On the referendum #24N: Actions have consequences

Watching SW1 these days reminds me of that scene in Citizen Kane when Boss Jim Gettys confronts Orson Welles (Kane):

Gettys: ‘You’re making a bigger fool of yourself than I thought you would Mr Kane… With anybody else I’d say what’s going to happen to you would be a lesson to you, only you’re gonna need more than one lesson — and you’re gonna get more than one lesson.’

Kane: … I’m gonna send you to Sing Sing Gettys, Siiinngg Siiiiinnnnngggggg… 

These guys didn’t learn from the 2004 referendum before 2016 and even now very few seem to realise that a ‘second referendum’ would, given minimal competence from ‘Leave’, be a mega-repeat of 2004 in which ‘the EU’ would not even be the main issue.

Remember: we won the 2004 referendum after starting 60-40 behind with no money, no digital campaign, no ground campaign, every force in the North East hostile, and with the campaign consisting of not much more than my girlfriend, dad, uncle and literally a handful of people. I think we spent ~£50-100k. We won 80-20.  (It was a training exercise that turned out surprisingly well.) SW1 ~100% ignored it, thankfully. The intricacies of the Regional Assembly were not central to how the campaign developed, just as the EU will not be central to a second referendum — it will be about YOU AND YOUR PARTIES, dear MPs, and if you think 2016 was bad, you will find the next one somewhere between intolerable and career-ending.

They didn’t learn from expenses or from 2008. They didn’t learn from Vote Leave. They need more than one lesson and they’re gonna get more than one lesson…

The Commons Privileges Committee has sent through two documents you can read below with my last email to them.

Last year Damian Collins asked if I would give evidence to his committee. I agreed. He faffed around for ages and instead of agreeing a date he issued a Summons thinking I would then have to agree to appear and he would get a decent PR hit from Carole’s conspiracy network. I told him to get lost.

After this farce, the Commons Privileges Committee asked if I would give evidence to them.

I agreed in early September 2018 but said that WE SHOULD ALL BE UNDER OATH TO TELL THE TRUTH.

They went dark for months until just before Christmas then replied that No, they didn’t want to promise to tell the truth and sadly they weren’t able to make such a promise(!) but would I come anyway.

We tentatively agreed 31 Jan and I stressed again that WE SHOULD ALL BE UNDER OATH TO TELL THE TRUTH and their arguments against this were laughable.

They cancelled the hearing in January and declined to reschedule it. After another 9 months of occasional emails, they’ve decided they don’t want to speak to me after all.

Their behaviour is similar to the Electoral Commission’s. The Electoral Commission found VL guilty of breaking the rules BUT REFUSED TO TAKE EVIDENCE FROM ANY OF THE VL STAFF INVOLVED IN WHAT THEY WERE INVESTIGATING. Their desire NOT to know what we did is so extreme that even after some VL staff hired lawyers and threatened legal action to force the EC to take evidence, the EC replied that they would spend taxpayers money fighting in court for their right NOT TO TAKE EVIDENCE DIRECTLY RELEVANT TO THE INQUIRY FROM VL STAFF. This, I think, partly explains why the supposed ‘police inquiry’ has gone nowhere. This farce has no legs. The EC trumped up some charges to keep Remain-MPs off their backs but they could not maintain their bullshit in open court with everybody, including the Zoolander ‘whistleblowers’, giving evidence under oath. Remember, the only entity proved in open court to have lied about BeLeave funding is the EC itself which was admonished for its lies to the media by the judge.

Obviously some of these characters genuinely believe in the global conspiracy. Some well-educated people are incredibly easy to fool with conspiracies partly because their defences are low — they think they are rational and ‘advertising works on thick plebs not well-educated rational people like me’.

Others see it as a way to campaign for a second referendum. As Adonis has said, the point of pursuing the conspiracy theories is to justify making it illegal for the Vote Leave team to participate in future referendums/elections — the sort of action against political opponents that hasn’t happened in Britain for centuries. Brexit-derangement is so extreme this sort of thing is now normal among high profile supporters of ‘the People’s Vote’.

My offer to give evidence to MPs remains open. As does my reasonable demand that ALL OF US ARE UNDER OATH TO TELL THE TRUTH. I hope they take it up but am not hopeful.


Coincidentally, dear MPs, the Vote Leave Standards Committee is meeting this week to discuss your behaviour since the referendum.

Some of you, on both sides of Leave/Remain and Tory/Labour, have tried very hard and made sacrifices in the public interest since the referendum.

But many of you have treated the public with more than contempt.

