Tory department of dirty deeds swings into pre-election action


The Nasty Party is at it again, spreading dire warnings about its political foes and trawling opponents’ appearances on the social media for anything it can use against them.

Labour and – especially – UKIP candidates had better watch out; these are people who will take any apparently-innocuous off-the-cuff comment and turn it into galloping racism (for example) before your eyes!

The Party of Smears kicked off in typical fashion yesterday by attacking UKIP as “a collection of clowns” in a protest party with no positive policies, that was primarily opposed to foreigners.

The comment about being a party of protest will also ring in the ears of Labour candidates, after former party leader Tony Blair warned Ed Miliband that Labour must not be seen as one.

According to the BBC, UKIP reckons it has evidence that Conservative Central Office is spreading smears about its candidates, after spending months trawling through the Twitter and Facebook accounts of anyone likely to be a candidate.

Meanwhile The Guardian has reported a warning to Labour MPs from party vice-chairman Michael Dugher, that they will all be under “intense scrutiny” from the Tories for the next 18 months to two years, with Conservatives “scouring” opposition MPs’ Twitter accounts (and, we can well expect, Facebook pages) for damaging or embarrassing material.

“The message was that while you might not be household names now, any slip can instantly make you one and do huge damage to the party. The next 18 months is crucial. And the next few weeks are crucial ahead of the June spending review,” a ‘source’ is quoted as saying.

Facebook has already been the subject of controversy over alleged links with the Conservative Party, after blogger Tom Pride said he had been told by a Job Centre Plus employee that the Department for Work and Pensions had conspired with the social media giant to create a blackout around his blog because it criticised the Coalition government.

That blackout spread to other blogs including Vox Political, in a bid to choke off critical political writing, with potential readers warned that sites “may be unsafe” in an effort to turn them away. Although initially successful, with hits on this blog suffering during the early part of last week, the attack was routed after Facebook users were told that they were being manipulated. Hopefully, visits to this site will soon be back to pre-attack levels.

UKIP has taken the Tory attacks in its stride. The relatively young party has taken on nearly 2,000 candidates to contest the local elections on Thursday and has admitted it has not had time to check all their backgrounds properly. Therefore, the party says, it is glad the Conservatives are doing this job and has begun investigating six candidates over alleged links to the British National Party and other far-right groups.

UKIP sources have also stated their certainty that, if they were to investigate Conservative candidates in a similar manner, they might find “even more examples” to use in a counter-attack, summing up the Tory tactic as “morally reprehensible and downright dirty”.

“It isn’t scrutiny; it’s smear,” said a spokesperson.

Of course, this fighting among the right-wing, minority-interest parties (and if you don’t think the Tories are a minority-interest party, you haven’t been following their policies for the last three years) should be very helpful to Labour.

UKIP’s popularity splits the right-wing vote, meaning Labour has more chance to gain a majority in marginal council wards (and, by extension, marginal Parliamentary constituencies). At least, that’s one theory.

The problem is the fact that Labour voters might decide to defect on Thursday, as well – maybe even to UKIP, despite the fact that that party’s position is further to the right than the Conservatives’.

Much of this problem, Labour believes, lies in policy – with many people unaware of what most members of the Labour front bench actually do.

And this is compounded, in my opinion, by the fact that the one policy area in which Labour’s position is known is such a cast-iron, vote-losing, disaster for the party: Welfare/Work and Pensions.

Yet a Guardian article about a possible reshuffle makes no mention of Liam Byrne and his deputy Stephen Timms whatsoever – despite the fact that their decision not to oppose a blatantly illegal stitch-up of the system by the Tory DWP secretary Iain Duncan Smith enraged Labour heartlands across the country. Indeed, a fellow blogger recently headlined an article with the profanity (which I’ll edit here) ‘Liam Byrne f*ck off’.

It is long past time that Ed Miliband told him to do so. If Labour does not abandon Byrne’s horrifying attempt to equal the Tories’ brutality towards Britain’s most vulnerable people, in favour of a new policy that attacks the causes of unemployment, sickness and disability rather than the symptoms, then Labour will lose the next general election.

And that will be an even graver disaster for us all.

29 thoughts on “Tory department of dirty deeds swings into pre-election action

  1. Mike Sivier

    It seems the Facebook censorship machine is in full swing, still. At the time of writing, my Facebook page is telling me the link to this article has been seen exactly eight times – yet it has been shared, on Facebook, 59 times. What is that all about?

    Normally, around a thousand people would have seen it by now.

    Can anybody cast light on this weirdness?

    1. Big Bill

      I just posted this to FB no problem. As part of their campaign though you should expect the Conservatives to have their staff complain in droves to Facebook about your blog claiming it’s spam. It seems to be the kind of thing they do!

  2. Beryl Desmond

    Dirty schoolboy tactics, they have never grown up.
    Too priviledged to need to, yet they think they can run a country. I could do a better job
    From a pensioner.

  3. smurfinator

    Twitter isn’t as being uptight and anal as farcebook, so I tend to use twitter far more than farcebook for external blogs.
    And besides, getting back to the main story – the tories getting their knickers in a knot over some of the UKIP candidates? HELLOO???! the tories themselves are more accountable for their despicable actions and to spin a label on them, yeah, they’re the LTBs’!!

  4. Jacquie Perrie

    The answer lies with the people uniting and then saying NO on mass! Protesting angrily wont change it, voting won’t change it, moaning won’t change it! Having courage to let them know who has the real power! Stop playing the game.

    1. Mike Sivier

      The problem is that THEY have the real power, and until they’re voted out, they’ve got the law on their side! Voting – for the right people – is the ONLY way to change it!

