Interfering with Laura Kuenssberg 996


Last night the BBC was reporting on the Conservative manifesto. This is a document whose most striking pledge is to fill in some of the potholes in roads that have proliferated due to massive cuts in local authority funding, and to give free hospital car parking to those visiting a terminally ill relative. Just think of the last one. How do you prove your relative is terminally ill? What if there is a chance they might get better? The administration of this system is going to require people to have some form of certificate or token that all hope is now lost. For the car park. The Tories are all heart.

As the News continued, Laura Kuenssberg told us that the battle lines between the parties are now clearly drawn, and the major division is over how much the government “should interfere in the economy”.

Interfere. Not intervene. Not regulate. Interfere. It is a very deliberate choice of word. Let me turn to the Oxford English Dictionary:

Interfere

1) Prevent from continuing or being carried out properly
2) Handle or adjust without permission
3) Become involved in something without being asked
4) Sexually molest

Words matter. Kuenssberg chose a word with powerful negative connotations and no possible positive meaning, to describe the alternative to the Tories. Kuenssberg talking of government interfering in, rather than intervening in, the economy is in itself a very strong and explicit declaration of Kuenssberg’s belief in an Ayn Rand, “Britannia unchained”, free market, ultra neo-liberal world view. To explicitly frame the choice in the election as between the Tories and “interfering” is just another example of the way the BBC slants their election coverage, permanently.

Now I started to draft an article three days ago, before that particular Kuenssberg propaganda masterclass.

Here is what I wrote as a draft three days ago:

“Maybe I am just unlucky. I have had television news bulletins transport me to hear vox-pops featuring former Labour voters in Dudley who now want to vote Conservative to GET BREXIT DONE. I have seen vox pops in fishing wharves in Peterhead and Grimsby, in dismal cafes in Hartlepool, in bingo halls in Yarmouth, in pubs back in Dudley, on high streets in Wakefield, in a shopping mall in Thurrock, in hardware stores back in bloody Dudley again. The country is full of people who want to GET BREXIT DONE, and who will NEVER VOTE LABOUR AGAIN.

The strange thing is that I have not seen a single vox pop from Richmond, featuring an educated woman who is switching from a lifetime of Tory voting because they have become a far right party and are going to crash the economy with hard Brexit. But there are many people like that in Richmond, and indeed all over London, and throughout much of southern England. They exist but are not worth vox-popping, apparently. Because they are not the broadcasters’ chosen “narrative”.

The BBC, ITN and Sky will doubtless defend the very obviously targeted demographic and destination of their “vox-pops” on the grounds that this is the “narrative” of the election. But that is a self-reinforcing prophecy. The public are relentlessly being told that what ordinary people want is to “GET BREXIT DONE” and to vote Tory. But that is actually only what about 40% of the people want. We just aren’t being shown the other 60% as the broadcasters focus relentlessly on areas with the highest leave vote, and on vox pop subjects with the least possible education.”

While that passage was atill on the stocks, last night, alongside the Kuenssberg analysis, the BBC gave us a vox pop from the Rother Valley that fitted perfectly the above description. It came from a Yorkshire Labour seat that voted Leave. It featured Labour voters who will now vote Conservative. The ladies interviewed were perfectly primed with precisely the main Tory slogans. A lady told us she wanted Boris so we could “get Brexit done and get on with domestic reforms”. Another ex-Labour voter told us she would vote for Boris because “he may not be trustworthy, but I like him”. Trust and likeability are two factors the pollsters regularly measure. It is important for the Tories that voters prioritise likeability over trust, because Johnson’s Trust numbers are appalling. How fortunate that the BBC happened to find a little old lady in the Rother Valley who could express this so succinctly!

Or maybe it is not so surprising. With the mainstream media as such a reliable echo chamber of public slogans, perhaps it is not surprising to find the public just echo them too, as they do in North Korea. The state media in the UK is of course not the only propaganda outlet. Billionaires control 87% of print news media by circulation, and are aggressively Tory for obvious reasons of self-interest.

This leads to the incredible circularity of the “Newspaper Reviews” that take up such a high proportion of broadcast news output. The broadcasters “review” the overwhelmingly right wing print media. And who do they invite to do the reviewing? Why the billionaire employed journalists of the overwhelmingly right wing print media, of course! So we have the surreal experience of watching journalists from the Times and the Spectator telling us how great an article in the Daily Mail is, about how Corbyn is a Russian spy and Scotland not really a country at all.

