The furore about Facebook and political campaigning has always struck us as being much more about the wrong people winning than anything else. When the Obama campaigns used this bright new world to connect with the young there was nothing but praise for the tactics. About the only accusation this time around that we think can actually be made to stick is that Leave were marginally better at using the new tools than Remain.
Yes, we know of the overspend claims and so on and regard them as marginal matters - for they are indeed matters at the margin - even if we're still awaiting more information about the other campaign.
However, that's not what actually worries us at all. Rather, what rules might be put in place as a result of all this? Which brings us to the truly appalling suggestion by Damian Collins:
Damian Collins, the Tory MP who chairs the DCMS committee, said that to breach an agreement to stop campaigning in Cox’s honour would be “totally unacceptable, and those responsible should explain why they did it”. Collins also called for a new “fit and proper” test to be introduced for those who run referendum campaigns in future.
“This happens with company directors and football clubs. There is a strong case for a similar rule for those running our elections,” he said.
The claim is that only the right sort of people should be allowed to run campaigns. It doesn't take long for the right sort definition to morph into "those who agree with me." We have actually seen this in history as well. John Wilkes had certain problems in being accepted as a duly elected member of Parliament for example. It's also not true that one had to be a communist to stand for election in the Soviet bloc. Several countries had multiple political parties - but candidates did all have to be the right sort, signing up to the basic primacy of communism and or socialism etc.
Rather the point of this democracy kick is that, if we feel like it, we get to throw the bastards out without the requirement of a bloody revolution. The limitation of entry into such bastardy to only the right sort militates against this essential function, no?
We're a great deal less worried about whatever use was made of Facebook et al than we are about the proposals that are slithering out of the woodwork to cure the claimed problem. It all smacks much to much of the wrong people won so let's make sure that can never happen again.