Liberal Comfort Blankets 366

Carole Cadwalladr posted a nonsensical tweet today showing the swing of opinion from Remain to Leave during the EU referendum campaign and claiming this as evidence that the Leave advertising worked.

This is a ludicrously childish assumption of cause and effect by Cadwalladr. Consider this graph showing the even more spectacular leap of support by Labour during the 2017 general election campaign. Yet the Tories vastly outspent Labour on advertising.

Then look at this graph of the Scottish Independence Referendum, where again No outspent Yes on advertising but opinion swung the other way.

Carole Cadwalladr has done excellent work on the Cambridge Analytica and Facebook data sales scandals, revealing dark doings that needed to be exposed. But the claim that advertising spending has a decisive effect on polling intentions is very dodgy indeed. In fact, looking at the examples of the Scottish Referendum and General Election, using the Cadwalladr induction method you would conclude that advertising spending is counter-productive.

But Cadwalladr’s foolish tweet today is more than an attempt to enhance the importance of the research of Carole Cadwalladr. It is part of a continuing effort by the liberal elite to find simplistic reasons why their views were rejected by a major section of the general populace in two seismic political events – Brexit, and the election of Donald Trump. The elite are seeking to comfort themselves with the idea that happenings of very marginal significance – Cambridge Analytica’s audience research, or 13 Russians allegedly trying to hack unspecified info – were in fact massive factors that explain the electorate’s “deplorable” behaviour.

For what it is worth – and perhaps it is not worth much, though it is worth more than Cadwalladr’s logical fallacy – my own view is that hatred of the political class, by a population which has come to realise it is exploited, was a major factor.

In the Brexit referendum, Remain made the fatal mistake of being fronted by detested politicians – Nick Clegg, Will and Jack Straw, George Osborne, Tony Blair. The chance to kick these people proved irresistible. Similarly Hillary was the most detested machine candidate the Democrats had available. By contrast, while the “authentic” personas of Donald Trump, Boris Johnson and Nigel Farage may be fake, they were well placed to tap into the anti-politician mood.

This also explains why Remain did much better in Scotland, where it was headed by the SNP’s far less detested politicians who are themselves regarded as anti the UK establishment

Finally, the key factor that unites all the three opinion poll charts above – General Election, Brexit and Scottish Indyref – is that opinion swings very fast indeed inside the period of broadcasting restrictions, when broadcasters have to give at least a semblance of fair time to the view which the Establishment generally derides. Unlike the advertising explanation, which works in only one out of three cases, the hypothesis that broadcasting restrictions redressing establishment bias is the most important factor, would appear to work very well in all three cases.

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366 thoughts on “Liberal Comfort Blankets

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  • Ishmael

    “my own view is that hatred of the political class, by a population which has come to realise it is exploited, was a major factor.”

    Morning Craig.

    I don’t know if they “realise” much tbf, or they would not have voted leave imo. I don’t even know if they even feel exploited, if they even see the chains. What they know if they are aware or not is for them life is getting worse, or a permanent stagnation.

    The likes of NF gave shape to things most people have no idea about, but totally avoided the real issues. Scapegoat. He pointed to the immigrants and EU policy & “everyone” said YEA, the other, all this “helping people” who are not “us”. etc etc. The right wing superman.

    The real issues are obviously a lot of British people like NF himself & this boom & bust system that has been going on for centuries now. Yes it IMO was also about kicking the elites, effecting things.

    Why do people do vandalism? Especially the young? Because it’s a way of effecting the world. They know underneath society does not give a fuck about them, so they disrespect it. Yes IMO it was an act of vandalisum more than anything. They knew it would disrupt things & it was irresistible.

    I think behind every act of vandalism is a kind of cry for help, they’ll never admit it & most aren’t even aware why they do these things. “felt like it” is normally as close as your going to get.

    • Ishmael

      That is what is so dangerous about it. Because what they really want is to fuck things up as much as possible. They want to see the building they are trying to trash fall down. NF gives them what they want by railroading it as far as he can take it.

      e.g., No, it’s not fucked up enough is what he tells them. We want to see real damage, etc. .

