Category Archives: Propaganda

Why is Brian Cox getting flak for pointing out that our fascist government uses fascist language?

Brian Cox: This Site doesn’t always agree with him but he’s right about people who use phrases like “the will of the people”. There’s no such thing, and people who speak in such absolute terms are fascists.

The Daily Express‘s attack on Professor Brian Cox isn’t part of Boris Johnson’s “war on ‘woke'” – it’s an endorsement of the Johnson government’s fascism.

Normally This Writer wouldn’t leap to defend Prof Cox; he knows the score on the social media and he’s big enough to stand up for himself – but this non-story by a right-wing rag demonstrates an important topical point.

It refers to the broadcaster’s response after Priti Patel said – way back in August last year – that denying refugees access to the UK was the will of the British people.

It isn’t – it isn’t even the will of the majority. And even the minority who support Johnsons fascists might be divided after learning how Patel treats people who manage to get here.

We’ve all heard the horror stories about the concentration camp that turned into a Covid-19 breeding ground, and last week we learned that she had tried to deport a witness to a death in another Home Office facility, in an attempt to undermine an investigation that would show that the government had contributed to the death.

But there it was in black and white. Patel stated: “We need the cooperation of the French to intercept boats and return migrants back to France. I know that when the British people say they want to take back control of our borders – this is exactly what they mean.”

Professor Cox responded: “I’m so sick of this ‘the British people’ nonsense.

“It’s inflammatory and divisive and also errant vacuous nonsense with no meaning in a multi-party democracy.

“The phrase should be banned from political discourse.”

There is a valid criticism to be made about these words – and it is that they do not address exactly why those words are problematic.

Fortunately, he followed up with a further comment, in order to remove any doubt:

“The point is that invoking ‘the will of the people’ or derivatives in promoting policy is a well-rehearsed propaganda technique and has no place in our democratic dialogue.”

(Here’s the proof of what he said)

He was right; it is; it has.

But because the Express dredged up this moment in a current news story, suddenly he has been on the receiving end of a huge gammon-flavoured dogpile by the kind of “British people” who think that their far-right views are shared by everybody.

That’s not what “right-thinking” really means, folks.

Fortunately, plenty of genuinely right-thinking people have stood up to defend Professor Cox, and to point out that the Express article is built around a misinterpretation of his words that is no more or less than a lie.

I want to know why the article’s writers and editors of the Express were trying to distract us with this dead cat. What have the Tories done that needs this to take our minds off it?

Source: Brian Cox called for ban on using ‘British people’ term during woke revolt | UK | News | Express.co.uk

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Is it time for checks and balances on police who abuse their powers?

Police at one of the Easter Saturday ‘Kill the Bill’ demonstrations: who do you think is being violent here?

It seems police across the UK have been abusing their powers to control protests for many years – so why do our governments only ever seem to give them more powers to abuse?

This article by Christine Berry expands on one This Site publicised a few days ago, discussing instances going back 13 or 14 years in which police behaviour fell far below the expected standard.

And the similarities tell us that they should have been stopped long ago.

Consider the opening paragraphs:

After someone suffers an untimely death at the hands of a Metropolitan Police officer, a vigil is held in London. Footage goes viral of a woman being physically attacked by Met officers at the vigil, but senior figures insist it was just good public order policing. Around the same time, it’s revealed that police lied about officers being injured at a separate protest. Public trust in policing is battered, but somehow, politicians still think it’s a good idea to give them more powers.

No, this isn’t 2021. It’s 2008-’09. The dead man is Ian Tomlinson, a bystander at the G20 protests who was hit with a baton and pushed to the ground. The woman is Nicola Fisher. And those ‘injuries’? ‘Six insect bites and a toothache,’ as the Guardian put it – sustained at the Kingsnorth Camp for Climate Action.

We see that, even then, the police were using the media to alter public perception of protests, with claims that their violence was “good public order policing” and with false claims of injuries suffered by officers.

The summer before, I’d joined the Heathrow Climate Camp – which saw a step change in police repression of protest, including kettling, mass searching, surveillance, and physical attacks.

So this was when these tactics were introduced. Under the New Labour government of Gordon Brown, notice.

I was advised that volunteering as a legal observer might give me a degree of protection: ‘They seem to respect the hi-vis jacket.’ Instead, the opposite happened, with legal observers expressly targeted for intimidation.

Footage of recent protests has shown police singling out observers and members of the press. It seems they don’t like it when their violence is witnessed. Neither do criminals; I make the observation in passing.

