I see that Guardian journalist Carole Cadwalladr is complaining that she has received death threats after writing what she, without any justification, claimed to be an expose of Russian meddling in the Brexit vote. Let us be clear: Carole is talking shite on the Russians, as she does on almost everything, as I noted here, but death threats against journalists are always utterly wrong. I speak as a journalist who has received death threats.
Natch the old Bill did sweet FA about those I received for having the audacity to expose Quindell as the Stockmarket's biggest fraud in thirty years - you need to be an MP like Anna Soubry or a celeb or shagging Tom Daley to get any joy out of the rozzers these days. And as such folks like Carole and myself have a sad choice: write about fluffy kittens and so be loved by everyone or expose things (or in Carole's case make them up) and get grief.
And so in every respect I sympathise with Carole and defend her right to carry on writing. But equally I should point out that she, Theresa May and others are just talking utter shite about the Russians and Brexit. On new media it has now been established that of 22.6 million tweets opposing Brexit, 416 came from folks who are likely to be linked to Russian agencies. Can anyone say that this is really significant? How many tweets went out reminding us of President Hopey Change's American intervention in Brexit on behalf of Project Fear? A stack more than 416.
I do not believe that many of the 48% were swayed by the Nobel Peace prize winning man, who did so much to make Syria the country it is today, with his interventions. But equally is it really credible to suggest that those 416 tweets swayed any of the 17.4 million of us who voted for Brexit? Yet Mrs May, the Guardian and other remoaners continue to state otherwise.
Carole Cadwalladr's big thesis is that Russian cash found its way to fund the Brexit campaign and the link man here is Arron Banks who is married to a Russian and therefore clearly suspect. Carole has missed out that my uncle Chris Booker who has written about the evils of the EU for three decades is also married to a half Russian. I suggest that she half implicates him too.
Admittedly the finances of Banks are mysterious. He did pump £9 million into the campaign yet his finances elsewhere seem stretched. Where did that cash come from. Let's go to the Channel 4 website:
In a statement, Mr Banks said: “The Leave. EU campaign was funded by myself, Peter Hargreaves and the general public . . . My sole involvement with ‘the Russians’ was a boozy 6 hour lunch with the Ambassador where we drank the place dry.”
In an interview with Banks earlier this year, the Guardian quoted him as saying that “we had no Russian money into Brexit”.
The journalist conducting the interview, Carole Cadwalladr, wrote that the comment “would be a perfectly reasonable answer, if he had been asked if Russia had put money into Brexit. But he hadn’t. He asked and answered his own question”.
I suspect that some of the Banks cash may have come from non UK sources - he has a number of Eurosceptic pals in the Isle of Man. And that might be an issue for him and it is right that his funding be looked into. But there is really no hard evidence at this point, or indeed any evidence at all, that Russian cash was involved.
In every election where the lefty establishment is threatened or beaten they now play the Russia card. And they do so without any evidence at all. In the case of Trump the smear is based on a clearly very dodgy dossier paid for - it has now emerged - by his opponent, crooked Hillary. In the case of Brexit there is not even a dodgy dossier. There is just nothing but assertion without evidence. But if Carole and the Guardian wish to write articles pretending otherwise for their dwindling readership that is something they should have every right to do without threat.