      ..Angry mob. Thats my take on Brexit. & they have every right to be. Just a shame they have no clue what they are doing, falling right into the worst elements hands, the very people who create the conditions they suffer in most brutally.

      It’s a joke really, the “alt-right” attack the “elites” but defend capitalism? Well obviously, because it’s those capitalists who gave their anger this absurd shape. e.g., Its not OUR elite, or at least not all of them. Like there is good’n & bad ones & they are not all much of a muchness.

      • Hatuey

        Okay so, basically, you are saying Brexit and Trump supporters are thick and angry. So thick they don’t even know why they’re angry,

        You seem to be saying the evidence of this is that they voted Brexit and Trump.

        Of course, from a technical standpoint, this is a tautology.

        • Ishmael


          Uneducated (in the technical way) about the system & the way it shapes their conditions of life. & misguided by people with nothing but their own interests at heart.

          If I had meant something so simplistic & base i’d have said it.

  • quasi_verbatim

    Of course ‘Leave’ was a rip it all up vote. If you give the untermenschen little scraps of paper and pencils, they will play.

    Brexit and Scotchit plebiscitary referenda will never be repeated, not in our lifetimes, not over the political classes’ dead body.

    • Hatuey

      Around 50% of Scottish people over the last 10 years at least have consistently expressed a desire for independence. This with one of the most powerful propaganda systems (the bbc) in human history pitted against them.

      It’s possible these two seemingly disconnected issues will become connected. It’s possible that Brexit will be so painful for Scotland that a referendum will not be required and all the propaganda in the world won’t stop Scots going on to the streets and taking it. This is the conventional route to independence.

      Worth repeating, Scotland has the resources of a rich country and the population of a small one. The people there could be rich. Instead they have Brexit, English aristocrats lording it over them, and constant lies about their situation.

  • Patrick Mahony

    Ah, the Guardian’s Louise Mensch.
    I’m half expecting an exclusive that Michael Gove was Young Pioneer dropped of in Aberdeen by a Bolshevik submarine from her.

  • Xavi

    Nice one, Craig. Doubt such obvious counter-evidence to Carole’s claim will be seen in the establishment media. These people are themselves kings of catastrophic fake news, despite now claiming to be horrified by it. (See Iraq; Libya; the giant lie that enabled a decade of austerity.)
    In fact MSM fake news was probably a bigger factor in the Leave vote than anything put about by Cambridge Analytics. For a start, they gave a handful of EU obsessed Tories undue significance and TV prominence for decades. Their obsession was never reflected in the wider public. (As late as the 2015 GE, polling showed The EU ranking at #18 on a list of issues concerning the British public.) And then during the EU referendum campaign itself they allowed Bozo to cast himself as a passionate Brexiteer, despite having reported his ardent pro-EU declarations throughout the preceding decade!
    If they’re now desperate to find evidence of fake news informing the Brexit vote they should take a long hard look in the mirror!

  • Bunkum

    Remain lost because it was backed by the establishment, banks and industry. The ordinary Joe said fcuk you and had in the main already made their minds up long before the campaigns started. The fact many voted who would not normally vote saw it as an opportunity to stick two fingers up to the lot of them. All the scaremongering since is the same as the world will stop New Year’s Day 2000 utter bunkum.

    • Johnny Too Bad

      Do you think immigration played any part in the ‘ordinary Joe’ vote?

      • Andyoldlabour

        Yes Johnny, immigration did play a big part in it, particularly people who had been personally affected by it. I don’t blame the immigrants, I blame the politicians and the greedy employers, plus the MSM who kept harping on about the “lazy British worker” and “immigrants doing the jobs which British workers won’t do”.
        Well back in 2015, I was a “lazy British worker” who was coming to the end of a six month contract in London. I was on £15 PH, not a huge amount of money when you take into account commuting etc. At the end of the contract I was told that it wouldn’t be renewed, because they could put the 20 year old Polish guy in my place (he was being paid £6.50 PH at the time, and was living in a small flat in Stratford with four other Polish guys).
        I absolutely hate the following people/institutions – Bush, Blair, Straw, Cheney, Bolton, Osborne, Cameron, Johnson, Brown, Straw, Mandelson, Trump, Merkel, Tusk, Juncker, Barnier, Tory Party, Liberal Democrats, Blairites and finally the EU.
        They are all self serving hypocrites, looking only to feather their own nests, mainly by increasing the gap between rich and poor, and capitalising on resources – exploiting the ordinary person.