If that was not bad enough, we then get deluged by “commentators” from “think tanks” which are again billionaire funded, like the Institute of Economic Affairs and scores of others, sometimes with money thrown in from the security services, like the Quilliam Foundation and scores of others. It is a never-ending closed circular loop of propaganda.

The truth is that it largely works. Social media is overwhelmingly sceptical of the government narrative, but we still live in a society where the power of mass broadcasting and even print retains a remarkable amount of influence, particularly on the old and the poorly educated. It is no coincidence that it is precisely the old and the poorly educated that are the targets of Cummings’ “Brexit election” strategy. If it comes off, Kuenssberg and her fellow hacks will have proven that the power of the mainstream media is as yet unbroken.

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996 thoughts on “Interfering with Laura Kuenssberg

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  • Richard Ian Crawford

    Kuensberg’s family reads like Debrett’s, so it should come as no surprise to note her biases. The BBC has been a Conservative Party poodle, at least since the Kelly affair scuppered Greg Dyke, while even at its most radical in the sixties it limited itself to having presenters with funny accents. What annoys me the most is the pretence that privatising it would change its ‘liberal stance’ ?!

    You and I, Craig, come from a time when, if you were good enough, you were good enough, before Blair abolished student grants and egalitarianism meant precisely that but now it means Guardian bean-counters worrying whether there are enough toilets in Lubbock for transsexuals, and if it is a good idea for poor people to have cars.. Poor Laura had to use her connections and family finances to get where she is today!! We don’t want some pleb coming along and upstaging her.

    • Dungroanin

      Glad that LauraK is getting the attention she deserves finally. She knows her cover is blown.
      They are in a last ditch exercise before getting the ‘heavies’ in.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      In 1926 the BBC denied a voice to trade union leaders and Labour politicians who wanted to inform the nation of the conditions working people laboured under and the reasons for the strike.
      The BBC has never been any different, it’s always supported the establishment and the status quo.
      It’s duplicity has been exposed by the Internet and peoples’ ability to receive news from multiple sources, debate and discuss it.
      For our family the BBC is finished.

    • Dungroanin

      Btw – the twitter responses of Laura, Robert, Huw… are a sight to behold -they are being muellered.

      Also while here re bobo – we all know how crap he is at actual debate or thinking – why isn’t there a kerfuffle about him sporting a in-ear earpiece which is no doubt giving him the words to say?

      When he got a question which he wasn’t expecting he looked left towards the back of the room with a bit of a shrug and started waffling ….Shergar!

      Lol.

      • Ort

        This reminds me of the claim that candidate George W. Bush was wearing a hidden wireless device of some kind during a 2004 debate with Hillary Clinton– a scientist with expertise in image analysis produced enhanced photos showing some object on Bush’s back which distorted the fabric of his suit jacket.

        This kerfuffle was ephemeral; despite a flurry of articles, the story didn’t get much traction and faded away without consequence.

        While checking the date of this anemic scandal, I discovered that accusing politicians of cheating in debates by means of secret communications devices has become a “thing”. Most conventional or mainstream articles breezily debunk the prospect and attribute the idea to the ravings of demented “conspiracy theorists”, which my own demented skepticism suggests that there must be some truth to the allegation.

        Still, the majority of the public doesn’t seem to mind. Perhaps they are tolerant and sympathetic, and realize that “electable” politicians need to minimize their deficiencies in order to stay competitive. Thus, these clandestine devices are discreetly humored as prosthetic necessities, rather like wearing a hairpiece or lifts in one’s shoes.

        • Dungroanin

          There are photos of Johnsons earpiece.

          Can you imagine what would be happening if Corbyn was using one!
          Laura. Robert & every newspaper would be having a field day declaring how incapable he is.

    • Jim C

      “is in itself a very strong and explicit declaration of Kuenssberg’s belief in an Ayn Rand, “Britannia unchained”, free market, ultra neo-liberal world view”

      Whatever Kuenssberg is, she’s not a fan of Ayn Rand, who detested the corporatism that dominates our economies… and which is a collectivist, ie LEFT-WING, phenomenon.

      Much as I like (most of) Craig’s work, I wish he’d pick up an economics textbook and get a more nuanced appreciation of what “left” and “right” might actually mean.

