As the petition calling for the UK to revoke its invocation of Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty closes on four million signatures - despite all the outages on the Government website hosting it - so a variety of dishonest and blatantly malicious anti-EU actors continues its efforts to rubbish the exercise. The problem they all have is that it is all too easy to pick apart the smears and lies. But still they keep on coming.
Which brings us to the latest dishonest and malicious anti-EU actor in the shape of self-promoting TalkRADIO host Julia Hartley Brewer, who wants the hardest Brexit known to humankind to be inflicted on the UK for the benefit of Herself Personally Now. That this might not be to the benefit of 99% of the population at large is not allowed to enter. She voted to drive off the cliff edge, and is determined to have her lemming moment.
“Oh, this is going to be a fun afternoon. You can sign any name you want to the Revoke Article 50 petition and use the same email address repeatedly. Let the games begin! #RemoanerMcRemoanface” she trilled. There was, though, as Captain Blackadder might have observed, only one thing wrong with that idea - it was bollocks.
Steffan Harries was on hand to put her straight. “Not true. You can only confirm using unique email addresses. Secondary attempts to confirm an address already used will get rejected. Stop spreading nonsense”. But what would Ms Hartley Dooda do for a living if she were unable to spread nonsense? And Harries wasn’t finished. “Further to this: here's the source code showing tests that check for duplicate signatures”. Source code? Goodness, that’s way beyond her intellectual capacity.
And before she starts up about people signing the petition from outside the UK - the angle tried, unsuccessfully, by the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog - Blair McDougall had bad news for her. “Seen a few people talking about how the revoke petition is compromised because someone signed it from Kyrgyzstan. That was me. I’m here for two weeks for work. People move around the world. Imagine that”.
Meanwhile, Ms Hartley Dooda’s attempt to diss the petition was clearly destined to be a campaign that developed not necessarily to her advantage. After Mike Galsworthy sighed “Hi Julia. How old are you again?” (51 next May), Stephen Ralph asked “Does she not understand that yes you can sign with any details but the petition is only signed official when you've verified your address via an email?! And, due to demand, the verification process is heavily delayed but not broken”. Quite so.
The final confirmation that Ms Hartley Dooda was, once again, talking out of the back of her neck was provided by the House of Commons Petitions Committee, which told “We don’t comment in detail about security measures. We use different techniques - automated and manual - to identify and block signatures from bots, disposable email addresses and other sources that show signs of fraudulent activity. We also monitor signing patterns”.
Not for the first time, Julia Hartley Dooda is in need of the nearest extinguisher. Because that flash of light from her general direction signifies that her pants are on fire.
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