        • BarrieJ

          Similarly, my wife was one of hundreds, possibly thousands of Kentish fruit pickers, having for years done the job that apparently the British won’t do, when she and her fellow workers were told that they weren’t needed anymore, the farmer could now get cheaper agency supplied labour from Eastern Europe.
          There was no debate, no negotiation over the possibility of working for less than the pittance they’d earned in previous years; just: “you’re not needed anymore”.
          She’d agree with your list of despised politicians and institutions, chances are she’d add in a few more named red Tories to the list too.
          As to the soft fruit, as far as she’s concerned if the farmers can’t get European labour to pick their fruit, then it can rot in the ground.

          • Andyoldlabour

            BarrieJ, as a Kentish person, I know all about fruit picking and heartily agree with your post. From the age of 9 to 16, I used to spend a fair bit of my Summer holidays picking strawberries and raspberries in the Sutton Valence area. It was hard work – all kneeling down in those days, getting fried by the sun, whole families involved in the picking.
            Those days are long gone, and the farmers just require young, fit workers in order that they maximise profits. Many of the East European workers live in crowded caravans or huts on the farm.
            The problem with open borders and unchecked immigration, is that workers from countries where the average wage is around £4K PA, will flood into countries where the minimum wage is around £14K PA. This in turn creates a very uneven playing field for home grown workers who want a job and ultimately to buy a house, because wages are driven down in many sectors (although NOT politicians or BBC presenters such as Gary Lineker). The foreign workers have no intention of staying, because their money from the UK will quickly make them rich in their own country.

  • John A

    The Guardian made a big thing about the foolish Swedish girl who demonstrated on a plane in Gothenburg to prevent an Afghan refugee from being deported. In actual fact, the refugee she was demonstrating about was not even on the plane.
    All she will have achieved is to boost the Sweden Democrat ratings up a few points at the upcoming general election in Sweden.
    I was in Spain when they accepted that ship with the rescued immigrants that the Italians declines to accept. The Spanish put them up in a hostel and the press reported that loads immediately absconded and melted into the countryside.

    These are the kinds of stories that make people vote Brexit and for populist parties in other EU countries, not advertising or scare stories about ‘fake’ news.
    The Social Democrats had held power almost unbroken for most of the 20th century. Usually polling 40-45%. However, around the start of the new millennium, the party embraced neoliberalism, identity politics and mass immigration. Now they are down to 20-25% and the Sweden Democrats, a populist party, are neck and neck and treated as a bunch of deplorables by Swedish media. Funny, the Clintonites, New Labour, Social Democrats, cannot put 2 and 2 together to make 4, they prefer to scream fake, Putin, Russia, Russia, Russia and similar.

        • John A

          Typ: tidningen Proletären 2017
          Den politiska kartan förändras i snabb takt. Partierna till vänster utvecklades ut arbetarrörelsen och förde på olika sätt klassens talan. Detta var länge självklart, men någon gång runt millennieskiftet hände något. Socialdemokraterna gick i nyliberal riktning och partier och strömningar till vänster därom lade allt större tonvikt på miljö, feminism, HBTQ och antirasism. Sådana frågor är viktiga men de skär över klassgränserna och det visade sig att arbetarklassens intresse och medvetenhet i många fall kom i konflikt med vänsterns politik.

          Det politiska tomrum som uppstod fylldes av SD som enligt Novus senaste väljarbarometer blivit det största partiet inom arbetarklassen med ett stöd på nästan 30 procent.

        • Stonky

          “They are sourced from Swedish media…”

          Well, that may have shut the irrepressible Ian up for a while. I’ll be interested to see if he comes back to you and starts explaining why you’re wrong.

