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Denzil_DC

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Current location: Scotland
Member since: Sun Sep 6, 2009, 11:57 PM
Number of posts: 4,953

Journal Archives

Leaked Attack Document Reveals Tory Candidates Told To Say Lib Dems "Are Not Proud To Be British"

...
Boris Johnson has been accused of stoking "the politics of division and nationalism" after Conservative election strategists urged their candidates to tell voters the Liberal Democrats “are not proud to be British” and would “make our country more vulnerable to terrorist attacks”.
...
The Conservative party is under pressure from Liberal Democrat challengers in a host of Remain-voting seats across the country. Five former Tory MPs have defected to the Lib Dems in recent weeks, and internal Tory polling has shown that several incumbent Leave-supporting Conservative MPs are likely to lose their seats to the anti-Brexit party.

In a sign that the Tories will be employing an increasingly aggressive strategy to try to hold onto these seats, their private briefing note laying out the “lines to take” for Tory candidates in Lib Dem marginals is headed: “The Liberal Democrats don’t share people’s values."



Another page of the document urges Tory candidates to make a series of dubious and controversial allegations about Liberal Democrat policies.



https://www.buzzfeed.com/alexwickham/conservatives-attack-lib-dems-jo-swinson-election


This is just what's been leaked today: I doubt any party or politician posing a credible threat to the Tories will escape this sort of rabble-rousing rhetoric, and this strategy will no doubt endanger further any candidates who don't sound or look or act "British".

Dominic Cummings has supposedly handed over the reins of the party to Lynton Crosby's right-hand man Isaac Levido, who, like Crosby, is an Australian political strategist - just to add to the irony of accusations of "non-Britishness".

Crosby has a long track record of running horribly divisive election campaigns full of dogwhistles and not so veiled attacks on selected outgroups, and it appears that Levido's a chip off the old block. Such campaigns haven't always led to electoral success, but they always turn up the heat on already inflamed situations.

Tory Ministers Accused Of Spending Public Cash On Facebook Ads In Election Swing Seats

HuffPost UK has learned that ministers authorised more than 20 adverts, paid for with taxpayers’ cash, to go live on Tuesday, the same day Boris Johnson got MPs to back a snap general election.
...
The adverts, designed by the Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government (MHCLG), refer to the £3.6bn Towns Fund announced by the prime minister in September.
...
The messages all appear to be specifically targeted at people living in mostly-Brexit-voting towns where the sitting MP has a majority below 5,000 votes, such as Milton Keynes, Morley, Northampton and Workington.
...
While parliament has not yet dissolved and the civil service has not officially entered the pre-election period when it must remain neutral - known as ‘purdah’ - the ads were published when it was clear a snap poll would happen.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/exclusive-pm-accused-of-using-public-cash-for-facebook-ads-targeting-marginal-seats_uk_5dbaec23e4b066da552d92d9


Labour MP Ian Lucas has been pursuing this issue. Here's a letter he wrote to Cabinet Office Minister Michael Gove challenging this "outrageous" misuse of public cash:



Since Johnson took over as prime minister, there has been blatant use of government powers and public funds for electioneering, from the promises of funding to key marginals to the Get Ready For Brexit campaign that peppered our media for so long up to 31 October to the Queen's Speech itself, which more resembled a royal-sponsored party political broadcast than presentation of a serious working document.

On this occasion, they seem to have overstepped the mark and the pressure seems to have worked - on Facebook, at least:

Facebook Pulls Government Adverts Targeted At Marginal Seats

Facebook has pulled government ads targeted at people in marginal seats, saying the campaign was “not correctly labelled”.
...
A government spokesperson has since denied the adverts were pulled and said they had been planned to expire on Friday.
...
a Facebook spokesman told HuffPost UK on Friday evening: “The adverts run by the ‘My Town Page’ were not correctly labelled as being about social issues.

“Ads about social issues, elections or politics that appear on our platforms should include a disclaimer provided by advertisers.

“We are currently working with the advertiser to help them better understand our policies and correctly label ads in the future.”

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/facebook-pulls-government-adverts-targeted-at-marginal-seats_uk_5dbc77f4e4b0d8b441ce9b73


However, one Twitter user claimed some of the ads were still running:
https://twitter.com/laurabunbun/status/1190353891625447425

Ned Simons
@nedsimons

Facebook has removed government adverts targeted at marginal seats, from me and @@REWearmouth https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/entry/facebook-pulls-government-adverts-targeted-at-marginal-seats_uk_5dbc77f4e4b0d8b441ce9b73
Laura🐰🐰 @laurabunbun

They haven't pulled them, it says they're still running ads and on their ad library it shows many are still active (including Milton Keynes, a marginal seat)



Yesterday, Twitter announced that it would no longer carry paid political ads, on the basis that it felt "reach" to users needed to be earned, which has brought pressure to bear on Facebook to follow suit on its much larger platform with vastly greater political ad spending.