Our committee has greater powers at its disposal than ‘admonishment’.

The first line of its code reads:

With a gentleman a gentleman and-a-half, with a pirate a pirate-and-a-half.

Those of you who think you can get away with promising to respect the referendum result then abandoning this promise are in the ‘pirate’ category.

Those of you in the narcissist-delusional subset of the ERG who have spent the last three years scrambling for the 810 Today slot while spouting gibberish about trade and the law across SW1 — i.e exactly the contemptible behaviour that led to your enforced marginalisation during the referendum and your attempt to destroy Vote Leave — you are also in the pirate category. You were useful idiots for Remain during the campaign and with every piece of bullshit from Bill Cash et al you have helped only Remain for three years. Remember how you WELCOMED the backstop as a ‘triumph’ in December 2017 when it was obvious to everybody who knew what was going on — NOT the Cabinet obviously — that this effectively ended the ‘negotiations’? Remember how Bernard Jenkin wrote on ConHome that he didn’t have to ‘ruin his weekend’ reading the document to know it was another success for the natural party of government — bringing to mind very clearly how during the referendum so many of you guys were too busy shooting or skiing or chasing girls to do any actual work. You should be treated like a metastasising tumour and excised from the UK body politic.

Actions have consequences…

Ps. Dear Vote Leave activists…

Please get in touch with friends and family who you know are onside. Start rebuilding our network now. The crucial data to collect: name, email, postcode, mobile (full address if possible). If we need to set up a new entity — a campaign, a party — you will be able to plug this straight into new data infrastructure and we will try to grow super-fast. And it looks like we will need to…

Remember: we won last time even though the Establishment had every force with power and money on their side. They screwed it up because they do not have good models of effective action: they literally do not know what they are doing, as they have demonstrated to the world in the farcical negotiations. They are screwing up their attempt to cancel the referendum. Beating them again and by more will be easier than 2016.

Also, don’t worry about the so-called ‘permanent’ commitments this historically abysmal Cabinet are trying to make on our behalf. They are not ‘permanent’ and a serious government — one not cowed by officials and their bullshit ‘legal advice’ with which they have herded ministers like sheep — will dispense with these commitments and any domestic law enforcing them.

And next time we will not close down — we will try to ensure that votes are respected and the malign grip of the parties and civil service is broken, as Vote Leave said should happen in 2016.

Spread the word among those you know…

Committee documents Press notice 1490 and 1490 1-Embargo. 

My last letter to the Committee of 26/2 is below. I got no answer… [Update May 2019: Kate Green MP said in the Commons debate that I was wrong and she had replied. This clip was sent to me recently. I re-checked my email. She was right, I was wrong. An email was sent to my public email. Unfortunately this account is swamped by stuff and I missed it at the time. Apologies to her for this mistake but it does not change the overall story.]

Dear XXX

I’m at something of a loss with you guys.

I offered to speak to you last summer. You didn’t answer for 3 months. I suggested 31 Jan. You didn’t answer for a month by which time life had moved on. You then wrote saying you didn’t want to speak to me any more.

If you want to speak, then please can we actually fix a date and the MPs answer correspondence in less than geological timescales?

Re Collins’ letter…

He issued a Summons claiming the EC had said I could give evidence on the basis of what the EC had told him BUT NOT TOLD ME. The EC only told me that AFTER Collins had issued his Summons.

He says ‘there were clearly not at that stage any civil or criminal proceedings underway, only the ICO investigation, which was not within the scope of the resolution.’

This is garbage. The EC was investigating potential civil and criminal offences and notified various parties they would be found guilty (but not the press) and the EC launched civil proceedings shortly thereafter and referred supposedly criminal matters to the police. All this is now the subject of at least four different strands of legal/police proceedings (civil and criminal) and appeals and judicial reviews among multiple parties. My own status was and remains unclear — some journalists have told me the EC has briefed that I have been referred to the police, others say the opposite. The ICO has implied I have not but this is only implicit, not explicit.

I was told by lawyers representing various parties that I should not give evidence until the EC report was published and it became clear who was being found guilty of what on what evidence etc.

I told Collins this and made clear that I was willing to give evidence as soon as the multiple lawyers gave the all clear.

Collins, after going silent for months in response to my letter offering to give evidence, refused to agree a date and preferred to issue a Summons after making claims about the EC’s view on me that they had told him but not me.

He clearly prioritised headlines over truth-seeking.