          Probably not though.

    • FranzB

      John A – ” In actual fact, the refugee she was demonstrating about was not even on the plane.”

      Fake news – see

      “A spokesman at the Swedish Prison and Probation Service confirmed the pilot eventually decided that Ersson, the Afghan asylum seeker in his 50s and the escorts accompanying him had to leave the plane, thereby halting the planned deportation.”

      • John A

        I cant comment on an asian news channel. I go by Swedish media that are almost certainly more accurate. The guy she was protesting about was NOT on the plane. In the end, they took off a much older Afghan person to calm her down. Afterwards she admitted she did not know anything about the guy. She was protesting about the deportation rules.
        But hey, it seems anything can be smeared as ‘fake news’ these days if you dont agree with something.
        This is all besides the point I was trying to make. Namely that all such kinds of protest will achieve is more support for populist parties opposed to immigration. Especially relevant in Sweden right now as there is a general election in the autumn.

        • Stonky

          “I cant comment on an Asian news channel…”

          Well, that may have shut the irrepressible FranzB up for a while. I’ll be interested to see if he comes back to you and starts explaining why his Asian news channel is more reliable than your Swedish one.

          Probably not though.

  • Tony

    The piece lacks sufficient data to make a reasonable assessment. What needs to be known is when the spend took place, simply stating that the No campaign spent more is insufficient.
    Advertising obviously does work, and is the reason why governments employ such techniques, the tobacco companies are successful .

  • fwl

    Don’t known much about media, news etc, but something going down with perceptions re media tec stocks:

    Facebook down 19% on Thursday;

    Twitter down 19% on Friday.

    Big big moves and big sums, but not much big coverage??

  • Radar O’Reilly

    minor media stories abounding that Corbyn soft assassination campaign is underway by those nice professionals from Mossad.

    Reports from Facebook, (reminder: its users were labeled “dumb-fucks” by Zuck) that a Scottish Labour Councillor has noticed the likely failure of this particular propaganda attack.

    How will the bought-media try and spin this story without deepening the level of blowback?

    Fairly sensible overview

    Mary Lockhart made the accusation after three Jewish newspapers published a joint front page article condemning Labour over anti-Semitism.

    According to The Courier, the Fife councillor wrote on Facebook: “If the purpose is to generate opposition to anti-Semitism, it has backfired spectacularly.

    Fairly neg & foamy

    Fairly sensible

    “If it is a Mossad assisted campaign to prevent the election of a Labour Government pledged to recognise Palestine as a state, it is unacceptable interference in the democracy of Britain.

    “Whatever motivates it, and the MPs who exploit it, the Labour Party is neither racist, not anti-semitic. And the hysterical claims that it is, after inquiries, consultation, rule changes, calm and peaceable statements, should not be permitted to further influence the Party’s rules.”

    To those who think that political assassination, by an angry small nation, in European countries, is a myth – consider this documented event:-

    Paris was hit with a real dead assassination in 2010, annoying French intel agencies, who have since managed to keep the illegals in check, according to

    Where are the UK agencies on this, on-side with Mossad, or taking a French approach?

  • J

    Good stuff.

    Also worth recalling the Guardian explanation to Brexit which rolled out the very next day, focussing middle class anger where they wanted it to belong. (And which many immediately bought into.) The new era of working class ignorance and racism had begun.

    If we recall, this did not begin with any hint of ‘Russians did it’ or even, the owner class propaganda did it. The former would have to wait for the Clinton revisionist Alphabets to roll out their shiny re-painted and retrofitted anti-soviet propaganda, while the very good evidence for the latter having an existence, however effective or not, was hardly touched.

    Few if any media have explored the top down racism of imperial war with any seriousness, fewer still, the top down nature of working class racism as a necessary recruiting sergeant, both literal and figurative.

    The Guardian did their part, assuring us of the essential ignorance of the working class so that the larger purpose of divide and rule would not be interrupted. Meanwhile, look over there, the Russians are advertising! Despite the owners of Cambridge Analytica being entirely composed of the British establishment and aristocracy.