Billions Worth of Sterling Bets to Expire Worthless After Brexit Deadline Passes

Traders preparing for a Halloween shock in currency markets after the last Brexit deadline placed bets worth billions of pounds in options, most of which expired worthless on Friday.

Sterling is holding its ground above $1.29 after the European Union gave the U.K. another three-month extension to the previous Oct. 31 exit date. That left many options maturing Friday out of the money, including a notional value of over 10 billion pounds ($13 billion) that the currency would slump below $1.28 or climb above $1.30.

...

These options, giving investors the right to buy or sell at those levels, may have been placed as hedges or as bets on a sharp move for a last-minute Brexit deal or if the U.K. crashed out of the bloc at midnight. Speculation in the pound has emerged as a political issue, with allegations that Prime Minister Boris Johnson has links to such investors and rival Jeremy Corbyn attacking hedge funds at the start of a campaign for a December election.

In total, more than 20 billion pounds worth of options expired at 2 p.m. in London on Friday, according to data from the Depository Trust & Clearing Corporation, an unusually high number when it comes to the pound-dollar currency pair. Those having bought the options would only lose the premium paid, which still could be costly.

https://www.bloomberg.com/news/articles/2019-11-01/ghost-of-halloween-brexit-haunts-sterling-options-market-bets


This follows up my earlier posts about Brexit Disaster Capitalism: 8 Billion Bet on No Deal Crash-Out by Boris Johnson's Leave Backers and Boris Johnson's billionaire leadership backer urged prorogation before he became PM.

Farage says Brexit party will contest every seat in Britain if Tories do not agree to pact

BBC highlights from Farage's announcement in Hartlepool:

Farage says the only way to solve the Brexit impasse is to create a leave alliance.

That does not just mean Tories and the Brexit party, he says. He says there are other leavers who might join.

He says, if that were to happen, they could become, as President Trump said yesterday, “an unstoppable force”.

If that does not happen, the Brexit party will be the only party standing up for Brexit.

He says it will make sure that every house in the land gets information about how the deal is a sell-out.

And he says the party will contest every seat in Britain.

https://www.theguardian.com/politics/live/2019/nov/01/general-election-news-latest-brexit-farage-restates-call-for-brexit-party-pact-with-tories-live-news?page=with:block-5dbc13898f08c428d8934a94#block-5dbc13898f08c428d8934a94


I'd put the chances of the Tories agreeing a pact with the Brexit Party as vanishingly small, so I guess it's game on, unless Farage is just bluffing, though he'll find it very hard to back away from his utter condemnation of Johnson's deal today.

It sounds like Johnson's going to be at the pointy end of a many-pronged attack ...

Claims No 10 'sitting on' Russian interference report

...
The report includes evidence from UK intelligence services concerning Russian attempts to influence the outcome of the 2016 EU referendum and 2017 general election.

The document, compiled by the Parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee, was referred to the Prime Minister's office on 17 October but, unless it is cleared for publication by the beginning of next week, it will not be released before the UK goes to the polls on 12 December.
...
Previous disclosures would suggest that these Russian activities did not match the scale of those directed against the 2016 US presidential election, and even in that case, there is considerable debate about how far people were actually influenced by these actions.

However the sense that No 10 might be uncomfortable with the emergence of the Intelligence and Security Committee's report prior to the election may prove more significant than the evidence it actually contains.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-50256887


I had a sudden pang of nostalgia for the times when we lefties used to be accused of being Russian-funded, quickly followed by jealousy because nobody I knew ever received a penny.

Meanwhile in foreign election interference news, Trump had a phone interview on Farage's LBC show yesterday:

Donald Trump has criticised Boris Johnson's Brexit deal with the EU, saying it restricts the US's ability to do future trade with the UK.

Speaking to LBC, he said that, without the deal, the two countries could "do many times the numbers" than now.

The US president also took a swipe at Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn, saying he would be "so bad" as prime minister.

Mr Corbyn accused him of "trying to interfere" in the UK general election to boost "his friend Boris Johnson".

https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/election-2019-50252285


Trump is due to visit the UK again to attend the 70th anniversary NATO summit a week or so before the election.

Boris Johnson's snap-election bid could backfire and make Jeremy Corbyn prime minister

...
Johnson is in a weaker position than Theresa May was in 2017

When Prime Minister Theresa May called a general election in 2017, she already held a small majority over Corbyn's Labour Party, and polls put her as much as 25 points ahead.

However, by the end of that election campaign, Corbyn's party was neck and neck with May's Conservatives, meaning she lost her majority in Parliament.

