back to article Brexit text-it wrecks it: Vote Leave fined £40k for spamming 200k msgs ahead of EU referendum

Vote Leave Ltd, the company behind a cross-party campaign to bring the UK out of the EU, must cough up a £40,000 fine for spamming hundreds of thousands of text messages to Brits in the run up to the national referendum. On Tuesday, the Information Commissioner’s Office punished Vote Leave after determining the biz, set up by …

  1. Throatwarbler Mangrove Silver badge
    Holmes

    Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

    You don't say.

    1. Snowy Silver badge
      Joke

      Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

      Yet the vote still stands.

      Joke Icon as the whole things is turning into a joke.

      Another vote would be good with a clear idea it will be binding and people having a better idea of what it means.

      I do not see why the leaver could object, if leaving is truelty the "WILL OF THE PEOPLE" then another vote should confirm this.

      1. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

        Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

        Who's to say that the same behaviour won't happen again if by some freak of nature or [redacted] voting in Parliament we get another referendum?

        All I have to say is ...

        Why has Boris been so quiet? Has someone got him on a leash and muzzled?

        He was so vocal in the original campaign. Perhaps he is having second thoughts?

        1. Joe W Silver badge

          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

          Sure, but an actual binding referendum, that would make sense. Like, asking if you want to stay in or take the government's deal or just get tfo. Not sure if that would be possible (3 choices), but one could construct it as two questions? But I'm not seeing that happening.

          On the other hand: this is a representative democracy.... in principle the parliament is actually elected by the people to represent them and work stuff like this out. In principle, yes.

          1. Version 1.0 Silver badge

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

            To say another vote would be "binding" would be stirring the pot and not helpful - couldn't we simply settle for requiring that all statements are backed up by facts and evidence - and the threat to prosecute anyone who makes a false statement without evidence? We do that all the time in law courts - why should it be reasonable to allow lies in referendums?

            1. SolidSquid

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

              It's not just saying another vote would be binding, it's parliament explicitly writing the bill to make the referendum legally binding. The previous one was supposed to be advisory and was explicitly not written to be binding (this was changed to avoid an amendment which would make the threshold 60%)

              I'd agree that both sides should rely on evidence/facts though and that the law should be followed. Given behaviours by certain groups during the last referendum there should definitely be very close scrutiny of how they campaign. Having it be legally binding isn't just stirring the pot though, it's at least partly intended to counter the fear that Remainers would just keep pushing for new referendums until they got the result they wanted, something which at least some Brexiteers have suggested is a reason why they oppose a second referendum

              1. EvilDrSmith

                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                >The previous one was supposed to be advisory

                No it was binding. The Prime Minister stating publically and directly that the result would be implemented, and the entirety of Parliament sitting on its hands and not objecting made that beyond any doubt.

                Sovereign power comes from the people in a democracy.

                1. Spanners Silver badge
                  Flame

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                  >The previous one was supposed to be advisory

                  No it was binding.

                  No. It said on the first page of the bill that it was "advisory and non binding"

                  That some MPs had the arrogance to say otherwise is fairly predictable. We have now had years of certain newspapers and rich arrogant sociopaths trying to take us out of the EU on the say of 37.5% of the electorate.

                  1. EvilDrSmith

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                    Really?

                    Directly copied from the first page:

                    European Union Referendum Act 2015

                    2015 CHAPTER 36

                    An Act to make provision for the holding of a referendum in the United

                    Kingdom and Gibraltar on whether the United Kingdom should remain a

                    member of the European Union. [17th December 2015]

                    BE IT ENACTED by the Queen’s most Excellent Majesty, by and with the advice and

                    consent of the Lords Spiritual and Temporal, and Commons, in this present

                    Parliament assembled, and by the authority of the same, as follows:—

                    The referendum

                    1 The referendum

                    (1) A referendum is to be held on whether the United Kingdom should remain a

                    member of the European Union.

                    (2) The Secretary of State must, by regulations, appoint the day on which the

                    referendum is to be held.

                    (3) The day appointed under subsection (2)—

                    (a) must be no later than 31 December 2017,

                    (b) must not be 5 May 2016, and

                    (c) must not be 4 May 2017.

                    (4) The question that is to appear on the ballot papers is—

                    “Should the United Kingdom remain a member of the European Union or leave

                    the European Union?”

                    (5) The alternative answers to that question that are to appear on the ballot papers

                    are—

                    “Remain a member of the European Union

                    Leave the European Union”.

                    (6) In Wales, there must also appear on the ballot papers—

                    Anybody wanting to rad the full bill can do so here:

                    http://www.legislation.gov.uk/ukpga/2015/36/pdfs/ukpga_20150036_en.pdf

                    1. Babbit55

                      Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                      One very important note here, from your own link that proves this was NOT legally binding.

                      (1) A referendum is to be held

                      Please see this bit of information.

                      "Referendums are not legally binding, so legally the Government can ignore the results; for example, even if the result of a pre-legislative referendum were a majority of "No" for a proposed law, Parliament could pass it anyway, because parliament is sovereign."

                      https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Referendums_in_the_United_Kingdom

                      1. EvilDrSmith

                        Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                        Which does not alter the fact that the Prime Minister stated that the government would be bound by the decision, and Parliament raised no objection to this.

                        The Act did not state that the referendum would be binding (but equally clearly it is a lie to state that it said that it was advisory), but the government did state that the referendum was binding. Therefore, it was binding.

                        1. Babbit55

                          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                          No, it was none binding because it was a referendum. If it had been legally binding it would have been declared null and void because one party broke campaign laws so badly and lied massively as part of it.

                          https://www.lbc.co.uk/radio/presenters/james-obrien/brexit-referendum-corruptly-won-but-result-stands/

                        2. Valerion

                          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                          Which does not alter the fact that the Prime Minister stated that the government would be bound by the decision, and Parliament raised no objection to this.

                          Ignoring the fact that it doesn't actually matter what he said as his word is not legally binding, the PM resigned the next day and we had a general election not long after. Why should the new government be bound by what the old one promised?

                        3. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                          What the Prime Minister said does not matter, what matters is what is in law.

                          Legally, the referendum was advisory. There are/would be politicial consequences to ignoring the vote, but not legal consequences. See the difference?

                          Also worth bearing in mind that a number of court cases in the UK have stopped *because* the referendum was not legally binding. Given what we now know about the behaviour on the side of the Leave camp (in particular), I'm sure there are actually more than a few people who wish it had been binding so that the courts could intervene and overturn the decision. But they can't, because it was only advisory

                        4. jmch Silver badge

                          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                          "the Prime Minister stated that the government would be bound by the decision, and Parliament raised no objection to this."

                          The prime minister can say what he/she wants, its all hot air unless billed and voted for. Parliamentary approval has to be affirmative, it cannot be assumed.

                  2. The Nazz Silver badge

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                    re Spanners

                    Maybe so. On the say of 37.5% of the electorate.

                    I may be wrong, but that's still 37.49999% more of the electorate than those who voted to take us from the EEC into a wannabe federalist EU?

                2. illuminatus

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                  "No it was binding. "

                  No. It wasn't. The Act of Parliament enabling the vote said it was not, and no provisions were put in place in the Act to make it so. That the Prime Minister at the time either did not realise this, or DID realise it and said so anyway speaks volumes about him, the way that he felt he could overstep his authority, and his overweening sense of his own adequacy.

                  And, as it happens, because "he" said he would implement it, and because the result was in law advisory, it did not constrain any of his successors to do so. Yet the current incumbent chose to. And she's done such a great job of that, hasn't she?

                3. defiler Silver badge

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                  The Prime Minister stating publically and directly that the result would be implemented

                  And he had no right to do so. For a referendum to be binding takes an act of Parliament. That's why, after the referendum, Parliament then had to vote on whether to actually implement it. But no - it was a power-play within the Tory Party which was such a sure thing that the PM promised to deliver whatever the result was*, and didn't set a sensible threshold to permit total upheaval of the country.

                  *In retrospect, we should all have scored out the options and written "free ice cream" instead.

                  1. TheVogon Silver badge

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                    "And he had no right to do so"

                    Other than that was the vote of the majority in the referendum of course.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                Not sure what the fuss is about. Look's like we're remaining anyway?

                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                  >Look's like we're remaining anyway?

                  "a week is a long time in politics" and "the fat lady has yet to sing"...

                  I would not be surprised if at the last minute a unicorn rabbit is pulled out of the hat.

                  1. JassMan Silver badge

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                    I would not be surprised if at the last minute a unicorn rabbit is pulled out of the hat.

                    Nah! Its going to be a dead pigeon, she's had it stuffed up her sleeve too long and its died of terminal boredom.

              3. Velv Silver badge
                Flame

                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                "this was changed to avoid an amendment which would make the threshold 60%"

                And in cases of constitutional change that last a long time such as Brexit a 60% threshold is sensible (i.e. impact generations, not just a 5 year General Election).

                As it stands, neither side had the support of 50% of the electorate, so the country should not be leaving the EU.

          2. Pseu Donyme

            Re: 3 choices

            A ranked choice (instant runoff) vote should work with this.

            1. Paul Mitchell

              Re: 3 choices

              Good idea (otherwise known as Single Transferrable Vote: STV)

            2. Tom 7 Silver badge

              Re: 3 choices

              It would be unfair on brexiters to get them to make considered choices.

          3. veti Silver badge

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

            The only way that might work is two referendums, maybe a week apart. The second one would be "should we stay or should we go?"

            The first one would be "which version of 'go' should be on the ballot in next week's referendum - May's deal, or no deal?"

            That would let everyone vote with their eyes open. It might even persuade a significant number of the losers to accept the result, which is the only useful purpose of referendums.

            1. ratfox Silver badge
              Boffin

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

              There are various ways that can work. In Switzerland, votes on two different projects are typically represented as:

              1) Do you want project A?

              2) Do you want project B?

              3) In case both A and B are accepted, which do you prefer?

              It's typically better to ask all questions at once, because it avoids forcing people to vote against their own wishes for strategical reasons.