    • Ian

      Do remind us of where The Guardian assured us of the essential ignorance of the working class.

      • joeblogs

        Ian, LOL!
        You just showed your own ‘essential ignorance’ right there – comedy classic!
        But your research capability – zero.
        And the ‘us’ bit? So, there must be a set of ‘Ian.’ That, or your grammar is poor too.

      • J

        I was paying very close attention to the shifting narratives. Perhaps you were not.

  • J

    Another factor (of mild related interest, given the theme) which occurs to me but which many people are possibly unaware of: housing associations up and down the country buy block subscriptions to Sky, which is bundled into their rents, a modest fee tennants have to pay whether they choose to watch it or not.

    Many will happily watch it for the sporting coverage and will ‘incidentally’ absorb at least some of the editorial views of Sky as they do so.

    Many TV and internet packages also bundle the Trojan Horse for similar reasons, probably why Murdoch was keen to corner swathes of the market in sports coverage so early in the formation of his empire.

  • Sharp Ears

    Not forgetting the existence and influence of the ‘Nudge Unit’ once embedded in Cameron’s Cabinet Office. and now a ‘social purpose company’ whatever that is.

    ‘Behavioural Insights Team is now independent of the UK government’
    The Behavioural Insights Team – also known as the Nudge Unit – is now a social purpose company. It is partly owned by the Cabinet Office, employees and Nesta. For more information, please visit the Behavioural Insights Team’s website.

    So much for our ‘democracy’.

    • Ian

      That’s a quite different process. You can argue against it, but it has no relevance to the leave campaign’s fraud.

        • Ian

          Ah yes, that must be the case. Just posting stuff doesn’t make an argument or a connection.

    • Charles Bostock

      re the “Nudge Unit” : “So much for our ‘democracy’” (9:47 am)

      Actually, the Nudge Unit is simply the government trying to apply, in practice, some of the lessons learnt from the relatively new branch of economics known as “behavoural economics”.

      Professor Richard Thaler’s book “Misbehaving : the making of behavoural economics” (2015) recounts how this new branch came about and developed (Thaler, an economist, together with psychologists Amos Tversky and Daniel Kahneman, is considered to be the founding father of behavoural economics.

      Behavoural economics – and therefore the Nudge Unit and similar – is a cross between a science and an art and has nothing to do with any particular political philosphy (democracy, the various forms of non-democracy, etc.

      It is however fair to say that democratic government would make greater use of “nudges” than authoriarian, non-democratic governments. It is doubtful whether governments like that of Russia and China would have much time for that particuylar way of persuading people to do *this* and not do *that*.

  • quasi_verbatim

    I note that Orlov at RI asserts: “They poisoned him with an exotic chemical and then tried to pin the blame on Russia with no evidence”.

    The MP for Salisbury, on the other hand, has confidently bought into the Russophobic Official Narrative Conspiracy Theory.

    Attempting to reconcile these competing ideas is highly likely to lead to cognitive defecation.

    I favour the third, more romantic explanation, one which features unrequited love. Cherchez la femme.

  • Diehard momentumist

    Which begs the question, why do the 99% elect leaders of the 1% in the first place, who then go on to skew the system in favour of their own, no rocket science here. The yvette coopers,chuka umunas and margaret hodges will have a lot to answer for if Corbyn fails to win the coming election.

    • Ishmael


      It’s a bankers education we get. It’s for employment, not social progress or critical thinking. Like lambs to the saluter, literally.

  • Ishmael

    I think its a big problem, being stuck in ideology, Eg liberal & conservative. Left & right. Vague terms.

    I found it far more enlightening reading, ‘The Condition of the Working Class in England in 1844’ by Friedrich Engels

    It puts all this in it’s larger context. Readers can find the free audiobook on libriVox

    Chapter 5 is a belter. Social murder. …local workers “operatives” etc can’t believe my age, not that I don’t work, but I’m not exploited & used up by middle age like them. & I rarely visit the doctor. It may not AS bad as then but it’s the same in many ways, & victorian diseases are on the rise.