  • Shatnersrug

    We’ve been here before, many many times, let’s not forget that Labour missed winning by jut over 2000 votes last time. In the mean time many older folks have passed on and new youngsters have registered to vote charities are offering addresses to the homeless so that they may register to vote, we will see demographics that have never voted before

    I could easily fall into this hopeless narrative, but let’s save it till after the tories have won again. Right now, out of the blue, an election has materialised were we have a chance of booting them out before 2022, that was by no means inevitable a year ago

    So Hang on folks. the election is a slither of light in the dark tunnel – let’s not stuff it out with our own fears just get eh?

    And of course with such an unstable govt if the tories do win there may well be another election in 18 months so unstable are they

    • Pyewacket

      Shatnersrug. I well remember at the last election, the snap one, inspired by Theresa’s Wordsworthian stroll in the Cambrian Hills. On election night, various talking heads were predicting a Tory majority of between 50 and a 100 seats. One fool, I can’t remember exactly who, even said that if her majority was less than 50 he’d eat his hat. Well look how that turned out hahaha ! I guess the hat, is still safe though, and unchewed.

      • Royd

        ‘One fool, I can’t remember exactly who, even said that if her majority was less than 50 he’d eat his hat. Well look how that turned out hahaha ! I guess the hat, is still safe though, and unchewed.’ It remains ‘unchewed’ and will forevermore since it was Paddy Ashdown who said it. I don’t think he was much of a ‘fool’ though. 🙂

    • Muscleguy

      Not seen before, except of course in Scotland during our IndyRef and the 2016 SNP landslide General Election.

      While canvassing in the indyref we all carried voter registration forms and envelopes and these were collected at the end of the canvass and hand delivered to City Chambers the next day. I have waited I don’t know how many times while these were filled in.

      Next time we will have to have cards with the website address on them and/or offer our phones set up to the website for those who are not online. Yes they still exist, the council has set up job clubs in suburban libraries (yes we still have them in Scotland) so those without can look and apply for jobs online where they all are these days. You need an email address as well to get informed about interviews and of course view all your rejections.

      This is not helped by the UK gov managed jobcentres whipping people into applying for an arbitrary number of vacancies a week, regardless of the number of appropriate jobs for the jobseeker. This means you now have to get past computer algorithms which scan CV’s and the almost ubiquitous online forms for keywords and/or the online scenario questions before having any chance at all.

      I was briefly employed early this year to help long term unemployed folk navigate this minefield. Now I’m back among them, except I find myself having to juggle interviews on Thursday at opposite sides of the city. Very different jobs, an administrator or a taker of blood samples in the hospital. I am a man of many talents, the problem is convincing employers.

      The people I volunteer with are convinced of it and I have their reference which is almost certainly helping. I was accused of having many talents just last week. Sadly the opportunities to teach gluten free baking for money in Dundee are not legion.

  • Mike

    Hi Craig,

    I hope you’re well.

    Here’s another example from the BBC. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/health-50397847

    Instead of just stating Labour’s spending plans the journalist, Nick Triggle, frames the story as ‘Labour vows to outspend Tories on the NHS’ – feeding into the stereotypical idea that Labour is a reckless spending machine that will bankrupt the country.

    It’s especially odd seeing as further down in the article there is this:

    – – – –
    Labour’s proposals were welcomed by NHS leaders.
    Niall Dickson, chief executive of the NHS Confederation, which represents managers, said the pledge represented a “significant extra investment” on top of what has been set by the government.
    “If used wisely, it would help to transform services and retain front-line staff.”
    – – – –

    So, a more accurate title for the piece would have been: “Labour’s NHS proposals were welcomed by NHS leaders.”

    Best regards,

    Mike.

  • Pyewacket

    I’ve noticed that the Tories have preferred and used three word mantras for the past couple of years. We had Theresa’s Strong and Stable, and Brexit means Brexit, and now Boris’s Get Brexit Done, all very neat, tidy, and succinct. On the other hand, Labour have opted for a slightly longer: For the Many, Not the Few. I suppose this is all related to the logic of advertising, and minimalising the message, so they stick in people’s minds. The problem is, people quickly get sick and fed up of them when they’re repeated ad nauseum, and inwardly groan every time they’re spouted, a bit like an annoying advert. Oh, and as for saintly Laura, I bet she gets a gong sometimes soon, for services to journdalism or some such like. Surely her loyalty has been noticed by the right people.

