The DCMS Select Committee has just sent me the following letter.
Here is my official reply…
Dear Damian et al
As you know I agreed to give evidence.
In April, I told you I could not do the date you suggested. On 12 April I suggested July.
You ignored this for weeks.
On 3 May you asked again if I could do a date I’d already said I could not do.
I replied that, as I’d told you weeks earlier, I could not.
You then threatened me with a Summons.
On 10 May, Collins wrote:
We have offered you different dates, and as I said previously we are not prepared to wait until July for you to give evidence to the committee. We have also discussed this with the Electoral Commission who have no objection to you giving evidence to us.
We are asking you to give evidence to the committee following evidence we have received that relates to the work of Vote Leave. We have extended a similar invitiation to Arron Banks and Andy Wigmore, to respond to evidence we have received about Leave.EU, and they have both agreed to attend.
The committee will be sending you a summons to appear and I hope that you are able to respond positively to this
The EC has NOT told me this.
Sending a summons is the behaviour of people looking for PR, not people looking to get to the bottom of this affair.
A summons will have ZERO positive impact on my decision and is likely only to mean I withdraw my offer of friendly cooperation, given you will have shown greater interest in grandstanding than truth-seeking, which is one of the curses of the committee system.
I hope you reconsider and put truth-seeking first.
You replied starting this charade.
You talk of ‘contempt of Parliament’.
You seem unaware that most of the country feels contempt for Parliament and this contempt is growing.
- You have failed miserably over Brexit. You have not even bothered to educate yourselves on the basics of ‘what the Single Market is’, as Ivan Rogers explained in detail yesterday.
- We want £350 million a week for the NHS plus long-term consistent funding and learning from the best systems in the world and instead you funnel our money to appalling companies like the parasites that dominate defence procurement.
- We want action on unskilled immigration and you give us bullshit promises of ‘tens of thousands’ that you don’t even believe yourselves plus, literally, free movement for murderers, then you wonder why we don’t trust you.
- We want a country MORE friendly to scientists and people from around the world with skills to offer and you give us ignorant persecution that is making our country a bad joke.
- We want you to take money away from corporate looters (who fund your party) and fund science research so we can ‘create the future’, and you give us Carillion and joke aircraft carriers.
- We want to open government to the best people and ideas in the world and you keep it a closed dysfunctional shambles that steals our money and keeps power locked within two useless parties and a closed bureaucracy that excludes ~100% of the most talented people. We want real expertise and you don’t even think about what that means.
- You spend your time on this sort of grandstanding instead of serving millions of people less fortunate than you and who rely on you.
If you had wanted my evidence you would have cooperated over dates.
You actually wanted to issue threats, watch me give in, then get higher audiences for your grandstanding.
I’m calling your bluff. Your threats are as empty as those from May/Hammond/DD to the EU. Say what you like, I will not come to your committee regardless of how many letters you send or whether you send characters in fancy dress to hand me papers.
If another Committee behaves reasonably and I can give evidence without compromising various legal actions then I will consider it. Once these legal actions have finished, presumably this year, it will be easy to arrange if someone else wants to do it.
Further, I’m told many of your committee support the Adonis/Mandelson/Campbell/Grieve/Goldman Sachs/FT/CBI campaign for a rematch against the country.
Do you know what Vote Leave 2 would feel like for the MPs who vote for that (and donors who fund it)?
It would feel like having Lawrence Taylor chasing you and smashing you into the ground over and over and over again.
Vote Leave 2 would not involve me — nobody will make that mistake again — but I know what it would feel like for every MP who votes for a rematch against the public.
Lawrence Taylor: relentless
So far you guys have botched things on an epic scale but it’s hard to break into the Westminster system — you rig the rules to stop competition. Vote Leave 1 needed Cameron’s help to hack the system. If you guys want to run with Adonis and create another wave, be careful what you wish for. ‘Unda fert nec regitur’ and VL2 would ride that wave right at the gates of Westminster.
A second referendum would be bad for the country and I hope it doesn’t happen but if you force the issue, then Vote Leave 2 would try to create out of the smoking wreck in SW1 something that can deliver what the public wants. Imagine Amazon-style obsession on customer satisfaction (not competitor and media obsession which is what you guys know) with Silicon Valley technology/scaling and Mueller-style ‘systems politics’ combined with the wave upon wave of emotion you will have created. Here’s some free political advice: when someone’s inside your OODA loop, it feels to them like you are working for them. If you go for a rematch, then this is what you will be doing for people like me. 350m would just be the starter.
‘Mixed emotions, Buddy, like Larry Wildman going off a cliff — in my new Maserati.’
I will happily discuss this with your colleagues on a different committee if they are interested, after the legal issues are finished…
Ps. If you’re running an inquiry on fake news, it would be better to stop spreading fake news yourselves and to correct your errors when made aware of them. If you’re running an inquiry on issues entangled with technologies, it would be better to provide yourself with technological expertise so you avoid spreading false memes. E.g your recent letter to Facebook asked them to explain to you the operational decision-making of Vote Leave. This is a meaningless question which it is impossible for Facebook to answer and could only be asked by people who do not understand the technology they are investigating.