Carole’s conspiracies are a gift to Brexit

Why Arron Banks is wrong to try to silence the Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr.

Fraser Myers
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The Observer’s Carole Cadwalladr should be given an award. No, not the Orwell Prize, whose committee debased itself in rewarding conspiracy theories over actual journalism by giving Cadwalladr the award last year. And no, not the Pulitzer Prize, for which Cadwalladr was nominated this year – perhaps she pipped rival conspiracist David Icke for the spot on the shortlist? She should instead be given an award for her services to Brexit.

That may sound counterintuitive. Cadwalladr’s conspiratorial journalism is, of course, motored by a passionate hatred of Brexit. She has tried to blame Brexit on Facebook, on data-mining firm Cambridge Analytica, on Russian money, Russian bots, Russian disinformation and Russia Today. She writes of a ‘Great British Brexit robbery’, of democracy being ‘hijacked’ by ‘shadowy global operations’, made possible by ‘dark money’. She weaves webs of intrigue that connect a whole host of characters from Vladimir Putin to Donald Trump to Nigel Farage to Julian Assange – all of whom are apparently in it together to bring about Brexit. Cadwalladr’s work is littered with caveats like ‘we can’t be sure’ or ‘Is it true? Who knows?’. Nevertheless, ‘questions’ are always ‘swirling’: ‘Did Leave.EU seek to obtain foreign support for a British election?’; ‘Why did Vote Leave donate £625,000 to a 23-year-old fashion student during the referendum?’; ‘Could this be why Farage is ignoring me?’

The great irony in all this is while Cadwalladr believes she has ‘exposed’ the key to understanding and undermining Brexit, what she has in fact exposed is the mental and moral disorientation at the heart of the British establishment. She has been given awards from the Orwell Prize, Reporters without Borders, the Hay Festival, the Political Studies Association and more. Labour’s deputy leader Tom Watson (recently described in a public inquiry as a ‘patsy for fake news’ and a ‘vehicle for conspiracy theorists’) has hailed her work as ‘brilliant and brave’. That the journalistic establishment falls over itself to lavish her codswallop with awards, and the fact that Remain MPs cite her codswallop in parliament, tells us a great deal.

It tells us that many people who hold positions of power have still not accepted the referendum result of 2016, and will cling to any excuse to avoid doing so. It tells us how little they trust the public, you and me, with making important decisions. They really do believe that we are too easily duped by social media and foreigners to truly know what we want. The willingness of the great and the good to indulge in wacky conspiracy theories demolishes their credibility as serious political actors – and Cadwalladr has done a great service in, inadvertently, bringing these faults and failures to light.

Unfortunately, one of her greatest bugbears, Arron Banks, is now suing her for defamation. Banks is the pro-Brexit businessman who bankrolled UKIP when Nigel Farage led the party and who helped to set up Leave.EU, an unofficial Leave campaign.

Banks is a regular target of Cadwalladr’s, but two statements in particular have caught his ire. In June, in a speech delivered to The Convention: Never Again, Cadwalladr said: ‘We know that the Russian government offered money to Arron Banks.’ She made similar allegations in a TED talk back in April. ‘I’m not even going to go into the lies that Arron Banks has told about his covert relationship with the Russian government.’ For a while, Banks seemed to enjoy trading in a bad-boy image. When appearing at a select committee hearing, he made no apologies for meeting the Russian ambassador – nor for their six-hour, boozy lunch. But clearly he has now had enough of the constant questioning.

Banks is wrong to do this. Not only does Cadwalladr deserve to be defended on free-speech grounds – her right to write her bizarre columns ought to be protected in a free society – but on practical, partisan grounds, too. Her fevered ramblings – and the establishment’s embrace of them – are an absolute gift to the Brexit cause. Banks should take one for the team, and let Carole carry on.

Fraser Myers is a staff writer at spiked and host of the spiked podcast. Follow him on Twitter: @FraserMyers.

Picture by: YouTube.

To enquire about republishing spiked’s content, a right to reply or to request a correction, please contact the managing editor, Viv Regan.

Comments

Per Svendsen

1st July 2019 at 2:48 pm

Miss Cadwalladr’s is just a part of MSM. They get government support to spew out propaganda to make the 1% comunity get what they want. EU is all Lucyferians. they interfere in all lokal elektions. (Makron is not legitim as president) They even tried to overturn the last elektion in Italy, and like always, blame russia. No, blame couruption, Sorros-money and satanism (or Lucyferians, as they preefere) Luckyly enought, we have an east/west issue, were former eastern contry are rising, keeping their culture and they are safe. In west it it caos from Spain to Sweden. The axe are lawless, with a lot of no-go zones. Wages are dropping. Thenks for open border. Taxes are RISING. It is expensive to suport millions of muslims. The lyeing media always report imigrants make us richer, better and save our future. In Sweden they have started to blow up resturantes with handgranates, but MSM never say it straith. Always the sam, an explotion. No gangs, no criminality, but evryone in sweden got gov. info about what-to-do with explosives. I live in Norway, who is the less destroyed contry in west (North-west)But, I consider moving to Hungary or USA.