    • glenn_uk

      By coincidence, no doubt, Trump’s rallies include three-word chants, mostly racist and misogynist, such as “Lock Her Up!” / “Send Her Back” / “Build The Wall” and so forth. Strange how often US right wing talking points and tactics make their way over here (‘Wealth creators’, “workers not shirkers”, and the like). I’ve thought for years that no bad idea ever stays in America.

        • glenn_uk

          It might be news to you, but in democracies it’s not considered good form to campaign on a platform of locking up your political opponents.

          • pretzelattack

            oh i thought he was talking about lock her up as a criminal. if he was merely advocating locking her up because she was his political opponent, i agree that that is bad.

      • Pyewacket

        Glenn. There’s also War against Terror and the War on Drugs, both of which have been around quite some time. The former by Bush jnr and the latter, I think was Reagan’s.

          • Pyewacket

            Thanks for the correction. WoD now being deployed with deadly effect by El Presidente Duterte of the Phillipines.

  • Anthony

    Yes, I saw that BBC report from Rother Valley last night. An ex mining community populated almost entirely by happy Tories. Its token heavy hearted Labour loyalist predictably a despiser of Jeremy Corbyn.

    Their framing of the Conservatives’ austerity forever manifesto was equally Goebbelian, the write up on their website beginning: “Compared to the Labour manifesto, Boris Johnson’s plan for the country is a shopping list of promises, not an encyclopedia of ambitions.”

    You may regret directly quoting Laura Kuenbsberg though. The Randian is an icon of the liberal class and quoting her words with any hint of disapproval will almost certainly see you branded a detestable misogynist. (Although tbf that’s probably a category they consigned you to long ago for supporting Julian Assange..)

  • Crispa

    ITV’s news reporting on the other hand is notably naff though its propagandist impact is probably similar to that of the BBC by making the “many” out to to be stupid and to be led by the “few”. Yesterday it reported from Wolverhampton by seeking a woman’s political views while she was in a swimming pool with her baby, another’s while climbing a wall in a gym, three embarrassed young women who, when asked if they approved of Johnson, giggled no, and yes the proverbial old lady who wanted Brexit done. The msm just makes a travesty of the political process.

    • Mary

      Ditto Murdoch’s Sky News with a pretence of being more questioning.

      https://news.sky.com/politics

      Both on Sky and the BBC ‘News’ Channel, opportunities are given every night to panels (composed of the likes of Julia Hartley Brewer, the young females from the right wing Institute of Economic Affairs, reporters, correspondents, etc) to repeat all the memes from the papers. Incestuous stuff. They call the episodes ‘Press Review’, Tomorrow’s Papers and so on.

  • Wikikettle

    It still amazes me that people pay the liscenc fee to get propaganda and life time wasting ‘entertainment’. Then spend Sundays buying a ton of papers ! In the thirties both working folk and intellectuals had the balls to go to Spain to fight Franco. Today alas we are all arm chair warriors Mr Angry’s from Upminster’s.

    • Michael

      I don’t watch much TV and never watch BBC News but I pay my license to keep their wolves from my door. If there was any other way to not pay and keep them away I would do it, but I want my TV for the odd decent film or documentary. Until we have a movement of non-payment en mass I can be picked off and fined way beyond what I can afford so the license, so far, works out cheaper.

      • le Rat

        You cant expect a mass movement of non-payment if you aren’t willing to take a stand yourself. Presumably you want everything else handed to you on a plate too.

        “Socialism? Sure! Wont fight for it mate, but once you get it started let me know and I’ll join in!.”

      • Billy Brexit !

        If you keep the television in an upstairs room and away from the windows there is zero chance of it being detected. If the goons come knocking, politely decline and close the door in their faces. TV detector vans were only ever a fear tool to encourage take up. The licence fee is well overdue review and cancellation but then so are many UK institutions.

        • grafter

          Haven’t paid it for the last 9 years. Watch utube selectively and read. Let’s start educating ourselves ! Don’t pay them anything to be spoon fed shit.

          • AndyH

            You don’t need to pay your TV license. Go on the website, put in your address and add a fake name… they will leave you alone and you save your pocket money for beer.

      • Tony

        Michael, you can watch as many movies and documentaries as you want, so long as they are not on live TV. We invited the TV licence guy into our home on his visit after I cancelled my licence payment. He actually agreed with my explanation and told me that it’s the way everyone’s going to go eventually! Please, please cancel your subscription.

