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La Albearceleste

UK Politics: Trumpy Cat Trumpy Cat Where Have You Been?

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2 hours ago, Channel4s-JonSnow said:

To be fair, Brexit has been stewing for over 20 years and has been coming to the boil in the last couple. No facebook campaign is going to change that.

You are glossing over some important points.

First of all, reporting campaign donations is a major requirement in many countries. Here in Canada we have at least two examples of the consequences of false reporting, and both MPs lost their seats and one ended up in jail. But these were elections where their individual seats made no difference to the overall election results, whereas in Brexit there's no going back.

How the hell do you deal with this revelation? Do you fine the Leave campaign at this point? Do you charge Farage? Do you put him in jail? Is that going to satisfy people who are angry at the result? Are they going to hold the vote again?

Aren't you worried about this kind of social manipulation?

Whether or not Brexit has been boiling for a few years, how can you possibly say a targeted advertising campaign had no impact in a close vote? You are using that old argument, "advertising doesn't work", which is bullshit, we all know advertising works. Mercer's firm doesn't make millions of dollars from selling a useless product.

I also think you are glossing over the importance of social media. The US election was fought on social media on a level not seen before. The example of the guy who went with his gun to check out the basement of the pizza place is extreme, but you can bet tens of thousands were influenced by what they read on the internet.

 

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1 minute ago, Fragile Bird said:

You are glossing over some important points.

First of all, reporting campaign donations is a major requirement in many countries. Here in Canada we have at least two examples of the consequences of false reporting, and both MPs lost their seats and one ended up in jail. But these were elections where their individual seats made no difference to the overall election results, whereas in Brexit there's no going back.

How the hell do you deal with this revelation? Do you fine the Leave campaign at this point? Do you charge Farage? Do you put him in jail? Is that going to satisfy people who are angry at the result? Are they going to hold the vote again?

Aren't you worried about this kind of social manipulation?

Whether or not Brexit has been boiling for a few years, how can you possibly say a targeted advertising campaign had no impact in a close vote? You are using that old argument, "advertising doesn't work", which is bullshit, we all know advertising works. Mercer's firm doesn't make millions of dollars from selling a useless product.

I also think you are glossing over the importance of social media. The US election was fought on social media on a level not seen before. The example of the guy who went with his gun to check out the basement of the pizza place is extreme, but you can bet tens of thousands were influenced by what they read on the internet.

 

My point was that anti EU feeling in the UK has been stoked by certain sections of the media for decades. Most leave voters were in an age bracket that means they probably don't even use Facebook. So I really don't think it was that significant. 

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You're also glossing over, or unaware of, some important points. One, the official Leave campaign wasn't the beneficiary of this. The beneficiary was the UKIP-based unofficial Leave.EU campaign. Second, the Leave side was disproportionately more elderly, and the UKIP supporters even more so, so I doubt it would have been too effective. Thirdly, the result wasn't that close. There were 1.3m votes between the two, so I cannot imagine this minority campaign would have made much difference.

That said, if they broke the rules, they should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

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27 minutes ago, Channel4s-JonSnow said:

My point was that anti EU feeling in the UK has been stoked by certain sections of the media for decades. Most leave voters were in an age bracket that means they probably don't even use Facebook. So I really don't think it was that significant. 

That's a big 'probably'.  From my anecdotal experience, this age group is not only on Facebook, but they are also the least likely to do any kind of fact checking things they see on Facebook.  

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2 minutes ago, aceluby said:

That's a big 'probably'.  From my anecdotal experience, this age group is not only on Facebook, but they are also the least likely to do any kind of fact checking things they see on Facebook.  

People of 65+ years were the highest represented age group of leave voters. I could understand middle aged Facebook users but in general people's grans are still not that tech savvy 

plus there is no way they made their minds up over night. The past decades in the U.K. have been filled with news stories about immigrants and the curvature of cucumbers 

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If the rules were broken, then those involved should be sanctioned.

However, there's nothing especially sinister about this use of social media.  It's becoming a common political tactic.  The Conservatives used it successfully in 2015.

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Quote

 

Mercer is a computer genius who first worked at IBM where he did groundbreaking work on AI.  Every time you click on something on the internet, his company collects information about you.

