I confess I found it difficult to get worked up about the Cambridge Analytica affair. My reactions was “What awful people. But surely everybody realises that is what Facebook does?”. It seemed to me hardly news, on top of which the most likely outcome is that it will be used as yet another excuse to introduce government controls on the internet and clamp down on dissenting views like those on this website, where 85% of all traffic comes through Facebook or Twitter.
But two nights ago my interest was piqued when, at the height of Cambridge Analytica’s domination of the news cycle, the BBC gave it considerably less airtime than the alcohol abuse problems of someone named Ant. The evening before, the BBC had on Newsnight given the CEO of Cambridge Analytica the most softball interview imaginable. If the BBC is obviously downplaying something, it is usually defending a deep British Establishment interest.
It took me a minute to find out that Cambridge Analytica is owned by a British company, SCL Ltd, which in effect does exactly the same activities in the UK that Cambridge Analytica was undertaking in the US. I then looked up SCL on Bloomberg.
The name which jumped out at me of course was Lord Ivar Mountbatten, direct descendant of Queen Victoria and scion of the family closest friends with that of the UK’s unelected monarch. The only person listed by Companies House as having “significant control” – ie over 25% of the shares – is Roger Gabb, the wine merchant known for large donations to the Tory Party. I have now spoken to people who know him fairly well who, I must note in fairness, universally say he is a kind and very bright man, but with no technical input in the kind of work performed by SCL/Cambridge Analytica.
SCL is as Establishment as a company can get. The most worrying aspect of this is that SCL is paid by the British government to manipulate public opinion particularly in the fields of “Security” and “Defence”, and still more worryingly SCL – this group of ultra Tory money men seeking to refine government propaganda at the expense of you, the taxpayer – is cleared by the MOD to access classified government information.
I then did a news search on google for “Mountbatten” and “SCL” and it brought up zero results from corporate and state media. I then did a wider search not just of news sites, and found this excellent article from Liam O’Hare on Bella Caledonia. It said everything I had been planning to write, and probably says it better. Please do read it. Liam has actually done this to me before, getting there first. I suspect we may be the same person. Come to think of it, I have never seen a photo of us together.
PS Everyone of my generation will remember this joke. “What’s white and flies across the sea at 300mph?” We had a more robust attitude to free speech in the 70’s, and the maudlin deference to the “Royal family” had much less hold on the population.