Johnson, by contrast, would enter this campaign with no majority and with much smaller leads, of as little as 4 points, some recent polls have found. Some other polls have found significantly bigger leads for Johnson, of up to 15 points.

However, there remain significant doubts about whether Johnson's polling leads are large enough to withstand a general-election campaign, in which his party's almost 10 years in power would again be under the spotlight.

https://www.businessinsider.com/boris-johnson-brexit-election-bid-could-make-jeremy-corbyn-pm-2019-10


The other headings in the article:

Johnson's election message could fail

The 'remain' vote is now much more efficiently distributed

Johnson will have to gain lots of ground just to stand still

The Labour voters Johnson needs could prove too difficult to budge

Johnson's campaign could be wrecked by scandal


A tentatively cheery, if not uncontroversial, counterpoint to doom for a Saturday afternoon. I'm not sure I buy in to the prospect of a Corbyn premiership. Another hung parliament of some complexion is probably more likely.

New game: Where's the Brexit Economic Impact Assessment?

https://twitter.com/davidschneider/status/1186554357476724737

David Schneider
@davidschneider

Brexit in a nutshell:

MP: “Can we make an informed decision about how Brexit will affect people and the economy?”

Rees-Mogg: “Go take a flying dump!”

[Twitter video]


The actual exchange in the House yesterday:

Kirsty Blackman (SNP, Aberdeen North): Can the Leader of the House let us know if an economic impact assessment on the deal has been carried out yet, and if it has, will it be published tomorrow in time for us to look at it before the second reading?

Jacob Rees-Mogg (Tory, the 19th century): If you ask an economist anything, you get the answer you want. [Sits down]


The only sane response short of darting across the floor of the House and ramming Rees-Mogg's order book up his over-entitled arse:



I'm not sure what's worse: Rees-Mogg's arrogant non-answer, or the fact that business in the House moved briskly on.

How the media (and we, if we're not careful) get played.

I posted this in the thread "Boris Johnson sends unsigned request to Brussels for Brexit delay" on Latest Breaking News, but it might be of some interest.

Here are some interesting observations from Mike Hind about framing and PR in politics and how the headline in the OP plays into Johnson et al.'s hands.

It has some relevance to the situation with Trump in the USA, too.

(Note to moderators: it's a Thread Reader transcript of a Twitter thread, so I don't believe it's subject to the usual four-paragraph limit on quotes.)

Downing St wants you to kick off about him not signing the letter.

This is a perfect example of Lakoffian framing.

The fact is that an unelected Prime Minister has again been humiliated by an elected Parliament.

A short explainer...

To win the PR air war you need to be first, with a fresh message, no matter the setback you just suffered. That's how you manipulate the media. By giving them a new story, to distract from the bad story.
Vote Leave (which is basically now the government) has been very adept at this.

Remember when the Electoral Commission ruled that Vote Leave had broken electoral law? They instantly declared the EC as "politically biased".

The story then? VL accuses EC of political bias?

See?

That is what we call framing.

Today's story is now about Johnson's 'defiance', rather than his humiliating political failure.


In the age of social media, those adept at framing have millions of people to manipulate. Most of us aren't aware of much comms theory, so we are easily manipulated into amplifying these talking points.

I too have been momentarily tempted to post some snarky 'hot takes' on Johnson not signing the extension request & sending a contradictory note. But reality bites when you spot the framing.

Today's story, behind the framing flannel, is that Johnson preferred to die in a ditch than do the thing he has been forced to do.

As ever, well-meaning people will argue the toss on this. Because often the last people to spot skilled manipulation are the skillfully manipulated.

Anyway, this is how to react

David Allen Green
@davidallengreen

Nothing in the latest tactical idiocy to cause alarm

The Benn Act letter is sent, these other reported letters legally inconsequential

Seems clever, and will impress the easily impressed, but nothing to worry about


If you're inspired to better understand framing, a good follow to consider is @dirktherabbit who consistently shines a light on these tactics

Framing is what the best journalists cut through, to bring you the real story. Which is why @BethRigby is one of my go-to sources for insight, rather than gossip

Jenni Russell
@jennirsl

Journalists refusing to be spun by access to the No 10 machine are the ones to read in this latest Brexit crisis - the fearless @BethRigby here. https://twitter.com/bethrigby/status/1185668023635628042
Beth Rigby ✔ @BethRigby

Unspun version
1) Govt asks for a Brexit extension as legally required by Benn Act
2) PM writes an additional letter saying why he believes a delay is a mistake and he will not negotiate one https://twitter.com/allisterheath/status/1185663405191024643


I should also recommend @jennirsl, who is calling out the same problem

Jenni Russell
@jennirsl

This is just a stunt by Johnson aimed at his base - but @peston is acting as his megaphone by sending the message Johnson wants out there; that he’s defiant. The truth is: he isn’t. He complied with the law. Peston’s doing No 10’s job here rather than his own. https://twitter.com/peston/status/1185662067090571264
Robert Peston ✔ @Peston

.@BorisJohnson will tonight stick two fingers up at the Benn Act by sending the letter to @eucopresident it stipulates asking for a three-month Brexit delay but refusing to sign it. He expects to see MPs in court.