              For instance, in your proposal, people might prefer no deal to May's deal, but worry that no deal cannot get the majority in the second vote, so end up voting for May's deal in the first one. People who want to remain might vote for no deal in the first vote, hoping that it will not get a majority in the second, etc.

              Then again, no multi-ways voting system is perfect; there are various paradoxes.

              1. Andy 66

                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                Like a recent public vote in France a few weeks back on BST

                A. Keep as is changing hour twice a year

                B. Abolish changing the hour

                If B is majority vote, which do you prefer

                1. All time winter hour

                2. All time summer hour

                With examples given for what that implies in reality

                I voted A then 2 because I don’t want B but if that’s the majority give me 2 because I want daylight in the evening not in the morning

                Simple vote with no ambiguity

                1. Cuddles Silver badge

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                  "Like a recent public vote in France a few weeks back on BST

                  Simple vote with no ambiguity"

                  Aside from the question of why the French would have a vote about British Summer Time.

                  1. Andy 66

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

                    Because being a Brit I always think of it as that, as much of an oxymoron as it is!

                    C’était un vote sur l’heure d’ete

                    Have a vote up on me for giving me a giggle

                  2. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Adrian 4 Silver badge

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

              I seriously doubt that more than a tiny fraction of the country knows what the implications of either May's deal or No deal is. They still rely on the pundits who are, as before, corrupt.

          4. JassMan Silver badge

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy, Joe W

            Because of the wide gap between the leaders of the left and right and the disparity of opinions of politicians and those of the people, I believe we need 3 binary questions something like below. In fact if they had asked these questions first time round we would not be in the mess we are in.

            Please select only 1 response to each of the 3 following questions:

            1) Leave the EU? [ ] / [ ] Remain in the EU?

            Regardless of your answer to the previous question please continue:

            2) Leave with a deal ? [ ] / [ ] Leave with no deal?

            Whether you want to leave or remain, have a deal or no deal, please continue:

            3) Leave with the P.M.'s deal? [ ] / [ ] Leave with a Norway+ deal?

            Please ensure you have answered all 3 questions. Failure to do so will be a wasted vote.

            Any vote which only asks: May's deal vs Remain or May's deal vs Leave, will be opposed by one group or another resulting in the same deadlock which has already paralysed parliament. Any vote which ignores no-deal Brexit will similarly inflame the small but extremely vociferous voters who insist that Brexit means their particular brand of Brexit.

            1) we need to re-run the original question because not only have some people changed their minds, but there are now people entitled to vote who were disenfranchised in the advisory referendum.

            2) amongst people who voted to leave, there appears to be vociferous support for "no deal". However, people who want to remain should not have their future determined only by Brexiters. A vote would show decisively that "no deal" in not supported by a majority.

            3) the PM's deal needs to be put to people as an option since we know that the EU will accept it and the people may also, in spite of MPs voting against it. Norway+ needs to be on the vote since it has been offered by the EU and the people may support it.

            In order to remove the argument against repeated referenda, that the following rule should apply:

            For any referendum to be reversed, the new winning percentage must be at least 50% more than the previous winning percentage. e.g. since the previous remain/leave vote was 51.9 / 48.1, the next vote must attain 51.9% +(51.9%-50%)/2 =52.85% i.e. 52.82 / 47.15

            This rule would mean that each reversal becomes progressively harder. In fact it would be unlikely that any vote could reverse more than 3 times. If this rule had been applied to Brexit, leave would have had to achieve 75.8% ie would have failed before it started.

            1. ratfox Silver badge

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy, Joe W

              I would claim it's not a good idea to have a question of the type: "Do you prefer this specific solution or any other solution". For instance, remain vs some-kind-of-Brexit. That's because people who are willing to have a certain type of Brexit do not necessarily agree to other types. For instance, somebody who would want a Norway+ Brexit might decide to vote for remain, because they are too afraid that one of the other Brexits will end up winning.

              1. JassMan Silver badge

                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy, Joe W

                For instance, somebody who would want a Norway+ Brexit might decide to vote for remain, because they are too afraid that one of the other Brexits will end up winning.

                It works the othe way as well though which is that people who vote remain should be entitled to choose a method of exit in the event of a leave vote. This is EXACTLY the problem we have now. The wishes of remainers preferred method of leaving have been completely ignored, and even the leavers were forced to accept whatever T.May decided was meant by an "advisory" referendum.

            2. defiler Silver badge

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy, Joe W

              I was trying to suggest to my dad that we should have a second referendum, with all of the clear factors laid out in a yes/no fashion:

              Do you want free trade?

              Do you want open borders?

              Do you want common standards for products?

              etc etc.

              Anything that gets over 50% will then be a part of the Government's attempted deal. If nothing gets over 50% we drop out with no deal and start from scratch.

              He (a Brexiteer, but supporter of the European Common Market) decided that that was arse-backwards and we should plummet out and negotiate our way into the bits we want, rather than negotiating out of the bits we don't just now. So it seems that you literally can't please everyone.

          5. Mooseman Silver badge

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

            "in principle the parliament is actually elected by the people to represent them and work stuff like this out"

            Yes, precisely. MPs represent their voters but do NOT exist to slavishly parrot what their voters demand. This is a parliamentary democracy, not mob rule, which is why we don't have capital punishment for one.

          6. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

            "in principle the parliament is actually elected by the people to represent them and work stuff like this out."

            If they were beholden to represent the views of their constituents then my MP would be in breach of that, he is one of the ERG hard leavers, working against the wishes of his constituents, nearly 60% of whom voted to stay in the EU.

            Sadly we can't have his head on a spike for his actions but I'm hopeful they will be remembered come the next election

          7. Roland6 Silver badge

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

            >Sure, but an actual binding referendum, that would make sense.

            A binding referendum would be a red rag to a bull.

            Given how long it is taking to investigate and prosecute the dodgy doings by the 2016 referendum campaigns and the penalties being awarded; with no one daring to declare the result void. We can be sure that with a binding (or even a simple second) referendum, campaigns will chance it and undetake equally dodgy doings, because if they get the result they want then does it matter if it was "not cricket"?

      2. Joe W Silver badge

        Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

        Yup, especially adding the "binding" qualifier this time...

        A referendum called by an idiot to appease parts of his party, and looking at what happened from that point on (starting with the campaigns, continuing via "we are bound by the will of the people" expressed in an explicitly non-binding vote, up to the dead end people have maneuvered themselves into now*) this was maybe even the sanest part of this tragedy..

        *oh, you don't say so, it is not OK to let the parliament vote on the same thing until you get the result you want?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

          I don't seem to recall having consented to receiving the spam Remain letter from Dodgy Dave in #10, either - yet for some reason that, and the enormous cost of it, was perfectly legit. I'm not entirely convinced that there aren't double standards being applied here.

          1. richardcox13

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

            Letters can be sent as part of any national or local vote.

            You consented by being on the electoral role.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

              > You consented by being on the electoral role.

              If by 'consent' you mean I consented to be on the electoral role or face a £1000 file for failing to complete the form, then yes, I 'consented'.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

            I may be wrong but wasn't the leaflet unaddressed? I.e. just sent to every household rather than to a database of people.

            Therefore there is currently no law against that (other than indirect laws in election time). However a database of phone numbers being held and processed does have laws against it.

      3. Lord Elpuss Silver badge

        Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

        Agree on this with one caveat; it's not Another vote, it's the FIRST vote, done properly this time. First time round was completely invalid as it was a knee-jerk reaction by people who had no f*cking clue what they were voting for, led and misinformed by liars, schemers and special interest cabals. If the first referendum had happened in the third world, Amnesty International would be having a fit.

        1. SolidSquid

          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

          It's not really another or a first vote. The previous vote was essentially a vote on invoking Article 50, this vote would be on which of the options we currently have should be taken, or if we should withdraw article 50 and do the actual analysis which should have followed the first vote before we actually invoked A50

      4. Anonymous Coward
        Big Brother

        Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

        @Snowy "I do not see why the leaver could object, if leaving is truelty the "WILL OF THE PEOPLE" then another vote should confirm this."

        a. Scare the electorate with bogus stories of troops being deployed and food shortages.

        b. Sabotage the negotiations in Brussels.

        c. Then call for a second referendum.

        I thinks it extraordinary and an attack on democracy that the courts are being used to punish people for exercising their democratic right to campaign in a referendum.

        1. Schultz
          FAIL

          Found your calling...

          Looks like you should go into politics, Walter Bishop, then you could show them all how to properly negotiate with Brussels. I am sure you'd solve the Irish border issue in not time and a strong male negotiator could surly wrestle a decent trade deal out of the EU !(?)!

        2. veti Silver badge

          Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

          Campaigning in a referendum has rules. If you break those rules, you can expect the courts to punish you. What is undemocratic about that?

          In this case, the rule doesn't even relate to campaigning: it's a blanket rule that applies to everyone, all the time. It's as if a politician's tour bus had been clocked doing 60 m.p.h. down a residential road and parking across six disabled spaces. Would it be an "attack on democracy" to punish that, too?

        3. gbru2606

          Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

          It is Leavers within the Brexit Government who are preventing the WA from being passed FFS!!!

          And yet you're on here spouting all sorts of ridiculous conspiracy theory garbage and blaming all and sundry for your absurd 3 year shitfest. The Leave movement is utterly split and can't agree on a damn thing, which means that Remainers now form a united majority. You blew it because you were too lazy and feckless to ask anyone what future relationship they wanted with Europe in the years leading up to the promised vote. Instead you relied on a drip, drip, drip feed of media and political lies over decades to create momentum for your cause (and some MPs who engaged in this were rewarded with senior Cabinet positions to see Brexit through) - see below. You reap what you sow - as they say. Grow a spine. Take some responsibility.

          https://blogs.ec.europa.eu/ECintheUK/euromyths-a-z-index/

        4. Empire of the Pussycat

          Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

          nonsense

          there are c. 56 million british people

          most didn't vote leave

          stripping the rights of the british people based on the narrow margin in the referendum is not democracy

          1. Jamtea

            Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

            That's not how voting works... the electorate was 46500001, of which only 71% actually count because they turned up to vote. The final 29% abstaining or not bothering to vote cannot and should not be taken into account because not voting is also a choice.

