Yes, "strictly necessary" cookies have never been a problem: the people who drafted these documents are not entirely clueless. Banners, such as those used on El Reg, do not constitute informed consent but are easy to copy. As this is how much of the internet works, this is why we see so many of them.
There is, of course, a problem with what constitutes "strictly necessary". I've argued successfully in the past that this can include statistics as long as the data collected is processed in accordance with the data privacy regulations of the website owner: this excludes Google Analytics, which Google provides as a "free" service in order to track people across websites.
Of course, in a "post-truth" world privacy can be considered as at best optional and, at worst, dangerous.