    1. Workhouse

      To be fair, Benito Mussolini, once said that Fascism, should rightly be called Corporatism. As it is the merger of of corporate and government power. What do you think we are living under right now?

    1. Mike Sivier

      Thanks for the link, Johnny. I notice the author has chosen to remain anonymous, which is the first indication that all may not be kosher here.

      My second issue with it is the fact that the attack was lifted before the weekend – and then renewed yesterday.

      Readers reported towards the end of last week that the alert message was no longer appearing when they linked to this site, and that they were no longer being asked to complete a Captcha when they shared.

      Then yesterday, according to Facebook, the number of people reading posts on my FB page plummeted. I have managed to prove (to my own satisfaction) that this was caused by the words used in the headlines, which were unflattering to the Conservative Party.

      Now, this Pride’s Pants page – and Facebook itself – might be correct in saying last week’s problems were caused by an over-strict algorithm.

      What do you think will be the excuse this time?

      My third issue is that this is taking place days before elections take place across England and in Anglesey in Wales. The effective censorship of political blog sites means some people won’t get information that might help them decide which way to vote, and therefore could be seen as exerting undue influence on the result.

      I’ve just been working on another article about it, and I’ll certainly work this new information in. We’ll see what response it turns up.

      1. Workhouse

        Never before has a saying been so true…. “In a time of universal deceit telling the truth is a revolutionary act.” Mike you are indeed a revolutionary, your problem is informing the masses and telling the truth. Our masters can not permit the transmission of the truth, after all an informed, educated and united people is a greater threat to government, than a standing army.
        Simply stop telling the truth and facebook will allow your links. Seemples!

      2. Mike Sivier

        Thanks a lot, Workhouse. If I stopped putting out facts (as I see them) there wouldn’t be much for me to do on Facebook!

        For clarity, I am grateful to Johnny V for bringing the new information to my attention. I wouldn’t believe for a moment that he was doing it to knock me down; the intention is clearly to ensure that I avoid making a mistake.

      3. Workhouse

        Johnny V has my trust, I completly agree, he is not trying to knock you down. As for telling the truth, “Truth is like a lion, it does not require defence. Simply set it free and it will defend itself.”

  5. johnny void

    It wasn’t just political sites affected, but wordpress sites all over the world, there was lots of discussion about it on the wordpress user forums. No conspiracy, just a glitch.

    1. Mike Sivier

      But even if it were true last week, why is it that anti-Tory or left-leaning posts are being blocked by Facebook now? That’s my main question.

      1. johnny void

        Because the glitch hasn’t been fixed properly yet I assume. If what you are saying is true, and the Government is forcing or has encouraged a US company to politically censor social media then you have the story of the decade. A glitch in their spam software which has been widely reported throughout the world and isn’t yet fully fixed, might be an alternative explanation. Occam’s Razor might be useful here 😉

      2. Mike Sivier

        Occam’s Razor might be a very useful excuse!

        I’m not prepared to discount the ‘glitch’ explanation completely – don’t get me wrong.

        The problem is, if it’s still the same problem, why is it attacking FB users in a different way? Before, it was putting up an alert message and encouraging people to mark the article page as spam, and forcing people to fill in a Captcha before they could share a link. Now, it’s hiding links with particular words in their headlines from people who have expressed an interest in reading them (such as people who like my FB page).

        And why would this glitch only attack WordPress pages? It seems odd that a system intended to scan all links, in order to weed out unwanted spam, would single out those from a single host and sling them all out with the real rubbish.

        The explanation just doesn’t mesh with the evidence.

    2. sparaszczukster

      I’m not very well versed in the technicalities of how sites like Facebook operate their censorship but it strikes me that if I was the government and wanted to deliberately and illegally suppress adverse opinion/facts being widely circulated via SOME WordPress accounts before crucial elections, I’d ask Facebook to target ALL WordPress traffic so it didn’t look like targeting at all. This would give me what the CIA call ‘plausible denialability’.

  6. johnny void

    I think it affected some blogspot sites as well. Who knows why it affected some sites and not others and in different ways, spam filtering software is incredibly complex these days and has all kinds of consequences. Really, talk to someone who works in IT, there is no conspiracy and to claim there is sounds a bit daft to anyone with a basic knowledge of how this stuff works.

  7. johnny void

    sorry don’t mean to be harsh. I made the exact same mistake myself a few years ago. But I’ve been blogging a while now and I’ve seen endless claims of censorship just like this that always turn out to be a technical glitch. Spam filtering, adult filtering etc isnt perfect, it throws up things like this all the time. I have never come across a genuine attempt at covert government censorship of the net (in the UK at least) and this certainly isn’t one.

    1. Mike Sivier

      I’ve added the new information to the article I’ve been writing, and softened the tone a great deal, but I still want to put it up and see what happens.

      Of course, the fact that the allegation made in the alert message was defamatory remains. There is no need to prove intention in a libel case.

  8. guy fawkes

    Getting back to your initial post Mike, what do you think is going to be the outcome of the next election, will it be a 3 horse race and if so between whom?

    1. Mike Sivier

      If you mean the general election, I think it’s too early to judge. Considering the mess the Coalition is making of running the country, I think if Labour can sort out its welfare policy there is the opportunity for a landslide.

      But people would have to think for themselves, rather than being swayed by what the national newspapers and TV news programmes tell them. That’s possible, and new media like the Internet are a big part of the reason for that, which is why we should be concerned if it seems that attempts are being made to silence us.

  9. Pingback: Tory department of dirty deeds swings into pre-...

Comments are closed.