He's the guy who gave Breitbart $10 M to continue their work. He also runs a company dedicated to undermining the 'false news' being reported by the mainstream press. And he started a branch of his company in the UK before the last election, and is setting up branches in France and Germany.

If you think his work had no influence in the UK, I think you're being very, very naive.

 

I didn't say it had no influence. I said it was not decisive. Far more important was tendentious reporting in the national press over decades. If you have any thoughts on regulating either sort of media without impacting freedom of speech or the press, then let's hear them.

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2 hours ago, Channel4s-JonSnow said:

Most leave voters were in an age bracket that means they probably don't even use Facebook.

Surely it is better to use targeted ads on people who are unlikely to vote for the main message you are spreading through traditional means. There is little sense using these methods for those who are already going to vote your way based on Farage's rhetoric.

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1 hour ago, Hereward said:

I didn't say it had no influence. I said it was not decisive. Far more important was tendentious reporting in the national press over decades. If you have any thoughts on regulating either sort of media without impacting freedom of speech or the press, then let's hear them.

Hell no, I don't. *But see below, maybe I do.

The difference in votes was 1,269,501, meaning if you moved 634,751 votes, out of 33,577,342 cast, or less than 1.9%, you won the referendum. And it wasn't just targeted ads on Facebook, it was targeted ads on the internet. 1.9% is less that statistical range of error in polls.

But I see 25,359 ballots were spoiled, so the actual number you needed to win was slightly less. 

While the focus of the comments has been on people over 65, focussing on that age group is silly. More than 17M people voted Leave from every age group. More people in their 30s and 40s are on Facebook How do you know that age group wasn't bombarded with manipulative advertising? I saw charts breaking down where the votes went district by district, and there was a long list where the vote was very very close, on either side of the 50% line.

My central point, though, is what do you do about the fact that Mercer's company donated their work to the Leave campaign and the donation wasn't reported? Fine somebody? Charge somebody? Send someone to jail? Ban a company from working in the UK?

And even more relevant, is sending targeted advertising on the internet really what we traditionally call free speech? Maybe campaign advertising rules in this day and age have to be changed? Maybe print and broadcast advertising should be allowed, but not internet advertising?

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15 minutes ago, Fragile Bird said:

And even more relevant, is sending targeted advertising on the internet really what we traditionally call free speech?

Is it any different than targeted mailshots, which have been a staple tactic for decades?

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13 minutes ago, mormont said:

Is it any different than targeted mailshots, which have been a staple tactic for decades?

Maybe not. But I am talking about advertising during an election campaign. I don't know what the rules are in the UK, but there are some restrictions on campaign advertising in Canada (a black out period starting 24 hours before Election Day, for example). If different kinds of advertising are allowed while some are not, is your freedom of speech being restricted? Can you have reasonable rules in an election campaign, as long as they affect every person running in the same way?

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9 hours ago, Maltaran said:

I wonder if Galloway will run in the by-election, Gorton has the right sort of demographics for him.

Hopefully not.

Given that Labour got 67% at the last election and the Green runner-up got 9% if there's still any concept of a Labour safe seat surely this should be one.

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20 minutes ago, Notone said:

Since I haven't seen it linked.

John Major adds his two pennies to Brexit John Major as a moderate who pisses off the right wing Tories. Strange times.

Anyway, he makes a few decent points, especially with regard to Britain becoming more dependent on the least predictable POTUS in ages. 

That was Major even in office. In fact, he may be the best PM we've had in my lifetime, as he was reasonably and relatively moderate compared to what came before and after. Thatcher using a nuclear bomb to break eggshells, Blair abetting a war crime on an industrial scale, Brown being just no and Cameron making the biggest political miscalculation since, well, Blair but probably Suez before that.

That said, although his assessment was sober and sensible, it did feel a little pointless, because it wasn't going to achieve much. However, his central thesis - that the government ignoring the 48% of people who voted against Brexit (and the more-than-half of the eligible electorate who did not vote in favour of it) in favour of a hard Brexit which even many Brexit votes are not in favour of - remains pretty sound.

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On 27/02/2017 at 0:47 PM, Maltaran said:

I wonder if Galloway will run in the by-election, Gorton has the right sort of demographics for him.