  • Gilbert Pinf

    I think what supports Craig’s thesis more than anything else is the failure of the pollsters. On any level, the establishment pundit/analysts got both Brexit and Trump wrong.
    At the simplest level, polling companies are rightly seen as extensions of the corporate/media establishment; and, as a result, many voters are reluctant to engage with them at all; and, of those who do, some are wary to voice anti-establishment views. This is the kind of observation that would have seemed ho-hum twenty or thirty years ago. And yet in 2016 people were incredulous at the ‘shy Brexit/Trump’ thesis. They assumed there must be another explanation.
    Now, two years later, the social penalty seems to have increased for supporting anti-establishment positions. What was then a raised eyebrow is now a kicking, so to speak.
    Polls on the US mid-terms and on Brexit should be treated with great scepticism.

  • Artie

    I think your conflating the amounts paid for advertising and their effectiveness. I am not a social media animal but towards the end of the last general election I saw what Momentum were doing on Twitter and it was hard hitting, funny and in tune with the zeitgeist. These attack ads were produced outside the normal consultancies and probably on a shoestring. I was less aware of what was happening on social media during the EU but I did catch one or two leave ads that were very crude but simple messages based on more money for the NHS and immigration; as much as I disagreed with them they reflected the views I was hearing on the streets. To my mind the changes in polling figures represents the ‘don’t knows’ making up their minds and the closer you get to polling day the more uncertain those decisions are going to be and thus more susceptible to changing their minds. In the last general election I would argue the creative passion was with Labour; in the EU and the Scottish referendums is was with the leave sides whereas their opposition were dower with a lot of baggage. Whilst we cannot know if advertising changed these results we have to remember that advertising purely by the size of the media industry it support is successful at what it does. To this end we need bring social media into election regulations.
    Where I do agree that this a silly tweet is that it assuming that referendum can be overturn on a legal point. I voted remain but I recognise the vote can only be overturn when a significant number of leave voters change their minds. This is not going to happen with present approach of focusing on either procedure matters or whether the Labour Party takes a stronger remain position.

    • Ian

      It wasn’t a mere ‘legal point’, or technicality. They broke the law, committed fraud and lied about it, and are still doing so. It opens a can of worms, but you cannot say that the result is somehow not tainted and brought into question by it, whatever the inconvenience. It is an uncomfortable truth so many people wish to evade.

  • Sharp Ears

    O/T The frackers and drillers are after Surrey’s oil and gas – Angus Energy at Brockham and Europa at Leith Hill.

    Paul Vonk, who is the MD of Angus Energy plc, was Vice President of the Royal Bank of Scotland 2006-2011. Nicely through the crash there with Fred the Shred et al. He owns 4.6% of Angus’s share capital.

    Surrey CC’s planners have just rolled over to them.
    Surrey planners recommend approval of “unauthorised” oil well drilled in 2017

    Leith Hill oil site: Europa seeks three more years – plus updates on licence extension and permit

    It is a most beautiful part of the country soon to be despoiled by rigs, heavy transport, traffic, and pollution of the air and aquifers

    Note that fracking and drilling is now a Tory free for all.

    and a ‘fracking commissioner’ is being recruited to absorb the protests.

  • fredi

    Remember all that talk of ‘hard brexit’ on these boards ? What utter nonsense, it was never going to happen, the deep state would (and has) not allowed it, but just as they miscalculated horribly when they offered the referendum to finally silence the voices against the corporate tyranny of the EU, they will again under estimate the mood of Europe.Thankfully their European superstate is doomed in the longer term, whatever measures they take now.

    The UK now faces humiliation with any ‘deal’ it makes with this devil, we are to be made an example of, to be punished for daring to break away from the pack. The best deal is no deal, however hard that transition would be, but sadly we face something worse.

    The EU was constructed to eliminate the forces of extremism, bring unity, prosperity and peace to Europe.
    It has failed to do so, and is gradually crumbling in front of us, most of us will live to see it’s demise. It may even end with a war.

    . The economic hard times haven’t even started, the 2008 financial crisis was just a glimpse of the chaos that is coming, this is what will finally finish off the globalists delusion. All the politicians, bureau-rats, corporate giants and compliant media will not be able to stop the disaster they did so much to create..

