Remain Campaign Whistleblower Reveals How They Cheated and Still Lost
The first time Guido met Sebastian Kale, he didn’t yet have blue hair. That comes later. As does his mission to tell the truth about how, in his words, the Remain campaign “cheated” during the referendum – and still lost.
By the time Guido met the 26 year-old university dropout turned self-proclaimed tech wizard in person, we’d been talking on a daily basis for hours at a time. Over a period of months, the vegan teetotaller told us how he had played a pivotal role at the heart of Stronger In, coming up with an idea that was, as he describes it, “Craig Oliver’s mindf*ck tool”.
“Is it fair to say you hacked democracy?” Guido asked him one night. He hesitates. “9 million quid,” Kale whispers, his flesh impossibly young – his age glaringly at odds with what he has done. “I’ll point out that I assumed it was entirely legal and above board.” It was Kale who came up with the idea to spend £9 million of taxpayer’s money on Remain campaign propaganda leaflets delivered to every household in the country.
Yet it is the £3 million he spent on “digital promotion” that explain his demeanour when I find him lying low in front of a photographer in our newsroom: guilty, brooding, indignant, confused.
“We used the data that 3.2 million people consented to give away after signing up for the Guardian app,” Kale explains, “and we targeted our propaganda to the three key Remain indicators: people who liked Bob Geldof, soy milk and the CBI on Facebook”.