            Also, a 3.8% differential is a decisive one in an election. A close result shows a healthy democracy where the people are free to cast their decisive votes. Landslide victories are achieved by states with high amounts of control over their populations or where there is a huge imbalance between the parties/policies on offer. Just look at the results of the US elections by state and the nation, elections in EU nations and other national votes and the most free/democractic nations tend to have very close elections.

            Like the result or not, it's indisputable that the raw numbers in the vote are representative and do show a healthy democracy.

            1. SolidSquid

              Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

              You're right that this is how electons/referendums generally work. However I'd point out that framing it as an advisory vote rather than a binding one may have lead to a larger number abstaining from voting than would otherwise have been the case, as it's possible that people would have seen it as a pointless excercise and parliament would just do what they wanted to anyway (rather than blindly following it without even doing any planning prior to invoking Article 50)

              1. EvilDrSmith

                Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

                It wasn't framed as an advisory vote. The PM stated explicitly the result would be implemented. Parliament concurred. Therefore it was binding.

              2. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

                @SolidSquid

                "a larger number abstaining from voting"

                So the poor excuse for losing one of the highest turn outs in voting is that more would have turned out for your opinion if they thought it was binding, although Cameron made no doubt in his very clear statements that he intended to go through with whatever the decision was?

                "parliament would just do what they wanted to anyway (rather than blindly following it without even doing any planning prior to invoking Article 50)"

                The lack of planning was however part of the rigging of the vote. That is why it was such a shock that in such a rigged vote with the government directly threatening its own population to vote its way that the population voted in their best interests and didnt cave to government force.

            2. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

              Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

              Also, a 3.8% differential is a decisive one in an election.

              Er... Not according to lead Brexiteer Nigel Farage it's not. He said:

              "In a 52-48 referendum this would be unfinished business by a long way. If the Remain campaign win two-thirds to one-third that ends it."

              Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-eu-referendum-36306681

              The full context was in an interview with The Mirror (Original interview here) regarding a second referendum. So if Remain won by only a 4% difference, that would have meant a second referendum according to Nigel. But Leave won by less than that, and now we are bound indefinitely by "the will of the people"?

              Bollocks.

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

                @Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

                "So if Remain won by only a 4% difference, that would have meant a second referendum according to Nigel"

                I am surprised at how godlike the remainers see Nigel but I guess being able to bring such a massive victory against the odds will do that. Does Nigel have the power and authority of the government to bring about that second referendum? No.

                Instead he would have to do it democratically (remainers pay attention). He would have to try to get his party elected next time to government or be so influential to cause a winning party to campaign on providing a referendum (such as he did before).

                So if the remainers would like to next time vote for a party campaigning on rejoining feel free. Chances are we will have to join the Euro and lose the opt outs but then the UK will be back in the warm embrace of the EU.

                1. Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble? Silver badge

                  Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

                  I am surprised at how godlike the remainers see Nigel but I guess being able to bring such a massive victory against the odds will do that.

                  I must admit I scoffed a little bit when I first read this, however actually it rings quite true. Sold a completely unattainable reality and made people believe in it? Check. Told lots of scare stories of how bad the other side is? Check. Vanished in to thin air as soon as any actual work had to be done to deliver what he promised? Yep, seems exactly like God to me.

                  Does Nigel have the power and authority of the government to bring about that second referendum? No.

                  ...

                  He would have to try to get his party elected next time to government or be so influential to cause a winning party to campaign on providing a referendum (such as he did before).

                  So did he have the power or didn't he? Anyway, that's missing the point. When a leading figure campaigning for Brexit states publicly and loudly that a small margin of victory for his opponents wouldn't be conclusive and would warrant another vote, I find it rather amusing that turning the tables on that argument means his followers (acolytes if you prefer, you brought God in to it after all) now scream down the possibility of a second vote saying it would be undemocratic. The irony is that a close result warranting a second referendum was a Brexiteer idea.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

                    @Rameses Niblick the Third Kerplunk Kerplunk Whoops Where's My Thribble?

                    "So did he have the power or didn't he?"

                    You cant follow the comment? He doesnt have the power to make another vote without getting elected. So for him to have another vote he would have to have his party win the next election or influence it by drawing support.

                    "When a leading figure campaigning for Brexit states publicly and loudly that a small margin of victory for his opponents wouldn't be conclusive and would warrant another vote, I find it rather amusing that turning the tables"

                    This is where I dont see the turning of any tables. I keep offering to remain to do as we would have to if we lost. That remainers parade as if they won something by not understanding that is amusing but not table turning. Nigel would have to get his party elected for him to present another referendum.

                    "scream down the possibility of a second vote saying it would be undemocratic"

                    A neverendum asking again what has already been asked because it gave the wrong answer waaawaa toys out of pram is undemocratic. As I said go ahead and do it democratically. Hell we had another vote which was unexpected with the last GE where the only party for remain was wiped out. You guys lost again. How many do you guys need to get the picture?

                    Can I also ask if this next referendum to change the direction already set will require a supermajority to change away from brexit?

                    "The irony is that a close result warranting a second referendum was a Brexiteer idea."

                    And you can go ahead. Elect a party to do so. At the next GE elect a party to go beg the EU to let us in if you like. Remainers should like that idea too. Be in the EU fully, no opt outs.

              2. Jamtea

                Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

                Do you really care what Nigel Farage has to say on the matter? Last I heard he wasn't the supreme authority on how our government is run.

                1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                  Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

                  Whilst that's true, it seems odd that people are so happy to accept "Cameron said it would be binding" as "proof" that the referendum, contrary to the law, was actually binding. Yet, Farage introducing the idea of a second referendum in the event of a close result should be disregarded?

          2. CN Hill

            Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

            If people can't be bothered to vote, then they'll have to live with the consequences.

        5. Mooseman Silver badge

          Re: Vote Leave fined for promoting Brexit

          "a. Scare the electorate with bogus stories of troops being deployed and food shortages.

          b. Sabotage the negotiations in Brussels."

          Yes, damn those reports by our own government, eh? Sabotage negotiations? Since our position from day one has been " we want everything we have now but don't want to pay (a miniscule amount) for it" are you surprised? No, the EU will not brush aside its core tenets to satisfy some rabid nationalist in the UK. Any negotiations should have been carried out in detail BEFORE invoking A50, yes it could take years to do properly. The current shambles is due to people demanding it NOW and acting like toddlers.

      5. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

        "Another vote would be good with a clear idea it will be binding and people having a better idea of what it means.

        I do not see why the leaver could object, if leaving is truelty the "WILL OF THE PEOPLE" then another vote should confirm this."

        The only problem with that is what if it doesn't give us any clearer idea? The polling numbers post-referendum are all within similar margins to the polling numbers pre-referendum so the likelihood of getting a clear idea is, in my opinion, a fantasy as the result will maybe be a 5% swing one way or the other. 53-47 to remain is as likely to be accepted by leavers as 52-48 is accepted by remainers, only now you've added distrust of referendums and the political classes to the mix. Do you then have a third referendum with best of three? An election where the Tories are a broken mess but still polling significantly better than Labour but with no clear idea of what you would get and the only English political party outright supporting remain was annihilated.

        Henning Wehn sums it up best on Question Time:

        https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jxtB8f4WcIw&feature=youtu.be

        Note that I'm not providing a solution here as things are a mess as they stand - the only likely political solution I see at present is the EU rejecting an extension and forcing either an accidental WTO exit (allowing political parties to ditch the "causes", hold an election and hope all goes well) or MP's to revoke article 50 at the last minute and face the consequences from the electorate. If the EU choose to accept an extension, the game of pass the political responsibility parcel will continue for a few more months. Or years. Or forever. Or it will feel that way at least.

        1. eldakka Silver badge

          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

          only now you've added distrust of referendums

          As the first poll wasn't a referendum as laid out in various ACTs, it was, legally, an opinion poll that the Government Of The Day decided to, after the fact, treat as a referendum, I would think holding an actual referendum, as per the laws regarding referendums, would restore faith in the referendum process, no matter the outcome.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

          That's equating it to a competition or sport where you have clear sides trying to win. Another referendum would be the exact same people (give or take due to new eligibility and non-eligibility to vote). Therefore a second referendum is just ensuring that those same group of people who voted one way or the other haven't now changed their mind.

          It shouldn't be looked at like a competition it is a fair choice. People do change their mind and due to have a much greater understanding of the outcome it could be fair to ensure that people are still happy about the decision being done in their name.

          Should, after meaningful vote 1, MPs have been told - you can't change your mind as you have already decided even though there is now further information (however light that was) on the issue?Should we cancel all general elections as the will of the people was met in 2016 therefore there can't be another attempt to choose another government? Should the Conservative vote of confidence in their leader have been allowed as they had already chosen Theresa May when Cameron left - why should they get another chance?

          If this truly is ensuring that this is being done in the name of the will of the people, such a monumental decision, having a check that it still is the will should be warmly welcomed.

          1. Jamtea

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

            How many times does it have to be done though? Does a vote for remain just count as a draw so we go best out of three? Do we just wait long enough for enough leave voters to die before the issue can be redressed onto a fresh electorate? Do we wait for voter apathy to take hold having voted so many times that their vote is seen as meaningless?

            John Bercow actually made a very good point in parliament in reference to May bringing her deal to vote multiple times, the decisions made should have weight. What does it say to the electorate if the results of the first referendum are garbage canned? That their vote was wrong the first time. It didn't matter because of the actions of some campaigners? That they were too stupid to understand the decisions? That they're all secret Nazis and their vote should be discounted because they're obviously evil?

            I know many people who voted remain, and many people who voted leave. None of either side made up their mind because of leaflets, text messages or the sides of buses. Each of their respective votes should be taken seriously and respected as such. Giving weight to one group but not the other shows a lack of respect for the electorate and is indicative of the unhealthy narrow view of politics that seems to have pervaded into our cultural conversations.