What actually happened

https://twitter.com/RobDotHutton/status/1185644857311846401
Robert Hutton
@RobDotHutton

Narrator: He asked for a Brexit extension.


If you'd like to journey into the deeper subtleties of framing this, by @zephoria, is a brilliant introduction.

“Media Manipulation, Strategic Amplification, and Responsible Journalism” by danah boyd link.medium.com/Y5OvWhqZV0

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1185797486708961280.html

Here are some interesting observations from Mike Hind about framing and PR in politics

and how the headline in the OP plays into Johnson et al.'s hands.

It has some relevance to the situation with Trump in the USA, too.

(Note to moderators: it's a Thread Reader transcript of a Twitter thread, so I don't believe it's subject to the usual four-paragraph limit on quotes.)

Downing St wants you to kick off about him not signing the letter.

This is a perfect example of Lakoffian framing.

The fact is that an unelected Prime Minister has again been humiliated by an elected Parliament.

A short explainer...

To win the PR air war you need to be first, with a fresh message, no matter the setback you just suffered. That's how you manipulate the media. By giving them a new story, to distract from the bad story.
Vote Leave (which is basically now the government) has been very adept at this.

Remember when the Electoral Commission ruled that Vote Leave had broken electoral law? They instantly declared the EC as "politically biased".

The story then? VL accuses EC of political bias?

See?

That is what we call framing.

Today's story is now about Johnson's 'defiance', rather than his humiliating political failure.


In the age of social media, those adept at framing have millions of people to manipulate. Most of us aren't aware of much comms theory, so we are easily manipulated into amplifying these talking points.

I too have been momentarily tempted to post some snarky 'hot takes' on Johnson not signing the extension request & sending a contradictory note. But reality bites when you spot the framing.

Today's story, behind the framing flannel, is that Johnson preferred to die in a ditch than do the thing he has been forced to do.

As ever, well-meaning people will argue the toss on this. Because often the last people to spot skilled manipulation are the skillfully manipulated.

Anyway, this is how to react

David Allen Green
@davidallengreen

Nothing in the latest tactical idiocy to cause alarm

The Benn Act letter is sent, these other reported letters legally inconsequential

Seems clever, and will impress the easily impressed, but nothing to worry about


If you're inspired to better understand framing, a good follow to consider is @dirktherabbit who consistently shines a light on these tactics

Framing is what the best journalists cut through, to bring you the real story. Which is why @BethRigby is one of my go-to sources for insight, rather than gossip

Jenni Russell
@jennirsl

Journalists refusing to be spun by access to the No 10 machine are the ones to read in this latest Brexit crisis - the fearless @BethRigby here. https://twitter.com/bethrigby/status/1185668023635628042
Beth Rigby ✔ @BethRigby

Unspun version
1) Govt asks for a Brexit extension as legally required by Benn Act
2) PM writes an additional letter saying why he believes a delay is a mistake and he will not negotiate one https://twitter.com/allisterheath/status/1185663405191024643


I should also recommend @jennirsl, who is calling out the same problem

Jenni Russell
@jennirsl

This is just a stunt by Johnson aimed at his base - but @peston is acting as his megaphone by sending the message Johnson wants out there; that he’s defiant. The truth is: he isn’t. He complied with the law. Peston’s doing No 10’s job here rather than his own. https://twitter.com/peston/status/1185662067090571264
Robert Peston ✔ @Peston

.@BorisJohnson will tonight stick two fingers up at the Benn Act by sending the letter to @eucopresident it stipulates asking for a three-month Brexit delay but refusing to sign it. He expects to see MPs in court.


What actually happened

https://twitter.com/RobDotHutton/status/1185644857311846401
Robert Hutton
@RobDotHutton

Narrator: He asked for a Brexit extension.


If you'd like to journey into the deeper subtleties of framing this, by @zephoria, is a brilliant introduction.

“Media Manipulation, Strategic Amplification, and Responsible Journalism” by danah boyd link.medium.com/Y5OvWhqZV0

https://threadreaderapp.com/thread/1185797486708961280.html

Letwin amendment passes

322 for the amendment
306 against it

Johnson now has to write to the EU requesting an extension to the Brexit deadline.

A major factor in tipping the vote by such a margin was the DUP voting for it.


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