I would be amazed.

Not to mention that Bradford West (54.5%) and Bethnal Green & Bow (40%), the seats GG has won since becoming leader of Respect, both have much higher Asian populations than Manchester, Gorton (29.2%). Not only is this seat rock-solid Labour, it's not quite down the alley of someone like George Galloway.

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At this stage in his career the 'right sort' of demographics for Galloway would be a constituency of one voter, himself, and even then he'd likely have to fight a bruising, bitter and divisive campaign.

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On 27/02/2017 at 7:36 PM, Fragile Bird said:

And even more relevant, is sending targeted advertising on the internet really what we traditionally call free speech? Maybe campaign advertising rules in this day and age have to be changed? Maybe print and broadcast advertising should be allowed, but not internet advertising?

Excellent points.

People in the UK do not, generally and as a rule, follow politics in that level of detail. It takes quite a lot of PR or marketing to break through the morass of political news BS. The red bus with its promise for extra money for the NHS did just that. Enormous numbers of people were talking about it. I remember talking to people in a UK government ministry, civil servants just a few steps removed from UK government ministers, smugly saying they'd voted for Brexit on the basis of the bus vote. It was quite...startling that people who were charged with executing British governmental policy had fallen for bullshit of that scale.

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I also believe that Europe has been busy shooting itself in the foot for decades. And not just in Britain.

There is no continent-wide appetite among the actual people for the "ever closer political union" that has been, for a long time, the explicit goal of the European institutions but most particularly the Commission and its Presidents. This can be seen from the number of times that European treaties, when put to referendum in European nations, have *lost* - from the Maastricht treaty in Denmark (it very nearly lost in France as well), the Nice and Lisbon treaties losing in Ireland, the attempt at a draft Constitution for Europe being defeated in both France and Holland... and the acknowledgement that most of those treaties *would* have lost in a British referendum had anyone dared put them. Various other European agreements, of lesser level than full treaties, have also been failing when put to a referendum - for instance Denmark and Sweden both refusing to join the Euro (independently of Britain having its own opt-out), a recent Dutch referendum against increasing closer links with Ukraine, and more.

And in several cases the answer has been to ignore the result entirely, or to "persuade" by whatever means the offending nation to vote again and, as has been said, "get it right this time". The current president, Juncker, is on record - as long ago as 2007 - as saying there can be "no democratic choice against the European treaties". This attitude does not endear people to Europe: in many ways it's why the best that the Remain campaign could offer in the referendum was "the EU needs a load of reform, and the only way we stand a chance of getting it is from the inside".

I am, in fact, convinced that Juncker, Merkel, Schauble, Tusk, Hollande and Verhofstadt were all far greater assets to the Leave campaign, than Nigel Farage or Boris Johnson.

The whole farrago over the draft Constitution (2005-2007) and its replacement, the Treaty of Lisbon (2008-2009) was a huge example of the European centralisers shooting themselves in the foot. Especially since Britain had been promised a "yes-no" referendum on the Constitution - to be held last, after all the other nations, a measure of timing agreed by both pro- and anti- constitution factions in Britain: if anyone else voted no (as France and Holland did), then Britain would not get the blame for sabotaging it, whereas if every other nation voted yes, it could be used as leverage to try and swing the British vote in favour. The fact that it failed in France and Holland, of course, ensured that there was no need for a British referendum - nor indeed an Irish one, which would also undoubtedly have voted No to it. And then came the Treaty of Lisbon - in which, after their previous No votes, the governments of France and Holland did NOT choose to trust their people with a referendum this time, although one would have thought they would be obliged to: and, given the promise that Britain would FINALLY have one... it was broken by Gordon Brown, the PM in 2009, even after the defeat in the first Irish referendum. This level of contempt, in fact, played a big part in pushing a lot of "Eurosceptics" who wanted to remain with the status quo and stay in but not sign any more centralising treaties, into the campaign to leave the EU outright.