    Sovereign nations will once more emerge from the ashes.

    • Ishmael

      You mean crash out. Mad max brexit.

      Why don’t you stop blaming the EU for what our government is responsible for. The conditions it creates. & The crash was not some act of god. They know it does this, they enforce this diisorder never the less.

      You don’t think they could have built houses, made a reasonable minimum wage, Tax the rich & re-distibute wealth? …We are not Greece. We are as sovereign as we need to be. Always have been. It’s a choice. “WE” make ones that keep the working classes at a substance level & insecure because the royal “WE” don’t care. It’s serves capital profit & exploitation. & to make people believe it’s their lot to be poor. An agenda that’s gone on long enough.

      The monetary union of the EU is another question, & their business to sort.

  • Francis Waring

    Good point, thank you.
    One could add that there is, I think, evidence that a real effect of an advertising barrage, is that it causes some people, who usually don’t bother to vote, to do so this time.
    It ill becomes democrats to object to something that increases participation!

    • Ian

      When you specifically target people who don’t normally vote, clandestinely, and tell them if they don’t get off their arse, then Turkey will be joining the EU and millions of them and others will be coming to your town, then that is not just a lie, but a fraudulent one.

  • Anon1

    I suppose I cling to some quaint ideas about national sovereignty, but I imagine for many people Trump and Brexit were about delivering a well deserved kick in the teeth to people who say things like “All concern about immigration is racist”.

    I don’t know why you are including the indyref in this popular backlash against the globalist liberal establishments. The Scots voted to Remain, in both referendums.

    • Ishmael

      But it’s more of less true. That doesn’t mean many voted out of personal racism, but the feelings they had where framed by racists. So yes, those that voted out of concern for immigration, they where being racist by blindly following the narrative.

      The facts of it’s impact on their lives was distorted. Im sure a good 1% are & do hold overt racist views. Others where clear to point out they had nothing against so and so, but again, they are told it mattered. .

      Is it a real problem? Sure within the “free” market system it can be used to bring down conditions. Set workers against each other. But that’s just the “no alternative” religious indoctrination used to exploit them in the first place, by those who face no such “imperatives” as the poor..

      Capitalists have always used this to set people against each other. ….Real scum of the earth.

      • Ishmael

        I qualify that, I obviously don’t know if many who led much of that aspect were actually racist ether, But it was used by them. Nationalism, xenophobia.

        Why look at facts when we have religion. Most all the political classes foster this to an extent. Make the plebs feel exceptional. I still remember the blair PR, flying over the cliffs of dover (Before invading iraq) The “We are special” video.

        Has anyone seen that about btw? …That was some real nazi shit.

        • Ishmael

          O . it was after it seems? His resignation speech,

          “The British are special. The world knows it. In our innermost thoughts we know it. This is the greatest nation on earth”

          Your all the same arn’t you. Fostering this nazi crap.

    • Republicofscotland

      Yeah I suppose David Bannerman Tory MEP is one of your heroes?

      “A Conservative MEP has come under fire for suggesting that Britain’s Treason Act should be updated to apply to citizens who are “working undemocratically against UK through extreme EU loyalty”.

      They should start by locking up the British government, who’ve seriously damaged the economy, and undermined the British citizens at every turn.

  • Anon1

    We should also recall, before he goes completely off on one about “the Elite” ignoring the little people, that Craig said the vote of 17.4 million people to leave the European union should be ignored by the establishment.

    • Republicofscotland

      If you’re honest with yourself (unlikely) vote leave was built on too many foreigners are ruining the country mantra. The posters of so called thousands of Romanians and the threat of thousands of Turks flooding in and over running Britain was of course bollocks.

      That’s why in my opinion folk voted to leave, the majority were frightened into voting leave, others voted to leave because they loathe Johnny Foreigner. Now Northern England, which voted to leave will suffer greatly at the hands of Brexit.