Marvin Jones

1st July 2019 at 3:28 pm

People like this disgustingly asinine woman, just like the spineless elite and liberal sensitive amoebas of this country, welcome back thousands of primitive jihadis from Syria who have committed the most heinous crimes on innocents, the very mutants who openly detest us and our culture which is being destroyed at the expense of theirs, then wonder why we are in permanent danger of being blown to bits every second of the day, every day.

Hana Jinks

3rd July 2019 at 12:12 am

@Per Svendson

Perfect encapsulation of what’s happening.

Hana Jinks

3rd July 2019 at 10:31 am

Sorry…Svendsen.

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Ven Oods

1st August 2019 at 1:29 pm

Presumably, this job entails no requirement for the ability to write in English?

christopher barnard

28th June 2019 at 8:40 am

The right to free speech is unaffected by libel actions.

We are all free to libel anyone we choose, but if we do we must be prepared for the consequences.

Stephen J

28th June 2019 at 7:46 am

I am quite partial to fantasy, so as long as we are all aware that Ms. Codswallop is making this stuff up, we can all have a laugh.

Indeed, the Observer might even increase its sales.

Jane 70

28th June 2019 at 10:35 am

Curioser and Curioser: Carole’s Adventures In Wonderland.

I’d like to see her do an interview with Martin Howe QC, the main man at Lawyers For Britain, who’s written a series of legal arguments and analyses in support of Brexit.

Jane 70

28th June 2019 at 6:11 am

Carole Cadwalladr has brought this action from Banks on herself with her ridiculous outpourings and for once I don’t agree with Spiked.
I hope Banks sees this through.
The Remainers’ obsession with sinister Russian players is redolent of the reds-under-the-beds fixations of the Cold War.
Why would Leave supporters like me, be influenced in any way by Putin, Assange or Cambridge Analytica, to name a few of her favourite bogey men?
Why won’t these tedious snobs accept that Leave supporters can be well educated, rational and perfectly capable of independent thought?

Scott Glenister

28th June 2019 at 5:31 am

Easy to say he should just let her carry on lying when it’s not you that is being affected by her lies. I hope she’s gets sued and humiliated very publicly.

Jerry Owen

28th June 2019 at 8:58 am

Couldn’t agree more, it’s easy to forget that it’s other peoples reputations and public standing on the line.

Jane 70

28th June 2019 at 4:00 am

Carole Codswallop has brought this action from Banks on herself with her ridiculous outpourings and for once I don’t agree with Spiked.
I hope Banks sees this through.
The Remainers’ obsession with sinister Russian players is redolent of the reds-under-the-beds fixations of the Cold War.
Why would Leave supporters like me, be influenced in any way by Putin, Assange or Cambridge Analytica, to name a few of her favourite bogey men?
Why won’t these tedious snobs accept that Leave supporters can be well educated, rational and perfectly capable of independent thought?

Hana Jinks

28th June 2019 at 12:08 am

It gives me the chills whenever l see certain people so loudly proclaiming “free-speech”.

Jerry Owen

27th June 2019 at 9:51 pm

A gift to Brexit.. yeah, the Brexit that is being bludgeoned out of existence .. wakey wakey !

Jerry Owen

27th June 2019 at 9:49 pm

Unfortunately most of the public aren’t as aware as most here. They believe this BS . Freedom of speech to defame .. there’s another article to be written there.
No . Like milkshaking, enough is enough time to fight back . I hope he bancrupts her .
Just how many bloody cheeks do we turn for the flawed belief that we are winning when we are being bludgeoned ?

Neil McCaughan

27th June 2019 at 7:19 pm

Miss Cadwalladr’s barely repressed fixation on Mr Banks, is, like all instances of stalking spinsters, ultimately very sad. It’s become an undignified obsession for her – I just hope she’s not neglecting those cats.

gershwin gentile

27th June 2019 at 6:52 pm

“Her fevered ramblings – and the establishment’s embrace of them – are an absolute gift to the Brexit cause. Banks should take one for the team, and let Carole carry on”

Only if there are media outlets that call her out on this. Remember CC writes for outlets that don’t want to have anyone pointing out that her Brexit position is slightly out of kilter with… um, the majority of people who mostly are lower down on the social ladder than her.

James Knight

27th June 2019 at 5:52 pm

Unfair. She may well deserve a Pulitzer Prize. For fiction.

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