FYI I have answered all questions put to me by the EC and ICO without preconditions and without taking any legal advice as I have no need for it. Also bear in mind that the crucial members of Vote Leave staff who actually know what happened with BeLeave have all requested to be interviewed by the EC and have all been refused. THE EC HAS REFUSED TO QUESTION US! Also please note that Vote Leave only made donations to BeLeave in the first place because the EC itself said this was lawful — and they are currently fighting a judicial review to defend their original advice to us as lawful! Also, only one party has been proved  in court to have lied about all this — the EC itself which claimed for months it had NOT given us permission then had to admit it had in the High Court.

If your committee prioritises truth-seeking, then we can agree a date for me to answer questions — ideally with us all under oath to tell nothing but the truth.

If MPs would prefer not to do this, and prefer instead not to ask me what really happened, it will be further evidence for the public that many MPs have no intention of respecting their solemn promises to respect the referendum and they are instead engaged in a campaign to try to legitimise MPs and officials refusing to obey the result of elections.


Best wishes


48 thoughts on “On the referendum #24N: Actions have consequences

  1. As you say, excising a cancer, but this is too far gone. The cancer in politics , finance etc has spread and is now terminal. There is no political solution.


  2. Good luck, sad to see how much energy is used to pursue unfair attacks.

    Off topic, but from the essays you have published and your thoughts on high performing organisations (and their opposite) this is a very short and interesting book
    Inadequate Equilibria: Where and How Civilizations Get Stuck


  3. I’ve wondered ever since the Brexit negotiations began going so obviously off the rails: who exactly did you /think/ was going to carry them out Dominic? It seemed likely from the outset that it would end up being the same set of chancers & blowhards that you spend so much time laying into here, yet the Brexit masterplan never seems to have had any kind of post-referendum organisation in place to head them off.

    Was this simply an oversight that came back to bite everyone? Or was there a plan that failed for unforeseeable reasons?


  4. At a time of such chaos and betrayal when believers in Brexit are close to despair it has lifted my hopes and spirits to read this blog…. let us not be beaten.
    BTW I received a plea for cash from the Conservative Party today, I will tell them where to go and put my money to a cause I believe in.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Please count me in to a Brexit party. I intend standing abgainst Phillip Lee in Bracknell. I’ll pay deposit etc


  6. How can I help you? Would be an honour to work with you.

    Theme : Roger daltry. Won’t get fooled again. Old Boss, same as the new boss.

    This isn’t a referendum, it’s a revolution

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Good on you Mr.Cummings. Email supplied, please contact me via email for my other details you might require- address, mobile etc.

    Happy to help in any way.


  8. Many good people wish to make a stand in favour of your thrust. I can place my trust in it as well. There will be new battles to be had I fear. Wish you well.


  9. Dom,

    Regardless of your intentions, your role in the VoteLeave campaign is frankly abhorrent. Yes, actions have consequences. But in this case, the entire country is facing the negative consequences of your irresponsible actions. Three points:

    1. Please watch your own YouTube video in which you proudly detail your strategy of using public disenchantment to generate an anti EU, anti expert rhetoric. This was pure manipulation. You weren’t selling makeup, you were playing with the future of a country.

    2. On the point of experts, given your personal experience with parliament/ politicians and the establishment, WHY did you not foresee the manner in Brexit process would be handled? Or did you expect the country to be thrown into crisis, but not care?

    3. Shame on you for not understanding that your divisive campaign of ‘us vs them’ would destroy the social fabric of the country. You claimed to be working for the ‘disenfranchised’, but you have only created a new group of those who feel silenced. The 48% that have been treated as invisible ‘losers’ since the referendum.

    There are many other things I could point out but you know what you did. And you are surely watching the consequences…

    Separately, despite my above views, I find you far more credible than most politicians, as you tend to rant and say exactly what you mean (I regular read your blog). Therefore, why are you not standing up for yourself regarding your ‘contempt of parliament’ charge? Why are you letting these self serving politicians use you to hide their own incompetence? Why aren’t you fighting ‘the establishment’? You would have more support than you believe. From rational, unbiased people like me.

    Finally, thank you for all your hard work. I truly appreciate the information and insights on your blog.

    Best wishes for the future,


    PS. Plse excuse typos. Using my phone.

    Liked by 4 people

  10. Thanks, Dominic. You’re giving hope to the millions of quiet voices who understand what’s at stake here. Democracy is a priceless commodity that should never be bargained away for pecuniary expediency.