Going back to 2008:

When we raised questions about police abuse of power, the Minister for Policing responded that 70 officers had been injured at the protest. The implication was that the climate campers were a violent mob, and attacking them with batons was a proportionate response.

We heard the same last month…

Not a single officer had been injured by a protester. Instead, bizarre entries like ‘stung on finger by possible wasp’ ensured that the story went viral, and the Minister was forced to apologise for misleading Parliament.

… again, the injuries mentioned last month also proved unconnected – or simply false.

The conclusion is clear:

Smearing protesters as violent is a consistent and deliberate strategy employed by the police to justify their own aggressive tactics and suppress criticism.

Perhaps it is time to impose a rule – that police should only be allowed to make such claims if they are able to support them, immediately, with independently-verified proof.

Here’s another tactic:

In the run-up to the G20 [protests], Met Commander Bob Broadhurst had talked up the prospect of violence, so the media and the public were primed to believe his version of events.

He did the same before the student protests of 2010, imploring parents to ‘talk to their children and make sure they’re aware of the potential dangers’, since there was ‘only so much police officers can do’ to protect them from violent yobs hijacking demonstrations: yobs, presumably, like the officer who hit Alfie Meadows over the head with a baton, and left him bleeding into his brain.

So perhaps police representatives should be restrained from such “priming” – or at the very least, the press should challenge them to demonstrate their reasons for making such claims.

The following year, over 100 UK Uncut protesters were lured out of Fortnum and Mason on false pretences and arrested for aggravated trespass.

Yvette Cooper gave the police her full-throated support in bringing ‘the full force of the law’ down on the ‘few hundred mindless idiots and thugs’ who had supposedly attacked people and property. In fact, less than a dozen people had been charged with violent offences. And all the Fortnum and Mason prosecutions were subsequently dropped.

But nobody at the police faced any criticism over the tactics they used or the lies they told.

This cyclical pattern creates a climate of impunity where the police are in a no-lose situation. If protests pass off peacefully, they are praised for handling them well. If they don’t, the violence is blamed on the people they are beating up. The very fact of protestors’ repression is treated as proof they were engaged in violence: the police ‘must have had a reason’.

This is victim-blaming.

Here is a direct example of it:

In the days around the G20 protests… the Home Affairs Select Committee conducted an inquiry, but they gave Nicola Fisher a much harder time than Bob Broadhurst – insinuating that she’d ‘asked for it’ by instinctively pushing back when a police officer first shoved her, and asking how much she’d got for selling her story.

Press challenges to the police narrative, it seems, are met with the threat of a costly court battle:

Climate Camp occupied Bishopsgate … announcing at the outset that the occupation would last 24 hours…. I started getting panicked phone calls from friends who were kettled there, pleading for our help. The police were advancing on them with dogs, batons and riot shields. People were being punched, dragged, and thrown for no reason.

Feeling helpless, I rang my boss, who eventually managed to speak to Bob Broadhurst’s deputy, Ian Thomas. He asked Thomas what the hell he thought he was doing, making clear that he thought the action was unlawful. The response was effectively: see you in court.

We know (don’t we? This Writer certainly understands how it works) that civil court action in the UK is a lengthy and costly process. The police have the infinite resources of the state to support them; the press do not. It seems, then, that if faced with the consequences of their actions, they are happy to buy justice.

And now we have a new Police, Crime, Sentencing and Courts Bill that hands new powers to the police without imposing any of the checks and balances that are needed to stop them behaving like criminals.

Patel’s response to policing that oversteps legal powers is simply to ratchet up the powers. They no longer need to worry about how much ‘disruption’ justifies violently dispersing a protest: now, the threshold will effectively be zero.

They no longer need to worry about proving aggravated trespass: now, all trespass will be criminal anyway. She is giving them the impunity they have always wanted.

This should worry us all. As this history shows, a right to protest that stops when the Met says so is no right at all.

So it seems the police have been acting as politicians’ paid thugs for many years (decades, in fact – look at the disgraceful way police were used as political weapons during the Miners’ Strike of 1984-5).

Faced with evidence of criminal behaviour by men in police uniforms, our government has chosen not to impose curbs, but to change the law so their thuggery becomes legal – putting the police in a class above the rest of us.

It means that you will have no rights at all in any dealings you have with the police. They will be able to do anything they want with you, or to you, with impunity.

Remember that in some cases this includes committing crimes such as murder and rape, thanks to a law the Tories brought in a few months ago.

