These days when you see an unexpected "come from behind" election win you need to ask whether the election was rigged?
When it comes to vote tampering Canada, well more specifically British Columbia, is the temple of the dark art.
The Observer's Carole Caddwalladr exposed these people who use military-grade psy-ops systems to cross the line between electioneering and electoral brainwashing.
It's a web that links Victoria, BC's AggregateIQ and a guy by the name of Chris Wylie with American rightwing billionaire Robert Mercer and his company, Cambridge Analytica, with Silicon Valley billionaire Peter Thiel and his company, Palantir, with the Brexit "leave" campaign plus the Trump campaign and, now, the Trump administration.
One preferred fishing hole is Facebook where people vulnerable to political messaging can be detected, identified and targeted. In this way informed consent can be powerfully displaced by manufactured consent. You don't have to hack into the voting machines if you can hack into the voter's prejudices and neuroses and thereby control his/her vote.
Now George Monbiot writes that it's urgent to get to the bottom of who may have rigged the Brexit vote, who bought the services of Victoria's Aggregate IQ.
"[T]he questions raised by Cadwalladr over why and how the different leave campaigns – including Vote Leave and the DUP – used the same obscure data company in British Columbia are crucial.
A decision of such significance, whose implications are likely to be felt in this country for generations, should be above any possible suspicion of manipulation. Knowing what we know now, I do not believe this can be said about the EU referendum. So do we leave this monumental issue to a body which – by its own admission – is constitutionally incapable of challenging a result, even if that result has been obtained unfairly?
No. Though I am a lukewarm European – a Eurosceptic remainer – it now seems clear that the credibility of our political system demands that Brexit should be halted until the means by which the result was obtained have been thoroughly investigated, ideally by a public inquiry. If the outcome of such an investigation is that serious breaches of electoral law have taken place, the referendum should be annulled and repeated. Is this not what democracy entails?
The fact that these wizards of vote manipulation operate in our own country should set off alarm bells for the 2019 elections. We cannot have free and fair elections that permit manipulation of emotionally vulnerable voters. Or we can do nothing and allow whatever special interest is willing to buy the election of their preferred candidate or party prevail.
What is your prime minister doing to protect your vote, your democracy?