            1. SolidSquid

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

              Given most people pushing for the referendum are pushing for one which is legally binding, you would just have one more which would be based around the clear options we have now. Given MPs voted out the option of a no-deal brexit, this would likely mean either May's deal or no brexit, which is likely why groups like ERG are opposed to the idea (rather than worrying about democracy), since they seem to want a no deal brexit and running down the clock is the only way they can get it now

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                @SolidSquid

                "Given most people pushing for the referendum are pushing for one which is legally binding, you would just have one more which would be based around the clear options we have now"

                Why would we need to? In the remainers sovereignty arguments they argue that our gov can ignore the voters and just carry on, so they are. If we need a confirming vote we have- 1 GE on a platform to have a referendum of out membership of the EU, 1 referendum with a clear winner, 1 GE where the only remain party was wiped out. Of the argument of changing our minds, it took 20 years to be allowed our opinion and we have (for those who think we had this vote in the 70's 40yrs).

                I remember after the vote many poor excuses to undo what has been done, all of them cancelling out remains arguments against the result.

                "Given MPs voted out the option of a no-deal brexit, this would likely mean either May's deal or no brexit"

                That makes no sense since the legal default is brexit. They have to positively vote for another action and they cant. We are relying on government incompetence to deliver what they should have been doing in the first place. The electorate voted out, so it is up to the government to deliever. Mays deal cant be pushed through thanks to Gina Miller who stopped the gov from running with whatever they want. So all this is legal and above board.

                "which is likely why groups like ERG are opposed to the idea (rather than worrying about democracy), since they seem to want a no deal brexit and running down the clock is the only way they can get it now"

                It is terrible the only way to get the democratic vote is to run down the clock. Pandering to the losers of the vote and refusing to get on with the decision is why this is such a mess.

                1. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                  they argue that our gov can ignore the voters

                  T'was ever thus. Or do you think that a majority of the voters wanted the hideous and expensive waste of lives and money that was the recent Iraq adventures? That they wanted Maggies Poll Tax?

                  And yes, under some circumstances I would expect elected politicians to behave in a somewhat more clear headed way than the electorate - especially when said electorate has been comprehensively lied to (like the famous 350m bus signs or the faked refugee pictures).

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                    @CrazyOldCatMan

                    "T'was ever thus."

                    They argue it as a positive- aka scrap the result and save people from themselves. Basically any approach to justifying the gov forcing remain can be used to justify leave.

                    "(like the famous 350m bus signs or the faked refugee pictures)."

                    Ex president saying back of the queue. Punishment budget. Carneys poor showing of the brexit predictions.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                  You can't use voting in a General Election to signify that a single issue has majority support. That's ridiculous.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                    @AC

                    "You can't use voting in a General Election to signify that a single issue has majority support. That's ridiculous."

                    Can we use voting in a GE and a referendum and the preceding GE result for said referendum? Or do we need one more just for luck?

                    1. Anonymous Coward
                      Anonymous Coward

                      Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                      No, you can use the result of the referendum as that was where the issue was voted for. Is it really that difficult?

                3. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                  > It is terrible the only way to get the democratic vote is to run down the clock.

                  Running down the clock gets No-Deal.

                  There's no evidence (either way) on whether No-Deal is what was preferred by the majority of leave voters (and it'd need to be a significant majority of leave voters in order to be the option preferred across all those who voted).

                  Based on the campaigning prior to the referendum, you can probably hypothesise that those who voted leave because they wanted no-deal were significantly in the minority. Certainly some of today's no-deal politicians stood on a platform saying we'd definitely have a deal.

                  So logically, running down the clock is quite possibly pandering to the "losers" of the vote - in that no-dealers were almost certainly the minority. Course, the term "loser" is a loaded term anyway, as the future of the country shouldn't be viewed as a competition.

                  1. codejunky Silver badge

                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                    @Ben Tasker

                    "There's no evidence (either way) on whether No-Deal is what was preferred by the majority of leave voters"

                    Actually there is. There was a referendum with 2 options- in, out. That doesnt mean we cant have out with a deal or something but the options are clear- in or out. The only out on offer or available to us is hard brexit because the EU have decided so (and that is their right to do so). So brexit was the preferred and expressed so result and so hard brexit seems to be the only option available.

                    "you can probably hypothesise that those who voted leave because they wanted no-deal were significantly in the minority"

                    And it is easy to hypothesise remainers are scared of their own shadow but that is a problem for trying to speak for other people. Instead we had a vote. On that vote were 2 very clear options- in or out. No hypothetical needed we have a quantitative result. Measurable and factual.

                    "Certainly some of today's no-deal politicians stood on a platform saying we'd definitely have a deal."

                    And it still looks like we will anyway even if we crash out. Worryingly the desperation to remain seems to have caused issues against such an outcome but still even after everything- if we leave without a deal we are on WTO terms which is a deal in its own right. But the platform of remainers was considerably false so the credibility of politicians isnt one I would want to try and argue.

                    "So logically, running down the clock is quite possibly pandering to the "losers" of the vote"

                    There seems to be a group of people who took funny math or just failed. Sorry but the majority (largest number) voted leave.

                    "Course, the term "loser" is a loaded term anyway, as the future of the country shouldn't be viewed as a competition."

                    Very true. Those who lost democratically should accept that loss.

                    1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                      Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                      > The only out on offer or available to us is hard brexit because the EU have decided so (and that is their right to do so).

                      That's an unbelievably disingenous statement. We're where we are, in part, because May set red lines (without consulting with anyone, how very democratic) that people warned were incompatible with the EU's underlying freedoms.

                      We (well, she) chose to seek a deal that simply couldn't be attained. Which, isn't really an improvement over the deal's that various Brexiter's claimed we could get either.

                      > No hypothetical needed we have a quantitative result. Measurable and factual.

                      We do indeed have a result. What we did was took an incredibly complex subject, boiled it down to a simplified binary choice and then let politicians talk complete bollocks (both sides - I'll never forget Osbourne's smug face as he said he'd have to call an emergency budget. Cunt).

                      We've got a measurable result, and it's a fact that the result is what it was, but that does not mean it was a sound result.

                      > Worryingly the desperation to remain seems to have caused issues against such an outcome but still even after everything

                      Again, incredibly disingenous. Much of the issues have been caused by the warring factions (yes, that includes the Remain camp) within the Tory party, in particular. Along with a severe ineptitude on the part of the Government.

                      You think wanting to remain weakened out position? How about being seen not to have prepared at all for no-deal (I suspect you'll agree we should have been preparing from day one), to the point that we decide to have a show of power (let's have a jolly old traffic jam) and fuck that up. Not to mention the kerfuffle around non-existent ferries, oh and the lorry park that'll be used for no-deal Jams have unexploded *british* WWII ordinance buried on it.

                      People wanting to Remain has very little to do with what we've been offered, that's much more the result of preening ineptitude. Our politicians were too busy preening and posturing to actually show that we wouldn't end up desperate in a no-deal scenario, which gives the other side a shitload of leverage.

                      > But the platform of remainers was considerably false so the credibility of politicians isnt one I would want to try and argue.

                      Although only one side has been (repeatedly) found to have broken the law, I think we can agree that politicians on both sides lacked credibility. But you know what, if anything, thats more of an argument for double-checking with the population that this is still what they want.

                      > Very true. Those who lost democratically should accept that loss.

                      Conversely, those who "won" need to step up and own the mess. As a voter, you didn't cause it, but you did enable it. Despite the fact there were warnings, you sneered "Project Fear" and carried on.

                      Even if you ignore the "bad EU" conspiracy theories, our politicians are (and were) simply too inept to get this right, especially with the vote as tightly drawn as it was. For what it's worth, I suspect a lot of remainers would accept a Norway+ style arrangement.

                      At some point, some will probably start saying "this isn't the leave I voted for" - but as you've made very clear in your post, if you voted leave then you voted for this, and all variations of leave. So have the decency to stand up and accept that you enabled this mess. Stop finger pointing and trying to blame remainers and understand that a huge proportion of the issue has always been UK politicians, and you voted to give the inept fuckers more power.

                      1. codejunky Silver badge

                        Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                        @Ben Tasker

                        "That's an unbelievably disingenous statement. We're where we are, in part, because May set red lines"

                        Stopping the very things of being in the EU? That would be brexit.

                        "We (well, she) chose to seek a deal that simply couldn't be attained."

                        Very true. From the start she decided to please those who won and lost the referendum which doesnt work for polar opposite views.

                        "We do indeed have a result. What we did was took an incredibly complex subject, boiled it down to a simplified binary choice and then let politicians talk complete bollocks"

                        I did chuckle reading that. Not because I disagree at all, only because it sounds like every time we vote in politics.

                        "You think wanting to remain weakened out position?"

                        Absolutely 100%. How can brexit be negotiated by someone who desperately wants remain? And every failing (incompetence or lack of conviction) then touted as an excuse to cancel brexit. Brexit can be unilaterally and guaranteed delivered, hard brexit. Yet this government is voting against the legal default because they cant agree on anything. Hard brexit is our strongest (and it is scary strong) position when dealing with the EU and the EU have been pretty clear about that.

                        "People wanting to Remain has very little to do with what we've been offered"

                        Government wanting to remain has everything to do with it.

                        "But you know what, if anything, thats more of an argument for double-checking with the population that this is still what they want."

                        We all know with certainty that this wouldnt be a consideration if the vote went the other way. We would be told to suck it up, we would democratically proceed for the next election etc. Unfortunately we dont have that from the remain side, they want their result and they want it now. There is no argument to remain against the wishes of the vote that cannot be used against remain. We dont fact check GE. We have been denied a say after multiple GE promises. And this and the last gov have been so stitched up against leave we dont trust any of them. Remain is corrupt and has been for a long time. But now they cry they lost, and blame cheating!

                        "Conversely, those who "won" need to step up and own the mess"

                        Awesome. Kick out the remainer May. Hand the job back to those negotiating actual brexit (Davis). Even better put it in the hands of Farage and his lot who were the only ones to have a fully costed plan for all this. Instead we got a limp remainer making a mess and remainers crying.

                        "As a voter, you didn't cause it, but you did enable it. Despite the fact there were warnings, you sneered "Project Fear" and carried on."