A perfect example of this, over previous Euro-treaties, is David Davis, the minister now in charge of handling Brexit. A poor speaker and worse public debater, but a decent essayist (even in the New Statesman, normally a pro-European magazine and soft-centre-left in political alignment, for whom he produced what I regard as a very good analysis of Europe-as-it-stands back in 2012), he originally voted - and even acted as a party Whip - FOR the Maastricht Treaty in 1993: and while campaigning against the future treaties of Amsterdam and Nice, stopped short of actually advocating leaving the EU entirely, until some time around the time of the Draft Constitution and the Lisbon Treaty.

Because I honestly believe that, while having an in-out referendum *which did not mandate that a certain margin must be reached for the result to be binding* was a bad idea, I do believe that several of the previous treaties should indeed have been put to "yes/no" referendums, in circumstances where "no" meant "status quo as before": and that failing to do so, and indeed breaking a promise to do so, played a huge role in turning public opinion against Europe. Just as going against the results of the French and Dutch referenda on the Draft Constitution by pushing the Lisbon treaty through without referendum in those nations has played a major part in turning public opinion against Europe in France and Holland. And all these errors were made by the *pro* European side - and encouraged by European institutions who make a point of being reluctant to trust the public even with knowledge of what is going on. To be frank, it would have been better to have, and lose, a referendum in Britain on the Lisbon treaty - or even Nice (2003) or even Maastricht (1993) - in all cases allowing a "leave things as is" option - than to push all of the above through a nation that clearly did not want any new treaties but never once had opinion polls showing an outright Leave majority until after the last of the above treaties was passed - compounded by, worse still, cancelling a referendum that was actually promised.

The former Euro-President Barroso (two terms, 2004-2009 and 2009-2014), in fact, turned out to have second thoughts: and after his first term which saw both the failed Constitution and the Lisbon treaty, appeared to have decided that pushing for greater centralization was a mistake, and spent much of his second term calling more for a "Europe of nations". Unfortunately, his successor Juncker is not only repeating all the worst errors of Barroso's first term but magnifying them up to eleven with his patronising, dictatorial attitude. It was very, VERY noticeable that every single time he opened his mouth during the British referendum campaign, the opinion polls would take a sharp swing in favour of Leave.

And indeed, both Farage and Johnson,  campaigning for their two separate and non-cooperating Leave campaigns, seemed to be a greater opinion-poll asset to Remain: in fact Nigel Farage's racism definitely pushed me back onto the Remain side for once and all, just when the Euro-grandees were coming ever so close to pushing me towards voting Leave.

(In Johnson's case it appears that he was *trying* to sabotage Leave by being ridiculous enough to lose votes, because he wanted a close loss rather than an actual win... while not being so ridiculous that it would jeopardize his own chances of being party leader later. Of course, the fact that Leave actually won, and he turned out to have no clue what to do with a victory for the side he was supposedly backing, like the proverbial dog who chased and caught the car, showed this up completely and has made him a figure of ridicule, making Gove's backstab inevitable - followed by the equally inevitable backlash against Gove for being a backstabber, and leaving May as the only remaining credible candidate standing for Tory leadership.)

Another thought: If the Tories had been the sole governing party in 2010, it was still soon enough that a belated yes-no referendum on the Lisbon treaty could have happened (and would inevitably have had a No vote, but with Britain remaining in an unchanged EU), instead of an in-out one on the entire membership of the EU. The Liberals had been, previously, in the unusual position of being both pro-Euro-treaty and pro-referendum, believing they could make the case and win it: but it was at THIS point, they dropped their backing for Euro-treaty referendums, and insisted that there should not be one. Far from "having one to placate his backbenchers", Cameron's first error was "NOT having one so as to placate the Liberals". By 2015 it was too late - the treaty itself being past and gone - and only an in-out referendum could be had at all, hence Cameron's decision to have one... and the realisation that he had to get either big overall reforms (for all nations) or outright concessions (for Britain) to stand any chance of winning it... and he didn't come back with what could be sold as "enough".

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In what will be a surprise to no one, Scottish First Minister Nicola Sturgeon has decided she will call for a second referendum for Scotttish Independence.

Because apparently 'once in a generation' means 'until we get the result we want'.

not looking forward to more months of divisive bullshit.  The polls have shown little if any increase in support for independence, so this might backfire horribly.

Not to mention, theres no indication from the EU that they would accept an independat Scotland, and no chance we could be grandfathered in.

 

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-scotland-scotland-politics-39255181

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