If you voted Tory in 2019, it’s what you wanted. Own it.

But even if you did, that doesn’t mean you should accept it. If you now understand that you made a mistake, you’d better do something about it.

Because this repression will only get worse.

Source: How Protestors Get the Blame for Police Violence

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Covid-19 – don’t be fooled: 15 million ‘first jabs’ do not mean 15 million people have been vaccinated

The disinformation is strong in the government’s story.

The Tory government has been making a huge song and dance about having vaccinated a quarter of the UK’s population against Covid-19 – even though they haven’t.

They had an opportunity to vaccinate large numbers of the population – but with both the Pfizer and AstraZeneca vaccines, that would involve giving people two injections, with the second preferably happening after a three-week interval.

That hasn’t happened. Instead – in an attempt to grab headlines by publicising a large number of people getting the vaccine – the Tories ruled that nobody would receive their second jab earlier than 12 weeks after the first.

(That’s nobody apart from super-rich people like Boris Johnson’s father Stanley who could afford to pay for it, of course).

By then, the effects of the first injection are likely to have worn off.

The 15 million people mentioned in the headline are, in fact, unlikely to have any protection at all.

Still, it’s nice that they think they’re protected, isn’t it?

I wonder what will happen if (when?) somebody who’s had the injection then contracts the disease, or even – God forbid! – dies of it.

Who will Johnson try to blame then?

I’m not saying this will definitely happen.

But by ignoring scientific advice – from the manufacturers of these vaccines, for crying out loud! – Johnson and his government have made it much more likely.

Source: Covid: UK vaccinates 15 million people | The Independent

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Fake Labour: Starmer should know obsequious flag-waving and a haircut won’t fool voters

Fake: Jeremy Corbyn had authentic Labour policies; Keir Starmer has a flag, a haircut, and a face that looks more like Frank Spencer than Gavin Williamson’s.

A leaked internal strategy presentation suggests Keir Starmer’s Labour Party is hoping to win back voters with exaggerated patriotism, smart suits (and haircuts), and the exploitation of veterans.

There seems to be no suggestion that Starmer should try to present his hollowed-out sub-Tory party as actually standing for anything. “Labour” seems to be be nothing more than an old title that no longer has any significance at all.

The presentation itself is based on the findings of focus groups, showing that the general public no longer has any idea what – or who – Labour is supposed to represent and thinks that Starmer’s position on any subject is to sit on the fence.

And he’s considered to be the party’s “biggest positive driver”!

It seems Starmer is trying to find a way to present himself and his fake Labour as “authentic”. In short: it’s a blueprint for lying to the nation.

Obsequious flag-waving nationalism isn’t going to cut any mustard with Labour’s core voters, though – for reasons that Clive Lewis, an MP who served with the armed forces in Afghanistan, has made clear:

“It’s not patriotism; it’s Fatherland-ism. There’s a better way to build social cohesion than moving down the track of the nativist right.

“The Tory party has absorbed Ukip and now Labour appears to be absorbing the language and symbols of the Tory party.”

His critique is mild. Here are a few more:

And here’s an answer to the whole sorry mess:

Source: Leak reveals Labour plan to focus on flag and patriotism to win back voters | Labour | The Guardian

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UK Jews feel safer post-Corbyn – because the anti-Corbyn media told them to

Jeremy Corbyn is a friend to Jewish people but right-wingers who publish fake news traduced him – made him look like the exact opposite. Sadly, too few readers fact-checked the false claims and his reputation suffered huge damage.

One would have thought an ethnic group that was once brutally attacked by propagandists would be immune to their influence; apparently not.

Right-wing newspapers intended for a UK Jewish readership are sporting headlines claiming that Jews in this country now feel safer, and that they have a future here, knowing that Jeremy Corbyn will not be prime minister.

What they aren’t saying is that this is because they have stopped filling their pages with anti-Corbyn propaganda – falsehoods that were designed to provoke fear in their fellow Jews.

Fake news.

And they’re still pushing it – it’s no coincidence that these headlines are appearing right after we learned Corbyn is launching a court action against the Labour Party over his suspension.

Those of us who know the facts of this matter have given them short shrift:

This sarcastic comment is highly informative:

That’s what they would have had.

While their newspapers threatened them with institutional anti-Semitism on a national level, if Jeremy Corbyn had actually become prime minister he would have removed prescription charges from the English NHS.

If you call that cruelty, there’s something wrong with you.

And if you support, read and believe the periodicals that put out this propaganda, you’re not only harming yourself but helping to harm those around you.