                        And project fear it was every step and still is. How many EU supporters were supporters of joining the Euro? Cant find many now but anyone against the Euro was shouted down just the same as now, and we were right. Against all the crying children we were right. Nothing has changed.

                        "our politicians are (and were) simply too inept to get this right"

                        I am happy to accept we have an incompetent government. Hell I am hoping for it right now as its the only way to get what was voted for. But the EU is an incompetent government, so how does 2 inept govs improve the situation? The EU have made such a mess of this its been comical.

                        "At some point, some will probably start saying "this isn't the leave I voted for""

                        Remainers certainly would say that too. Both sides have their own interpretations of their desired outcome. I am happy to own my vote to leave, I am proud of it. It will be interesting if remainers or leavers vanish as time goes on (especially if the EU continues as it is doing).

                        "Stop finger pointing and trying to blame remainers and understand that a huge proportion of the issue has always been UK politicians, and you voted to give the inept fuckers more power."

                        Then remainers need to shut up by your own metric. They allowed such incompetent remain governments to sell us out too far and caused people to oppose the EU (restrict the blame to this country although the EU is pissing off its members big time right now) or failed to point out any positivity of being in the EU while leave could point to positivity in leaving. Remainers need to own giving away power to idiots in the EU who are in multiple crises due to their handling of politics, economics and diplomatic relations. Instead of blaming leave for their mess remain need to look at why they couldnt even get 50% support for their glorious project never mind great support for it. Inept fuckers.

                        1. Ben Tasker Silver badge

                          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                          I'm going to skip most of your post, largely because I sense we could probably argue for the next decade on it, as most of the remaining points are either opinion based or tangential.

                          But

                          > It will be interesting if remainers or leavers vanish as time goes on (especially if the EU continues as it is doing).

                          100% agreed. And for avoidance of doubt, if we do No-Deal, I really want to be proven wrong. I don't think I will be (otherwise I'd obviously agree more with you), but I'd be happy to be.

                          > They allowed such incompetent remain governments to sell us out too far and caused people to oppose the EU (restrict the blame to this country although the EU is pissing off its members big time right now) or failed to point out any positivity of being in the EU while leave could point to positivity in leaving.

                          That's not entirely accurate, but partly because it seems to be conflating the campaign with previous governments, so I'm going to split them out.

                          Campaign: I 100% agree, Cameron and co were so arrogant and sure they were going to win that they completely screwed it up. To the extent that I _almost_ view the referendum as having been theirs to lose rather that the other way round.

                          As you say, they focused heavily on the bad of leaving rather than the positives of staying. And people have short memories, so that tactic was clearly doomed to fail.

                          Governments: This is a lot more nuanced. Leaver's need to take some blame here too. It's a bit hard to justly complain of the EU's undemocratic influence over us, when we've not really been participating properly in EU parliament - instead, we've sent fucking UKIP MEPs over, who seem to turn up just long enough to film a short video and then leave.

                          Farage, for example, loves to talk about Fishermen, but fails to mention he was actually on the Fisheries committee, and just didn't bother attending (IIRC it was 1 in 42 meetings, over 3 years that he actually turned up to). Every Fisherman's problem that he points too he had opportunity to try and correct at source, and didn't even turn up. It's not like he tried and failed, he just didn't turn up to his job.

                          But, conversely, there's definitely some voter apathy to blame there. If we'd all cared more about EU elections then maybe those UKIP MEPs wouldn't have been MEPs and we'd have had someone actually working to push things in our favour.

                          As far as the UK Government's role goes, there's been some real cynicism. Things like pushing unpopular measures through the EU and then blaming them. I don't think that's constrained to "remain" governments. In fact, until recently, I'm not sure you can particularly easily categories governments by being leave or remain, because it just wasn't a question at that level. There are some leaders who were more EU friendly, of course.

                          > who are in multiple crises due to their handling of politics, economics and diplomatic relations

                          This isn't just an EU issue though, we've got plenty of that going on here in the UK too (as have other countries). Whether we now stay or leave, as a society we need to stop electing muppets. The recent rise in populism suggests that aspect is only going to get worse, at least for a while. That's fucking worrying in itself.

                          > Inept fuckers

                          As long as you're talking about the politicians, agreed

                          1. codejunky Silver badge

                            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                            @Ben Tasker

                            "This is a lot more nuanced. Leaver's need to take some blame here too. It's a bit hard to justly complain of the EU's undemocratic influence over us, when we've not really been participating properly in EU parliament - instead, we've sent fucking UKIP MEPs over"

                            To be honest I happily voted UKIP for every MEP election. They were the only ones who represented us. We didnt want to be there, we have no interest in being run by the EU and so their purpose was not to join in. Considering we were never allowed any other way to influence government policy over the EU regardless of promises it makes a lot of sense.

                            "As far as the UK Government's role goes, there's been some real cynicism. Things like pushing unpopular measures through the EU and then blaming them"

                            True. And gold plating EU rules when others just ignore them is another problem. The EU is unpopular across its members, we are just ahead of the curve in leaving.

                            "In fact, until recently, I'm not sure you can particularly easily categories governments by being leave or remain"

                            I dont think we can say there has been a leave government in all the time we have been in the EU. Our participation in the EU has been assumed from the start. Without support for being in the EU and strong desire to have a say we have been forced to remain. In no way does that help. How many times have we been promised a say in GE's? And watching our spineless PM's sell us out to the EU hasnt helped the cause anyway.

                            "This isn't just an EU issue though"

                            The multiple self inflicted crises are an EU issue. The EU is a global concern due to their mishandling of events.

                            "Whether we now stay or leave, as a society we need to stop electing muppets. The recent rise in populism suggests that aspect is only going to get worse, at least for a while. That's fucking worrying in itself."

                            Very true. Right now anyone can gain votes by being anti EU/Euro and the main parties are playing ignorant. If we want moderate politicians then the moderate politicians need to represent the people, aka anti EU/Euro. Instead parties considered extreme can make huge leaps in support and even be elected purely for opposing the project.

                            "As long as you're talking about the politicians, agreed"

                            Of course. UK and EU

                            1. Roland6 Silver badge

                              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                              We didn't want to be there, we have no interest in being run by the EU and so their purpose was not to join in.

                              But believed in the EU enough to want to keep turning up and joining in and taking the pay cheques... The Kippers really fell for it hook, line and sinker and still don't understand that they were being taken for gullible fools...

                              1. codejunky Silver badge

                                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                                @Roland6

                                "But believed in the EU enough to want to keep turning up and joining in and taking the pay cheques... The Kippers really fell for it hook, line and sinker and still don't understand that they were being taken for gullible fools..."

                                So they turned up and joined in? I thought the remain argument was that they didnt turn up and didnt join in? Maybe they were Schroedinger's party. But then if an EU supporter is going to call me gullible fool I am not sure it has any weight.

                                1. Roland6 Silver badge

                                  Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                                  >So they turned up and joined in? I thought the remain argument was that they didnt turn up and didnt join in?

                                  There are degrees of turning up and joining in: To be able to stand up in the EU Parliament and do his pompous middleclass Englishman act, Farage must have signed on the dotted line to get his pass etc.

                                  Now whether he and the other UKIP MEPs actually did or achieve anything useful (by taking up their positions as MEP's), is another matter. I suspect people would have had more respect for Farage and UKIP if they hadn't taken up their seats.

                                  1. Harry Haller

                                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                                    Ahh! Nigel Farage ..up there with the truly great MEPs such as Ashley Moat. Didn't there used to be a law against treason, or at least being a useless incompetant B*gger in representing this country :)

                                  2. codejunky Silver badge

                                    Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                                    @Roland6

                                    "There are degrees of turning up and joining in"

                                    And he turned up to the degree we voted for him and participated as much as that too.

                                    "I suspect people would have had more respect for Farage and UKIP if they hadn't taken up their seats."

                                    No chance. Either they would be nobodies and we would continue to be trapped in the EU or he achieved his goal and we had our referendum which resulted in leave. He then offered to help which was refused. Apparently he gets flack for not dealing with this mess too somehow.

                            2. Mooseman Silver badge

                              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                              "To be honest I happily voted UKIP for every MEP election. They were the only ones who represented us"

                              Always knew you were an idiot. Click.

            2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

              Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

              How many times does it have to be done though? Does a vote for remain just count as a draw so we go best out of three?

              If you take into account the first referendum in 1975, it's already 1 all.

              What? You mean it's okay for leavers to keep having referendums until they get the answer they want?

              1. codejunky Silver badge

                Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

                @Loyal Commenter

                "If you take into account the first referendum in 1975, it's already 1 all.

                What? You mean it's okay for leavers to keep having referendums until they get the answer they want?"

                I think leavers will happily agree that you can have another in 40 years if you like.

          2. batfink Silver badge

            Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave? @Snowy

            It does amuse me that Mrs May seems to think that putting exactly the same vote to Parliament time after time is an example of democracy in action, but any mention of allowing us plebs to vote more than once is denounced as an affront to democracy....

      6. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge

        It's amazing how it sticks

        My family voted to leave, knowing their backgrounds (pretty damn well) it made no sense to me but the shit these people threw around stuck. Even now when I talk to them, despite what has become apparent, they still want out. No mater what aspect we talk about, pretty much all their arguments came off the side of a bus; despite the reality being laid bear with only a few days to go they cling on to the great trade deals that will come and being a great power again. and maddest of all the fallacy that the problems will vanish with the immigrants. Right from the start it was easy to identify which side was project FEAR

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: It's amazing how it sticks

          while agree with your sentiments, I'm a little nervous about "laid bear". Perhaps you meant "beer" (a typical Freudian slip)

          1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge
            Pint

            Re: It's amazing how it sticks

            In my case a symptom of being dislesek, have an upvote and a bear. ;)

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: It's amazing how it sticks

              I'd prefer a beaver, hand in hand with Hare Freud...

        2. Jamtea

          Re: It's amazing how it sticks

          Should their votes not be counted because you see them as too stupid to understand their own decisions? Perhaps we should have a government IQ test before people are allowed to vote, making sure only the correctly learned and government approved citizens are given the rights to vote.