  11. Thanks for your hard work Dominic. Please feel free to email me at my supplied address if I can help in some way,



  12. Tony Green
    I simply cannot believe what has been happening these last 2 years I voted
    leave just has you did and truly expected to be leaving on the 29th, but here we
    are in the in the biggest mess I have ever seen politically in my life ???????
    17.4 million said let’s get out and here we are with a bunch of MPs without
    a thought for the leave vote thinking they can walk all over us this is
    simply not on!!!!!!!!!?????? What on earth are we to do.!!!!!!!!!!!
    What a BLOODY MESS ?


  13. I’m not pro-Brexit but this absolutely nails it:

    “Remember: we won last time even though the Establishment had every force with power and money on their side. They screwed it up because they do not have good models of effective action: they literally do not know what they are doing, as they have demonstrated to the world in the farcical negotiations.”

    Liked by 1 person

  14. Happy to rejoin any leave organisation.
    I am so angry at remoaners, Parliament, MPs and both parties. It’s clear we now need to reform Parliament starting with abolishing Lord Remoanis’ place of rest; the HoL. Plus make MPs accountable.
    Count me in


  15. Bar membership to anyone who has been a UKIP or Tory candidate in the last 10 years. This would bar many people I respect and make it harder for a party to get going at the start, but people like Farage and JRM are too decisive and would turn too many people off.


  16. The biggest mistake we all made was assuming that because we had actually won the referendum, and the people had given their instruction to leave, our *representatives* would, well *represent* us. Turns out, as you say, the political class have learned nothing and are still the same old bunch of grubby, self-serving, liars and sophists that they always were. Time we took back control not just from the EU, but also from those who claim, falsely, to represent the people who put them there. Sign me up to whatever it is you’re planning – i’m in 🙂


  17. I’m with you vote leave all the way wonder what it would have been like if we had a soft Brexit what would that entail??????


  18. Dominic Thanks for your very interesting letter which appalls me: you have my support. Chris Everett GU31 4PN

    PS Fin is this letter going to our group ?

    On Wed, 27 Mar 2019, 18:57 Dominic Cummings’s Blog, wrote:

    > dominiccummings posted: “Watching SW1 these days reminds me of that scene > in Citizen Kane when Boss Jim Gettys confronts Orson Welles (Kane): Gettys: > ‘You’re making a bigger fool of yourself than I thought you would Mr > Kane… With anybody else I’d say what’s going to happen to y” >


  19. …. except that having spoken to Suzanne Evans last night at a Leavers Of Britain gathering in London, the concern is the number of ego’s at play in the potential top tranche of any Leave campaign. Farage is felt to be unmanageable, and I am sure that a guy with DC’s intellect is not short of self belief either, and he and Matthew Elliott would not work with Farage.

    Can these people, who, if united, would be such a powerful force, not see that this thing is bigger than all of them?

    We had UKIP, Voteleave, Leave.EU, LabourLeave, Peter Bone’s G rassroots O ut … and got 17.4 Mln votes.
    Just think how many we can get if all were united!!!

    This thing is bigger than all of us.


  20. The concern is that the choice in a referendum will be between May’s deal and remain – a total establishment stitch up. What could we do about that?


  21. Have you considered using Parliament’s own rules? Why not report Damian Collins to the Parliamentary authorities for misconduct and disrepute, e.g. mispresenting the contents of your correspondence, not responding to correspondence in a timely fashion, refusing to allow all parties to speak under oath without good cause, abusing his authority as a select committee chairman and an MP, bringing both those offices into disrepute.


  22. Dominic, with regard to the need for a “new” party, what is your view of the SDP, who have come out firmly and vocally for a prompt, “WTO” Brexit? Thanks


  23. I posted a few Vote Leave leaflets in 2016, regretted that it left the stage after the referendum and have been dying for a party to reflect the reality that working people in the kind of town I grew up in (massive Labour majority) are way to the left of Corbyn on things like corporate tax the NHS and banker bonuses and way to the right of Genghis Khan on defence, education and law and order. They like immigrants but don’t like their towns radically changing in no time at all due to mass immigration. They don’t like benefit scroungers. They like low tax. They admire earned wealth and distrust unearned wealth. They hate public health activists. They hate terrorists. They hate dumb political tribal loyalty. Places like London, Brighton and Bristol might as well be on Saturn. Parties should form policies which people want, it’s that simple. The old left/right stuff is an ancient anachronism. There are umpteen million votes waiting to be hoovered up from such people. Bring it on. It’s well and truly time. I’m in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Cumulo,

      I think most real people have a la carte tastes when it comes to political policies now and dont follow tribal party lines, or simplistic left/right stereotypes. On that you are correct.