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Perverted UK right-wingers use riots by their US counterparts to attack British SOCIALISTS

Ian Austin: this wolf-in-sheep’s-clothing is trying to divert blame for the US Capitol riots onto socialists – who weren’t there and had nothing to do with it.

Already the Far Right in the UK is twisting the narrative of the US Capitol riot into a bid to blame the Left.

The riot in Washington DC yesterday (January 6) was carried out by members of far-right political groups in the United States, at the bidding of Donald Trump, one of the most right-wing presidents that nation has had, certainly in its recent history.

And what is the message our politicians are projecting?

Well, let’s look at former UK Labour MP Ian Austin’s opinion:

First he equates the Labour Party under former leader Jeremy Corbyn with the “hard left”, which is false. Corbyn’s politics was centre-left, of the kind we see in government in several European countries including the very successful Scandinavian nations.

He follows it with a lie that supporters of this centre-left viewpoint are somehow wholehearted supporters of terrorists (the IRA) and totalitarian dictatorships. There is no evidence to support these wild claims.

Finally, he claims that socialists would not accept an election defeat, in complete denial of events here in the UK in December 2019 – which really isn’t very long ago!

Needless to say, genuine socialists have responded hotly – and accurately:

But a lie can run around the world before the truth has got its shoes on, as the saying goes.

Socialists do not organise riots – fascists do.

And then they lay the blame on socialists. Know your enemy.

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Tories have Commons Twitter account banned from tweeting vote results

He fought propagandists – but did he expect his own party to become the enemy? Churchill’s statue stares toward Parliament. If it was the man himself, it would probably turn its back in disgust.

Can you believe this? The Tories have contrived to have the House of Commons Twitter account stopped from tweeting vote results – because Johnson’s party said it was biased against them.

The House of Commons Twitter account has been banned from tweeting the results of votes after Tory MPs complained it was breaking impartiality rules when one tweet went viral.

During the passage of the trade bill, intended to pave the way for post-Brexit trade deals, the Commons Twitter account shared the outcomes of votes on amendments and new clauses: a 326-263 defeat for a clause relating “to parliamentary approval of trade agreements”, and approval without division for amendments about “sharing information and ministerial functions relating to trade”.

The descriptions were taken from the explanatory statement written by the MP who proposed the motion, and the tweet about new clause 17 was no different. That clause, the tweet said, was “intended to protect the NHS and publicly funded health and care services in other parts of the UK from any form of control from outside the UK”, explaining that it had been defeated 340 votes to 251.

The defeat allowed Labour to argue that Conservative MPs had voted against protecting the NHS from overseas control. The tweet itself was a key piece of evidence, which is why it gained 5,000 likes and almost 17,500 retweets in less than 24 hours.

That drew the attention of Tory MPs, who were bombarded with questions from constituents about why they had voted against such protection. The day after, MPs from the party made a complaint to the clerk of the House, the politically neutral civil servant who oversees the work of the support staff, including the social media team.

They argued that the tweet was in breach of the Commons’ requirement for impartiality. By the end of the day, the Commons team had deleted it and posted an apology.

So it was perfectly permissible for the offending words to be published in the explanatory statement by the MP who proposed the motion; the Tories just didn’t want them to get to the public.

What does that tell us about the Conservative government?

That they don’t want us to have full information about what happens in Parliament?

That they think Parliamentary media should not provide information to the public?

That they want such media to offer pro-Tory propaganda instead?

Johnson and his cronies have really taken the Josef Goebbels method to heart.

But the act has been a huge turn-off to the public – including This Writer (but you’d expect that, I’m sure):

I would have thought the answer was obvious: a would-be fascist dictatorship. But Johnson’s Tories are even failures at that.

Source: Commons Twitter account banned from tweeting vote results | Politics | The Guardian

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Schools are now for indoctrination, not education, as teaching of non-capitalist ideology is forbidden

Education secretary Gavin Williamson: he’s too stupid to realise the best way to get people interested in something is by banning it.

Boris Johnson’s government has lurched further towards fascism with an edict banning any anti-capitalist ideology from schools.

Any ideology other than capitalism is to be considered an “extreme political stance” from now on, according to guidance issued by the Department for Education and its secretary of state, Gavin Williamson.

Resources from organisations that have expressed a desire to end capitalism are henceforth to be considered equal to opposition to freedom of speech, anti-Semitism and endorsement of illegal activity.

As former shadow chancellor John McDonnell said, the measures effectively outlawed reference in schools to key events in British history, and symbolised growing authoritarianism within the governing Conservative party.