          1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge

            Re: It's amazing how it sticks

            Not at all. Unlike many I haven't fallen out with them over their decision, it was their decision. I'm just glad they and you were not responsible for negotiating international trade deals. But there's the rub, and the irony.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's amazing how it sticks

            The worrying thing is that, for want of a better word, some people genuinely are too stupid to understand politics (and are easily misled by snake oil salesmen) and there could well be an argument that a provable minimum standard of education and intelligence might be a good thing before being eligible to vote, except that would not be very democratic, in the broadest sense, and I think I would be rather uncomfortable proposing such an eligibility criterion.

            On the other hand, apparently there used to be (non-geographic) "University constituencies" where university graduates were able to vote both in their actual constituency and also as a graduate. Reintroduction of such might be a way to weight elections slightly in favour of (theoretically) the more intelligent views of the population at large, but, then again, you only have to look at some of those who emerged from (supposedly) the "best" schools and the "best" universities (naming no names, of course)...!

          3. Mr Humbug

            If you look at how most modern 'democracies' work, you'll see that they are actually designed to make sure that the 'right people'* make the decisions.

            * the way the right people are selected differs between systems and over time within a system - the UK used to decide according to who your parents were, then it was how much money you had and now it's either money, who you went to school with or which trade union you joined

        3. codejunky Silver badge

          Re: It's amazing how it sticks

          @don't you hate it when you lose your account

          "Right from the start it was easy to identify which side was project FEAR"

          Remain. The leave campaign while offering plenty fiction and fear also offered hope and promise. Remains campaign literally relied on no hope and pure fear. Even the government directly threatening us.

          Even your comment identifies some of the hope and promise of the leave campaign even if you disagree with it. Even the papers were saying how the EU sucks but we must remain to reform it.

          1. don't you hate it when you lose your account Bronze badge

            Re: It's amazing how it sticks

            I had no time for the papers or the buses. My opinions were based on history and the troubled world we're plummeting towards. Did you read Trumps son's piece today? If you don't have a hot water bottle I recommend it to keep you warm tonight.

            1. codejunky Silver badge

              Re: It's amazing how it sticks

              @don't you hate it when you lose your account

              "I had no time for the papers or the buses. My opinions were based on history and the troubled world we're plummeting towards"

              And yet you could identify which side was project fear. Me too, remain. And I justified it. I assume by your lack of rebuttal that you came to the same conclusion? And it was you who mentioned the bus, I mentioned the government directly threatening us.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: It's amazing how it sticks

            "also offered hope and promise"

            Hope maybe, promise - no way. There is almost nothing that was said that has come to pass. I quote "The German car makers and the French Baguette bakers will not allow there to be no deal"

            That well no French Baguette lobby that brings in millions of French Sticks on the ferry each morning for the breakfast tables of the UK population - even they couldn't persuade Emmanuel Macron to drop the 'backstop' for the sake of getting a deal.

            Project Fantasy I'd call it.

      7. TheVogon Silver badge

        Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

        Having another referendum would be a joke. What happens if we get a different result - best of 3?|

        1. werdsmith Silver badge

          Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

          Having another referendum would be a joke. What happens if we get a different result - best of 3?|

          People are now a lot more aware of the implications of leaving the EU having watched the A50 process for 2 years and facing up to genuine problems like the Irish border. It is much better to ask for an informed consensus instead of the nebulous concept and bare-faced lies that were presented in the original vote.

          If a second referendum was held, may of the people who didn't vote because they felt comfortable in the remain poll lead and bookie odds will turn out. A good chunk of the leave weighting came from the elderly, many of whom are no longer here.

          I would vote with the young because it is they who will have to live with it the longest and have the most to lose. Older folk with no mortgage and safe on their pensions think quite differently than those just starting out. "I'm alright Jack".

          The door will remain open in the future for any political party to campaign a general election with leave EU in their manifesto.

          Unfortunately for those young people, if leave happens it is not in our own destiny to rejoin, and the door is likely to be shut after this moronic debacle has embarrassed the UK and exposed us as being driven by our large uneducated and ignorant underclass.

    2. DougS Silver badge

      What I don't understand

      Is why you'd do such an important vote by a simple majority. Seems to me that you should require 2/3 majority, so it is clear that the population wants such a major change. What would happen if a few years after Brexit there's some buyer's remorse and a new referendum is called and rejoining the EU gets a 51% majority? You could end up flipping back and forth when you only need to win by one vote either way.

      1. Lee D Silver badge

        Re: What I don't understand

        This.

        If we put it to the vote, I'm sure 51% of the population would like to bring in a law that men should be second-class citizens, give birth, look after the babies, earn less, have to look fabulous, etc. etc.

        A simple majority is not sufficient to convey true support. ~51% of people would vote "People with birthdays on even numbered days get twice as many presents".

        The fact is that if the will is unchanged, another referendum is just perfect political confirmation that we're on the right path and people are happy. If will has actually changed, however, then how lucky were we to re-ask and start rolling back from a potential disaster now? For the country, it's really a no-lose situation to have another referendum. Trouble is, it's most certainly not a "no loss of face" situation for a certain political party.

        No different to the Falklands voting today whether they wish to stay part of us or not. If the true will has changed, but we never ask the question, that's cheating. If the will is still the same, it's just bolstering confidence that things won't change in the next few years. It doesn't mean "do it every five minutes" but a biennial double-check of a major, drastic, humongous political and economic move now that we have more detail rather than just a vague "let's leave even though we have never ever heard of Article 50 up until this point and have no idea what it is" is hardly a bad thing.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: What I don't understand

          Look at the situation in New Caledonia. France agreed to let them have 3 referenda (referendums?) on independence from France. They have already had two and voted no both times, but the margin in the second was smaller. They get a third shot in a few years time.

          1. Jamtea

            Re: What I don't understand

            True democracy at work, ask as many times as it takes to get the correct result.

            1. Teiwaz Silver badge

              Re: What I don't understand

              True democracy at work, ask as many times as it takes to get the correct result.

              Well, that's what Ireland does mostly.

              And before you cast aspersions, Ireland has more experience of referendums than the UK, which seems by recent to be a ham-fisted rank amateur.

            2. Lee D Silver badge

              Re: What I don't understand

              True democracy at work - People sometimes change their minds, especially when more information is available.

              If it's so important to you, you'll have researched and your answer won't change, so it's not a burden to answer again.

              I have a car, do you want it? Yes or No? Well come on, it's a democratic choice! And once you answer you're stuck with it for ever and ever and ever in a legally-binding statute.

              What do you mean you'd like more information? That's not one of the options!

              Why do you think that the "non-voting" portion of the population are like that? Laziness? Unable to grasp English? Or that they just don't have enough information available at the point they are asked to make an informed decision, no matter how much they desire it or effort they put in.

              You can't boil 30 years of trade and economic politics created by thousands of people from dozens of countries running to MILLIONS of words of legislature into "Well, yes or no, which is it?!" and then expect people to have to abide by that decision when it later - but not "too late" - surfaces just the problems that are involved that were NOT predicted by either campaign prior to starting the process.

          2. jy4Tho

            Re: Referenda

            'Referendums' in English. The word comes from Latin and is a (latin) gerund and therefore has no plural form in that language. Gerund does not mean the same when applied to Latin ad it does applied to English and English gerunds can take a plural form. That's how it was explained to me when I asked the question anyway hth :)

        2. Olivier2553 Silver badge

          Re: What I don't understand

          A simple majority is not sufficient to convey true support. ~51% of people would vote "People with birthdays on even numbered days get twice as many presents".

          As one born on an odd day, I will vote against, and we should win because there are more odd days than even (consider 31st January, March, May, etc.)

          Seriously, would it be loss of face for that certain party to admit that they may have rushed the things, that they could have done better? To me it looks like maturity opposed to stubborn childish attitude.

      2. eldakka Silver badge

        Re: What I don't understand

        While I agree with what you have said in principle, I don't think it would be just in this case considering the referendum to enter1 the EU (or EC at the time) was done under simple majority as well. To me it would not be just to use a simple majority to enter, and then require a supra-majority to depart. In hindsight (being 20/20), it perhaps should have been a supra-majority to enter as well.

        1 OK OK, to get technical, a referendum was held 2 years after the UK had joined the EC to determine whether the UK would stay in the EC. But the point stands that it was a simple majority vote.

        1. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: What I don't understand

          It might have been a 'simple majority' threshold, but it was actually passed by a greater than 2/3rds majority.

          That's a supermajority, even if it didn't require it.

          Any claim that the basically drawn poll in 2016 is the largest mandate ever is a bare faced lie.

          * Lies, Damned Lies, and Statistics.

        2. Citizen of Nowhere

          Re: What I don't understand

          I agree with you that it would have been better to enforce a super-majority in 1975. It would not have changed the result as 67% voted in favour of continued membership. Where we might disagree is that repeating past mistakes for no good reason other than you made them in the past doesn't make any sense to me.

      3. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: What I don't understand

        So you would do away with the Welsh Senedd then?

        Because the referendum on whether or not to create it was only narrowly passed.

      4. Jamtea

        Re: What I don't understand

        Is this the standard by which you would have all our votes decided? Nothing would ever pass, especially given that it would give scaremongering so much more weight. People seek comfort in the status quo, even if it is to their detriment, it's very easy to tempt people into the stability of keeping people in the safety of what they already know rather than the scary uncertainty of what they don't.

        If it's accepted as fact that leave made 'promises' that weren't factual (they aren't the gov so they couldn't make promises - they aren't the ones who could actually enact them), then it should be also accepted as fact that remain did engage in Project Fear. It was pretty much constant doomsaying and preying on the innate fears that come with uncertainty. People were told there would be no medicine, prices would go out of control, we'd not be able to travel, food would be scarce and that we'd become a 3rd world country overnight.

        Also, if the vote came out the other way, 52% remain, should we keep going until there is a supermajority for remain? What would we do in the meanwhile? After all, it could go to votes ad infinitum, but the turnout would never go higher. Would we be half-in/half-out whilst it's decided?