      Scots will hold a second indyref in the conclusion of the Brexit tragedy, however for remainers in England and Wales and NI, there’s no life boats for them on HMS Brexitannia.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    Agree wholeheartedly with Craig’s basic analysis. Worthwhile to add that the differential between the Brexit vote in Scotland and that in England was not minor but cataclysmic.
    UK wide voted 52 to 48 for Brexit.
    England and also Wales voted 53 to 47 for Brexit.
    Scotland voted 62 to 38 for Remain.
    Every Parliamentary constituency in Scotland voted Remain. Even the constituencies in the NE where fishing is a major employer voted Remain.
    The NE and NW of England (a mix of rural and urban similar to Scotland) voted 56 to 44 for Brexit.
    The fact that the debate in Scotland had the SNP heading up the Remain side will have been a factor in the amazing differential in results but I would argue that the SNP were knocking at an open door and that door was open as a legacy of 2014.
    The self propagating, flourishing of political education and discourse facilitated substantially by the Radical Independence Campaign, is a resilient legacy.
    The dodgy propaganda of the official Leave campaign and the even dodgier propaganda from Farage, Banks and co. may have had a receptive audience in England but in Scotland, it fell on barren soil.

    • Stu

      The difference between Scotland and England is that Scots are used to being a minor part of a political union while in England a supremacist nationalist fantasy flourishes.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        Valid point. You could argue that Scotland benefited from the EU Regional Development Fund (Central belt for a short period, Highlands & Islands for a bit longer). Bizarrely, Wales substantially benefited from ERFD but still voted Leave, go figure?
        Perhaps the crucial point is that with Renascence man, genius, Gideon directing strategy for Remain, ERFD didn’t feature as an argument. Gideon allowed Leave to couch the debate purely in transactional terms of “we pay more in than we get out and it’s sooo unfair”.

  • Stephen Townsley

    It’s not just about advertising, which the Tories used in 2017, but of micro targeting. The suggestion is the advertising was specifically targeted at specific groups.

    Also the votes are not comparable directly. A national referendum means the spread of advertising is different from onstituency based polls. I live in a Labour constituency and can not recall seeing Conservative ads. I would suggest it is more in specific constituencies.

  • Ros Thorpe

    I agree with this which is why it was so wrong to hold the referendum in the first place. Cameron was warned about it many times but arrogantly went ahead and then fled when presented with the result. If only the politicians would admit that it is practically a waste of time and be honest with people. It was as much austerity and xenophobia that fuelled the leave vote too and Cameron’s government sowed the seeds of this with their divisive striver versus sciver rhetoric and draconian cuts. They own this mess

    • Xavi

      Austerity, Libya, Brexit .. Cameron owns all three disasters. But instead of being in jail or in hiding, he’s out there providing his wisdom to some of the UK’s biggest firms, at the rate of £120,000 an hour.

      • Node

        This is how big corporations reward a politician who has ‘done them a favour’ – pay the ‘bung’ into their accounts under legal pretenses.

        • BarrieJ

          Absolutely, the speaking circuit and the book deals are no more than money laundering. Almost without exception their memoirs end up unsold in Poundland and if they were to turn up at a local village hall to share with us their political and economic expertise I doubt that two men and a dog would show up, even if entry was free.

  • Stu

    Someone needs to tell Carole Caldwalladr that the UK was pushing for Turkey to join the EU in 2005 led by Jack Straw.

    It has been on the table so surely is a legitimate topic.

    • Ian

      By 2016 there was no chance of Turkey joining. Regardless of the merits, telling targeted people that Turkey was definitely joining is fraud.

      • Vivian O'Blivion

        See also European Defence Force. I remember the BBC giving airtime to some old retired General, buffer going on about “our Tommy Atkinsons being forced out of our proud crimson and bearskins and into drab German green”. The European Defence Force canard still does the rounds in the loonysphere. Certainly some bureaucrat in Brussels may be pushing for such a development but that doesn’t mean that it will ever materialise. Not that I think that it would necessarily be a bad idea, particularly with NATO no longer being fit for purpose, but the merest suggestion of Euro Force causes Daily Mail land to self combust (not a bad thing).

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