Never mind Metro and the BBC – the DWP has been pushing Universal Credit propaganda already

Amber Rudd: The Work and Pensions secretary is facing demands for answers about a multi-million-pound propaganda campaign involving the Metro newspaper and the BBC – but what about all the “puff” pieces in the local papers?

It’s nice that MPs are finally beginning to realise that the DWP is filling the media with disinformation to make people think Universal Credit is a good thing.

Yes, that’s right – finally.

It seems the local papers have been filling up with this nonsense for a while. Consider the following, from one of Vox Political‘s longest-standing readers:

“They’ve been doing a PR campaign in the local rags – DWP press releases masquerading as local news to reassure nervous Tory MPs, some with small majorities, who fear that Universal Credit is another poll tax.

“[It is] so contrived and patronising – tame staff parroting off the official line word for word, bordering on Maoist, or hostage, statements in a despotic banana republic.

“Most of the articles are more or less the same with the odd bit added here and there.

“The line is that [the news stories about people being forced to food banks, or dying, because of Universal Credit are] only troublemakers telling tales out of class to the papers.

“It’s a very, very regimented, top-down and corporate style of management. I have experienced it before; you can read it like an open book.

“Everything is to a pre-determined outcome and purely to impress someone more senior – all singing from the same hymn sheet in a crackpot religious sect church. They’ll only hear what they want to hear.”

He named some of the newspapers participating:

The Plymouth Herald (“Johnny Mercenary who apparently went or threatened to go on strike – the irony!”)

The Birmingham Mail (“The West Midlands has a few Tory pockets.”)

The Middlesbrough Evening Gazette (“Simon Clarke – a swivel-eyed Brexiteer.”)

Derby Telegraph (“Pauline Latham, Patrick McLoughlin.”)

There was a puff PR piece in the Leicester Mercury too.

“However this G4S UKJCP security guard is parroting off the Victorian ‘feckless and irresponsible poor’ line for the DWP.”

“I’m afraid some people will have to learn the hard way. No loyalty is given; none is expected.”

Here’s another such article:

And here’s the Leicester Mercury piece:

Local newspapers are struggling – I know; I spent decades working for them. But taking the Tory shilling to spread tattle isn’t the way to survive. Any paper that does so should be boycotted by readers and advertisers alike.

Have YOU donated to my crowdfunding appeal, raising funds to fight false libel claims by TV celebrities who should know better? These court cases cost a lot of money so every penny will help ensure that wealth doesn’t beat justice.

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