        One and done, simple majority is the only way to answer the yes/no question. 2/3 is just an arbitrary standard, plucked out of thin air. You may as well ask for a 4/7ths majority or a 5/9ths majority for as much sense as 2/3rds makes.

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: What I don't understand

          No, a supermajority should be required to LEAVE, because that changes the current status quo. Just like I'd say that if Scotland wanted to be independent from the UK they should do it by 2/3 majority.

          Going back and whining about what requirements existed when the UK joined is silly, if you go back far enough (i.e. 1214) you had a monarch with absolute authority so you could just as well argue that the Queen should decide on her own. You can't fix history, but you can fix the future in the present.

          I hate to think what the state of our Constitution would be if it could be amended by a simple majority in house/senate and states - given how weak in the knees Trump makes republican congressmen, he'd have become the first emperor of the US sometime last year, and had Mueller publicly executed.

        2. John Robson Silver badge

          Re: What I don't understand

          It’s not the standard for ‘anything’ or even for ‘changing the status quo’

          It’s a relatively arbitrary (but common) line for ‘irreversible action’

          We can create and remove a Welsh Senned. We can appoint and remove MPs, change taxes, change the amount we spend on the military, the welfare state.

          We can’t do that here, if we leave we cannot go back (in anything even vaguely like our current state).

          For that reason (the irreversibility of the action) I support a supermajority requirement.

          At least we need to check again now that people have an actual three options to choose between rather than a plethora of incompatible promises which.

      5. SolidSquid

        Re: What I don't understand

        Apparently the SNP tabled an amendment which would require a 60% threshold, which was rejected, but other than that there was no actual discussion about what numbers would be required to trigger anything to happen. It was after the fact parliament decided a simple majority was sufficient to push for Article 50

        1. DougS Silver badge

          Re: What I don't understand

          Well maybe someone needs to make a law that when a referendum is proposed that it must include the vote share it needs to get, explicitly state whether it is binding or not and it is not binding then state clearly it can't be used to justify what it proposed but only to see where public sentiment lies and a binding referendum would be required to actually accomplish the change.

          The US has the same problem when it sends troops overseas, there is almost never a clear mission statement, or it is unattainable (i.e. "wipe out Al Qaeda / ISIS") with no clear trigger for or plan for exit.

    3. TheVogon Silver badge

      Re: Dodgy behavior by Vote Leave?

      We already voted to leave. You don't get multiple goes until you get the result you want in a democracy. At least not before the result of the previous vote is implemented anyway.

      Just get us out. We don't care how. We will pick up the pieces afterwards.

  2. Len
    Meh

    Tsk...

    What's 40K to Putin? It's time for custodial sentences. Unfortunately all serious investigation in the UK is currently done by the FBI as our agencies have been barred from investigating the people in power.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Tsk...

      if I were Putin's troll, this is exactly the comment I would make, knowing people would rush to ridicule it (as I'm doing it HERE!)

      That said, I were anti-Putin troll, I would still make the same comment, because some people wouldn't pass the first-level bait anyway. So, win-win for all trolls to mention Putin.

      Anyway, as an anti-putin-anti-anti-troll-putin-anti-troll, methinks gospodin Putin didn't need to invest his 40K in this, we dug the hole ourselves (having bought the shovel). And we keep shovelling.

      There, trolls on all sides happy!

    2. SolidSquid

      Re: Tsk...

      Nah, you're mixing the Vote Leave campaign, which was the main one and fairly public about their finances for a political group, with groups like Leave.EU which also supported Brexit but did so independently and have provided no information on where their funding came from

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Interesting dilemma

    Do you delete a database full of personal data when you are finished with it or hang on to it in case its needed as evidence at a later date?

    Does anyone know what the ICO's guidelines are?

    1. Paul Kinsler

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      Hmm. I suppose you might weakly encrypt it (so that, if required, you could brute-force decrypt after some non-trivial but still feasible amount of cpu-weeks effort), and throw away the key. Then you could recover if absolutely necessary, but would not bother without some pressing legal reason; and after some appropriate n-year delay just delete it.

      But this is probably a terrible idea. Feel free to tell me why :-)

    2. maffski

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      Yes, the ICO insist you delete it as soon as it is no longer required (both in it's guidance to political organisations and in GDPR legislation), which leave did. Of course, this being bureaucracy, as soon as the ICO asked to see it it wasn't 'no longer required' and therefore this isn't a valid defence.

      1. richardcox13

        Re: Interesting dilemma

        > Yes, the ICO insist you delete it as soon as it is no longer required

        Correct.

        But requirements imposed by other statues and regulations also apply.

        Eg. just because you as a vendor to remove all your personal information (you've decided to never do business with them again), does not mean all your data will be deleted. For a start accounting information (your address on invoices etc) are required to be retained for a certain period.

        Consent is not the only valid reason for processing personal data under GDPR.

    3. IDoNotThinkSo

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      The ICO told them to delete the data, then fined them when they could no longer produce it.

      A bit Kafkaesque if you ask me.

      Surely the ICO wouldn't have an agenda here, would they?

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      In the case of the ICO it's give the company a heads up first so they can delete it before the police turn up (Cambridge Analytical) though that's prevalent through all parts of our justice system (Laptops and Rebecca Brookes) depending on who you are.

      When did I get so cynical?

    5. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      "Do you delete a database full of personal data when you are finished with it or hang on to it in case its needed as evidence at a later date?"

      That probably depends on what you think it would be evidence of.

    6. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      "Do you delete a database full of personal data when you are finished with it or hang on to it in case its needed as evidence at a later date?"

      From the ICO:

      The deletion of personal data is an important activity in data protection, given the fifth data protection principle’s requirement that “personal data processed for any purpose or purposes shall not

      be kept for longer than is necessary for that purpose or those purposes”.

      (source: https://ico.org.uk/media/for-organisations/documents/1475/deleting_personal_data.pdf)

      Unless the ICO issued a request to keep evidence in a timely manner (i.e. within 6 months of the complaints? Maybe less given the lifetime of the Brexit campaigning) I'm not sure how this should be complied with unless there are mandated requirements.

      Given 20 complaints out of ~200,000 people, and given the nature of the Brexit campaign where some people will have been signed up maliciously, the fine seems extreme...

    7. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      "Do you delete a database full of personal data when you are finished with it or hang on to it in case its needed as evidence at a later date?"

      Delete ther personal data when it's not needed, but keep a record of the consents for marketing activities, etc, for a bit. Not a difficult concept.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Interesting dilemma

        "Delete ther personal data when it's not needed, but keep a record of the consents for marketing activities, etc, for a bit. Not a difficult concept."

        How do you identify if a complainant identified by the ICO consented from this "anonymized data"?

        In addition, this was an organisation that existed for less than a year (approx October 2015 to June 2016 based on Wikipedia dates). I'm unsure when the ICO notified Vote Leave that the complaints would be investigated and it is unclear from my reading of how long Vote Leave were expected to hold the information as there doesn't appear to be any regulations governing campaign groups vs the rules for political parties that hang around for longer.

        If the information required for an email/SMS campaign is similar to other campaigns (i.e. name, address and e-mail address or mobile number with a few consent tick boxes for types of communication you wish to receive) all fall under PII and need to be disposed of.

    8. ivan5

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      Methinks the ICO has taken sides in this. Rather than being an objective organisation they have joined the remain side if the PM.

      It has even got a mention on the Guido Fawkes blog https://order-order.com/2019/03/19/vindictive-ico-hits-vote-leave-40000-fine-not-data-agreed-delete/

      1. Roj Blake Silver badge

        Re: Interesting dilemma

        Guido Fawkes makes the Daily Mail look like a bastion of journalistic integrity.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: Interesting dilemma

          Guido Fawkes reports facts that you don't like.

          1. CliveS
            FAIL

            Re: Interesting dilemma

            I wouldn't trust Paul Deaire Staines and Harry Cole to sit the right way on a lavatory seat, let alone tell the unvarnished truth. If they stuck to facts then that blog wouldn't be anywhere near as popular as it is. I know Paul, and have known of him even longer, and if you put your trust in him then more fool you.

          2. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

            Re: Interesting dilemma

            Guido Fawkes reports facts makes up bullshit that you don't like.

            FTFY

    9. Velv Silver badge

      Re: Interesting dilemma

      GDPR requires that you do not keep data longer than necessary, so Leave could blame the EU for not keeping the evidence.

      Except GDPR wasn't in force when they deleted it.

      And when did Leave follow the rules anyway.

  4. revenant Silver badge

    Bit of a pointless thing to do

    I never met anyone who was pleased to receive spam texts and I suspect most of the recipients of these would not have looked favourably on the senders, or their aims. So what was the point anyway?

    1. Paul Crawford Silver badge

      Re: Bit of a pointless thing to do

      Its only "pointless" due to the figures involved - add a zero or two to the fine and then it would have a bit more effect!

    2. Version 1.0 Silver badge

      Re: Bit of a pointless thing to do

      So what was the point anyway? It depends how you word the spam ... think back to the adverts that Facebook was showing everyone at the time and the big bus telling everyone that the NHS would be dripping in cash if the UK left the EU ... have you never heard of grooming?

      1. revenant Silver badge

        Re: Bit of a pointless thing to do

        ... have you never heard of grooming?

        Yes, but I've never come across an example of grooming that begins with pissing off your target.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Bit of a pointless thing to do

      "I never met anyone who was pleased to receive spam texts and I suspect most of the recipients of these would not have looked favourably on the senders, or their aims. So what was the point anyway?"

      When I recently moved jobs, my work phone was signed up for the Peoples Vote. I was getting multiple messages a week until I unsubscribed.

      Not particularly offensive, yes I didn't sign up but my predecessor probably did and it was easy enough to make it stop.

    4. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I never met anyone

      I haven't met anyone either, but then, I haven't met any brexiteers or lizard people, and yet, they do exist!

  5. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    It's OK

    Brexciters will forgive any crime. Even spamming.

    1. Jamtea

      Re: It's OK

      That's a false dichotomy. You can support the outcome and disavow the methods used by some campaigners... you could also be against the outcome, but be permissive of any tactics, scaremongering or lies told in the pursuit of either outcome (though that WOULD be odd).