McDonnell said: “On this basis it will be illegal to refer to large tracts of British history and politics including the history of British socialism, the Labour Party and trade unionism, all of which have at different times advocated the abolition of capitalism.

“This is another step in the culture war and this drift towards extreme Conservative authoritarianism is gaining pace and should worry anyone who believes that democracy requires freedom of speech and an educated populace.”

Totalitarianism is nearer the mark.

Economist and former Greek finance minister Yanis Varoufakis said the guidance showed “how easy it is to lose a country, to slip surreptitiously into totalitarianism”.

He added: “Imagine an educational system that banned schools from enlisting into their curricula teaching resources dedicated to the writings of British writers like William Morris, Iris Murdoch, Thomas Paine even. Well, you don’t have to. Boris Johnson’s government has just instructed schools to do exactly that.”

Of course Mr Varoufakis will be among the first to be banned:

Critics of the new policy have come out in force.

Emyr Lewis added a few names to the list of banned authors: “We’ll have no more of your William Blake, your Shelley, your George Bernard Shaw, your D. H. Lawrence…”

And here’s mention of one highly notable person that the Tories ought to ban, if they’re serious:

This, from Jessica Simor QC, makes the point that the Tory government itself has broken its new guidance on multiple occasions:

How about this:

This makes the point in coarser terms:

Opinions of the Johnson government have been… frank:

Rohit K Dasgupta put it mildly, commenting on Tory racism: “Teachers: Rosie has 10 apples and gives Rashid 4. How many apples does Rosie have now? DfE: Stop that at once. This is straight up communism. Rashid has to prove he is a legal immigrant and can buy those apples.”

Then there’s this:

But there is an optimistic side to this. Here‘s Martin O’Neill:

Schools in England told not to use anti-capitalist material in teaching”. – My optimistic prediction is that this will backfire spectacularly. This government are creating a generation that will forever despise them and everything they represent.

And it is creating a generation that will want to know why alternatives to capitalism are being banned from schools.

This Writer certainly intends to put as much information about those alternatives into the public sphere as possible.

I’m happy to take suggestions too.

Source: Schools in England told not to use anti-capitalist material in teaching | Education | The Guardian

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#ANewSlogan for #Labour and #KeirStarmer – but it’s the same old #NewLabour underneath

Empty: Keir Starmer’s slogans are as empty as the promises in the 10 pledges he made when he was trying to be elected Labour leader (he has broken nine of them already).

Keir Starmer isn’t fooling anyone with his new empty slogan.

On the eve of Labour Connected – the party’s virtual conference, he’s replacing the previous empty slogan, “Under New Management” with one making the unlikely claim that he and his party are “A New Leadership”.

The problem is, neither Keir Starmer nor Labour under him have provided any leadership at all.

What are his achievements to date? Hmm…

Approving Boris Johnson’s disastrous Covid-19 strategy.

Agreeing with Boris Johnson that schools should open in September.

Paying off a gang of media-savvy ex-Labour apparatchiks before they could take the party into a court case that Labour was expected to win.

If that is leadership then Boris Johnson is the world’s greatest statesman (ha ha)!

Iain Watson of the BBC reckons the slogan has a lot of work to do:

First, it is designed to contrast favourably with Boris Johnson’s leadership – and build on Sir Keir’s sustained attempt to portray the current government as lacking competence.

Second, it dovetails with Labour’s plan to “introduce” Sir Keir to the country.

Third, it will be deployed to try to eliminate a negative.

While he may not have been fully introduced to the electorate, the good news for Sir Keir Starmer is that his personal ratings are positive.

The bad news for Starmer is that while he has made a relatively positive impression since becoming Labour leader in March, the party has been lagging behind the Conservatives in most polls.

The aim now is to bring the party’s standing closer to Starmer’s.

That’s a lot of work for a three-word falsehood to do.

If you visit the BBC story, you’ll see that among the illustrations is one of Tony Blair unveiling his slogan, “New Labour, New Britain” back in 1994.

They were empty words. New Labour, we soon discovered, was just a continuation of old Tory neoliberalism. Margaret Thatcher later described it as her greatest achievement.

I mention this because there seems to be a clear progression in Starmer’s slogans.

Could it be that he is marching with ponderous predictability, from “Under New Management”, through “A New Leadership”…

… back to “New Labour”?

Source: Labour Party: Starmer aims to build trust with ‘new leadership’ slogan – BBC News

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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