on the referendum result. I’ll just leave that one there.
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