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: It's OK

        >That's a false dichotomy.

        Just have a sniff around other website comment sections if you don't believe it.

        So long as someone is on the winning side of Brexit their illegal and morally dubious actions are forgiven. If not fêted.

        Tax dodging? Why not? Adultery? Pftt! Money laundering? Good on 'em! You think a bit of spamming is going to tip the scales in the eyes of these people?!?

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    40 grand to kill our country

    ... a piss in an ocean when you realise how many millions they'll make shorting on the british economy crashing and burning.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: 40 grand to kill our country

      > "... a piss in an ocean when you realise how many millions they'll make shorting on the British economy crashing and burning."

      Seems to be the tory strategy. Let a Labour government make progress for a while, then crash, burn and short the crap out of the economy when they get power back.

  7. TheProf
    Facepalm

    Content

    I wonder if the message read;

    Don't be stupid, be a smarty, Come and join the Brexit party!

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Content

      "vote brexit, get free pass to jeremy kyle show. 10 lucky voters will get to be guests on the show, revealing all their chavvy secrets for their 15 minutes..."

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    ICO corruption

    "The UK’s data watchdog couldn't find any evidence that recipients of the messages had agreed to receive the spam, as required by Blighty's electronic marketing laws."

    Because they deleted the database after the campaign as the ICO themselves told them to.

    The establishment is going after anyone involved in the campaign to leave the EU while ignoring the fact that the Remain campaign did everything the same, while spending millions of pounds more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: ICO corruption

      The company should still have been able to show that at the time they had a process and a set of terms and conditions.

      As the pre-GDPR guidelines said

      "In order for consent to be valid the individual must know what they are consenting to, the consent should be freely given, and clear and specific to the type of marketing being sent by the particular organisation."

      And it should have been a clear opt-in.

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    The willy the people!

    I honestly don't understand why these cunts aren't locked up in the Tower of London for treason. Boris, Gove and the rest of them.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: The willy the people!

      Because then somebody else would have to take responsibility for the mess.

  10. Rudolph Hucker the Third

    Instead of joining in the knee-jerk reactions, I look forward to reading the actual correspondence and evidence. Especially the part where the ICO told Vote Leave to delete the data, so they did, then the ICO fined Vote Leave for not being able to produce any evidence. As others have said, seems Kafkaesque and extreme...

    1. Loyal Commenter Silver badge

      I think it's fair to say that the consent data may no longer be in existence, but surely VL should have been able to produce evidence that it was gaining consent?

      Such as a copy of the leaflets they sent out that said, "by giving us your mobile number, you consent to being contacted" with the little (unticked) box next to it?

      I think the pertinent question is whether such a thing actually existed. I find it hard to believe that there would now be no evidence of it if it had. Much as I disagree with pretty much everything put out by VL, if the ICO has evidence that they were obtaining consent for communications, but now no longer hold the details of specific consents, then they really should have no case to answer.

      I reckon the ICO know this too, not being entirely inexperienced in being a regulator, so I reckon on balance, VL were asked to produce such evidence, and were either unable or unwilling to do so.

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    £40,000 fine

    The fine of this magnitude is meant to send a strong message and act as as a powerful deterrent.

  12. Potemkine! Silver badge

    "Vote Leave Ltd"

    The main goal of a company is to make money, so how does "Vote Leave Ltd" expect to make money from the Brexit?

    1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

      Re: "Vote Leave Ltd"

      Who told you that bollocks?

      1. Potemkine! Silver badge

        Re: "Vote Leave Ltd"

        Didn't you know that profit is the purpose of business? Waoh.

        1. disgustedoftunbridgewells Silver badge

          Re: "Vote Leave Ltd"

          My local rugby club is an LTD company. It's not for profit.

          The LTD is just a liability shield.

    2. Teiwaz Silver badge

      Re: "Vote Leave Ltd"

      The Ltd. for 'Limited' is limited liability*

      plenty of companies set up with little to no intention of profit. I.T Service companies spun off after bringing tech back into the parent from a bad outsourcing contract.

      * In this case also now wishing it also meant limited liability for poor and borderline criminal decisions.

    3. Tom 7 Silver badge

      Re: "Vote Leave Ltd"

      You are assuming the people who set up Vote Leave Ltd are only making money out of VLLtd. Many companies set up loss making companies so the liability dies with that company and not the momey making side. If you look at a lot of open cast coal mining in this company you would be surprised to see the legal liability for landscaping the open cast pit has somehow been sold on to other investors who can no longer be tapped for the money.

  13. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh you wacky English

    What will we do for entertainment when Brexit is finished (either way)?

    It's almost worth the fortune spent on no deal contingency plans - I know you saved money up front by not activating yours in January but the rest of the EU got the silly idea that the UK couldn't organise a piss up in a brewery and pulled the trigger in time for them to complete by next week. Almost.

    1. werdsmith Silver badge

      Re: Oh you wacky English

      What will we do for entertainment when Brexit is finished (either way)?

      The ramifications, mess, fall-out from it will provide plenty of comedy for years to come.

      Especially when those that voted for it find it whips round and embeds itself in their butt. They deserve everything that's coming to them.

      (luckily for the old folk that voted leave they won't be around long enough to have to watch their kids and grandkids struggle to pay for the deluded jingoistic mess they made.

      1. Roland6 Silver badge

        Re: Oh you wacky English

        >luckily for the old folk that voted leave they won't be around long enough to have to watch their kids and grandkids struggle...

        Given the young ones will be more technology savvy, wouldn't be surprised if grandad's pacemaker receives a cunning update...

  14. CN Hill

    "But it admitted it had deleted this evidence, along with the phone numbers the messages were sent from, and details on the volume of messages sent and received."

    As they were required to do by electoral law. "The reason Vote Leave were unable to prove it was specifically because they deleted their entire database after the vote as agreed with the ICO before the referendum."

    However:

    ' Meanwhile the Remain campaign – now in its third different incarnation as People’s Vote – kept its entire database from the referendum campaign and has continued to pump out messages to its database on an almost daily basis since the referendum. Funnily enough the regulators don’t have a problem with that…'

    https://order-order.com/2019/03/19/vindictive-ico-hits-vote-leave-40000-fine-not-data-agreed-delete/

  15. Twanky Bronze badge
    Headmaster

    Regression

    'The level of fine is noteworthy given past penalties imposed by the ICO against companies that sent larger volumes of dodgy stuff'

    If you perform a linear regression on the four example fines against the volumes of spam given in the article you get a fixed penalty of about GBP 33.25k plus about 3.14p/spam. Which puts Vote Leave Ltd's fine right on the regression line.

    Icon: I couldn't find the sad git icon.

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    why does brexit get compared to a divorce?

    if that analogy was true then the uk and the eu would have the opportunity to cancel brexit at any time, if they mutually agreed to do so. just like in a real divorce.

    what no-deal brexitters want isnt a divorce, but the equivalent of a shit parent that walks out on their partner, their kids, abandons the family home, stops paying the mortgage and tells the child that's away at uni there's no home to come back to. then somehow thinks the benefits of all these relationships will exist while they shack up with the next door neighbour - assuming the next door neighbour wants them in their bed and isnt more interested in working out a partnership with the family they just abandoned.

    1. Harry Haller

      Re: why does brexit get compared to a divorce?

      @ Anonymous Coward

      ...Thanks for that, sums up modern life in Britain for the average household perfectly! :)

  17. TV nerd

    Not the whole story ...

    Well they can’t prove they had consent if they followed the rules and deleted all the data after they had ceased having a use under the original purpose.

    This is the ICO playing politics rather than upholding the law. I expect there will be an appeal where this fine will be removed and the ICO pays costs - but the media won’t be covering this I expect.

    See Guido’s write up for a more complete view ...

    https://order-order.com/2019/03/19/vindictive-ico-hits-vote-leave-40000-fine-not-data-agreed-delete/

  18. Sulky

    I'll Cheer You All Up

    "Potential" Unintended consequences of the cluster fuck we currently find ourselves in. Another general election where Comrade Corbyn wins a majority, Scotland Votes for Independence & a hard boarder is implemented on the island of Ireland causing all paramilitaries to take up arms again as the international treaty that is the Good Friday Agreement has been shredded. (Can't think of anything the Welsh might do)

    Now, "That'll never happen" is probably not a great response given everything that has already happened this millennium!

    There, I told you I'd cheer you all up :)

    1. 2+2=5 Silver badge
      Happy

      Re: I'll Cheer You All Up

      > (Can't think of anything the Welsh might do)

      The Welsh seem to be channeling their Brexit angst into playing better rugby. :-)

      1. Sulky

        Re: I'll Cheer You All Up

        Another unintended consequence, that is a big enough reason not to have voted to leave all on its own, if the referendum question had said that would happen it would have been a remain landslide :)

      2. Harry Haller

        Re: I'll Cheer You All Up

        The Welsh are quite rightly keeping stum ... They remember what happened to Llewelyn the last

    2. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

      Re: I'll Cheer You All Up

      I'm surprised that Scotland and Northern Ireland haven't decided to become a state independent of England, and asked to stay in the EU. Problems solved all ways round - the border between the EU and the numpties who want to leave would run between Berwick and Carlisle, with no long-running history to cause major political problems. We could all then watch England slip into the sewer of the world and laugh about it.

      1. codejunky Silver badge

        Re: I'll Cheer You All Up

        @Intractable Potsherd

        "I'm surprised that Scotland and Northern Ireland haven't decided to become a state independent of England, and asked to stay in the EU"

        There were a few of us hoping the Scots might. Mostly because for all the complaining about England, England actually pays for Scotland to live as it does. Without England the Scots have a huge deficit and would have to apply to be the piddly little guy of the EU (which would be rejected for political and legitimate joining requirement reasons) instead of an actually influential part of the UK.

        Personally I was wondering how long Scotland could tolerate being knocked about and run down as a tiny desperate member of the EU instead of their much better position in the UK.

  19. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Meaningless votes

    That's what we need more of.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    "... deleted all evidence to prove it"

    Well that's what the Russians would say.

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