      I think you get a few things wrong, based on my own gut feel talking to a lot of people in the kinds of town you are discussing. For instance I dont think the unquestioning support for the NHS is anything like as strong among the voters as the media and elite think, sure people want a good state backed insurance for the healthcare, but the random nature of the rationing, postcode lottery, lack of patient choice, poor conditions, out of date treatment approaches, and sheer top down we know best arrogance of the NHS have no support. A system where non of the politicians are prepared to openly say we should consider the “best of the rest” of the worlds healthcare systems is obviously flawed. Its all part of the small narrow way political candidates are selected, and the sheer amount of ongoing pro NHS propaganda in this country. I think someone speaking from the heart, who has real experience of the poor service the NHS delivers, and has seen the systems elsewhere, could easily make the case for change and could easily win mass support. Real parties for change would be exploring that.

      Indeed more power to the individual citizen would be a good campaigning slogan, in healthcare, but also in social housing provision, in school allocation, and so much more. The state takes far too many decisions for far too many of us, and the people in the bubble who dont realise how bad it can be.

      Anyways I know Dom wont let this through moderation, as he never allows anything critical of the NHS (or maybe he just doesnt like me), but in the unlikely event you do get to see this very good points and good luck…


  24. Sorry Dominic,
    But I have to ask… In your opinion, did leave voters truly vote for a no- deal Brexit? None of the politicians claiming this to be the case seem to understand people’s motivations; you’re the best chance of us ever learning the truth.

    Also if these irresponsible MPs are lying, could you please do everyone a favor and call them out publicly?

    Would truly appreciate your view as if you agree it’s what people (understanding the consequences) voted for, my opinions would change drastically.

    Many thanks in advance


    Liked by 1 person

  25. Dominic, where are you???

    A No Deal Brexit is NOT what you campaigned for. You wanted more funding for science and the NHS. You wanted something that was fair and positive for the ENTIRE country. You wanted to eliminate the extremists.

    Please look at where we are! You’re losing everything you believe in. The ‘true Brexiters’ want no deal and economic damage. They claim it’s what voters wanted. You know better. The extremists, UKIP and Nigel Farage are inciting violence.

    PLEASE DON’T TURN YOUR BACK ON US RIGHT NOW. Everything YOU believe in is at risk. PLEASE call these liars out before they destroy everything.

    PS. I didn’t vote, would prefer to remain (on current economics) but will support any fight to leave, if you just get us out of this mess. Please don’t let the fanatics or extremists lie on your behalf. SAY SOMETHING!!!


  26. Dominic,

    How refreshing the content on this blog is. Clear headed analysis of where we are and how our warped systems and processes have got us here. It’s pretty simple on the outside but rare in reality to actually attempt to open the bonnet of how we should go about mapping society’s interactions and harnessing the nations potential rather than hacking away with the same old blunt tools (taxing less, taxing more, selective schools/non selective schools/free healthcare at source) . I am tired of hearing politicians trot out the same lines and ideas on how to solve their in moment pr problem rather than implement and execute effective change. (Hammond continuing to harp on about how he can afford tax cuts which solve none of our underlying structural issues by claiming a ‘brexit dividend’ while at the same time stuffing the eu’s pockets with 39bn.

    My question is how did we get so far divorced from looking at underlying drivers of the uk’s performance (across fields) and towards slapping a slogan and a sticking plaster on issues (or worse denial) and calling that effective governance? My feeling is that issues and language has been weaponised to such a degree that as soon as we hear buzzwords such as hard brexit, austerity, NHS people file away the entire discourse under quick mental paraphrases (bastard, Tory, hierarchy, angels etc etc) rather than looking at the mechanics of any of these terms or how they interrelate. Has it always beeen this way? or is that just the human condition. I hope not. Given the current state of affairs which have been laid bare with the debacle of this brexit non negotiation we seem doomed to be in a constant struggle of arguing over the inherent political emotion any of these systems rather than actually setting us up under a cogent over arching motive which might better the nation.




  27. I would welcome the chance the work with you—even if it must necessarily be on a part-time basis. I am a graphic designer and web developer, and more than happy to donate my time.



  28. Major problem with your post – you underestimate the apathy of leavers who voted in 2016 and won’t see the point in voting again. Look at the Newport turnout as a signal. Also foresee increased engagement from the remain community who didn’t vote last time and don’t want to make the same mistake twice, especially students. The tories are bust and beyond saving. Would happily put my time and energy into a new political vehicle.


  29. The Brexit Party appears to have rather overtaken this article.
    Whatever you think about Farage he has caught the moment once again and he looks to be carrying less UKIP-nuttery baggage than last time.
    But add me to your list.
    Please,anything rather than the current malaise.


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