  • Vivian O'Blivion

    This is quite a good article (despite being in the Guardian) on the inherent establishment bias of the BBC.

    https://amp.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/24/bbc-impartiality-elite-consensus-crisis-legitimacy?__twitter_impression=true

    The BBC performs like a circus sealion for the Government of the day for security and advancement. It is not answerable to the fabled license fee payers or to Parliament, purely the Prime Minister and their executive.
    The article touches on Kuenssberg’s “outsider” status ’cause she only went to a private, fee paying school in soap dodging, Weegieland and only went to some uncouth University in t’ North.
    Two broad questions.
    Given that the BBC is a quasi Public Sector body, why are they allowed to practice blatantly discriminatory recruitment policies in regard to class, educational background (not attainment) and nepotism?
    Given that all,of the above is common knowledge (in Scotland at least) why does the SNP continue to collaborate in maintaining the fiction that the BBC is a paragon of impartiality?

    • Vivian O'Blivion

      Randomly generated sample by taking the first 20 names on the Wiki list; BBC newsreaders and reporters (given in alphabetical order). I haven’t heard of half of them.
      Privately educated – 40%. (where individual’s Wiki page is unclear on nature of school, assumption is State education)
      Attended Oxbridge – 25%.

    • Clydebuilt

      V. Old Blivian

      ” SNP continue to collaborate in maintaining the fiction that the BBC is a paragon of impartiality”

      Keith Brown writes frequent articles in the National re BBC Bias and complains to the broadcaster. The paper had several front page headlines pointing out BBC Bias. These get seen on news stands.
      If the party diesn’t put people up for interview many will take it as a failure by the party, not being prepared to stand their ground. Your average punter would never hear the SNP’s argument. So folk are put up for interview, they have to combat the interviewer and opposition parties combined.
      That’s just the way it is If you’ve got a better idea lets hear it.

  • Rod

    Mr Murray, the advice you gave in your previous essay title not to despair of this coming election makes the likelihood of that extremely hard after reading the above piece. Without doubt the Tories have, it seems, persuaded the poor and ignorant segment of the population to voice their intentions to vote against their best interests and they have been extremely successful in achieving it. It is clear to me the movers and shakers behind these Conservative policies have targeted those who considered themselves left behind after the Labour administrations were dismissed by the electorate. Mr Corbyn clearly still has an uphill struggle to overcome the Tory narratives advertised as truths by the likes of Ms Kuenssberg and her employers.

    In Tressel’s ‘Ragged Trousered Philanthropists’ the character Owen proffered the notion that those in the working class who didn’t know the consequences of what they were voting for should be denied the vote; I’m beginning to have some sympathy with him.

    • Grouser

      Ragged Trousered Philanthopists is one of the best books ever written and I would recommend it to anyone who has not read it yet. In today’s society we only lack workhouses to bring us back to those times. I also feel that the incoherent ramblings of many of those interviewed bears out Tressel’s view that the vote should be somewhat restricted. Their ability to hold two seemingly conflicting views is amazing to me – Johnson is untrustworthy but I am going to trust him to run the country.

    • Mighty Drunken

      I wouldn’t say the Tories persuaded the poor. I would say the media, with the help of political think tanks and “mainstream” economists. It feels that the establishment have a strong hold over the media and they can rely on a host of “experts” to back them up.

  • Harry Hopkins

    The BBC question time leaders special highlighted the following: Corbyn and Sturgeon were the winners (inspite of a four times planted anti Corbyn stooge) and Johnson and Swinson were woeful. Johnson was jeered, booed and laughed at especially on the question of trust whilst Swinson was met with stoney silence throughout her desperate attempts to camouflage and to justify her right wing record. Fiona Bruce surprised by allowing the audience free rein to criticise the PM and indeed did so herself highlighting his lies and obfuscation. What was not seen however, was the 3000 crowd outside the Sheffield venue that Corbyn addressed beforehand to rapturous applause whilst Johnson snuck in by the back door.
    There is no doubt that the BBC is in the hands of the Tory party. Neither is there any doubt that ITV and Sky are also part of the rich cartel pumping out anti Corbyn propaganda (Peston is as bad as Kuensberg in his enthusiasm to relay Tory rubbish without any forensic examination). However, I cannot help but detect a hardening of the MSM attitude to the Tories under Johnson as the days go by. Piers Morgan shredded Nicky Morgan over the fictitious 50,000 extra nurses claim this morning and Sky ridiculed Matt Hancock with regard to the closure of A&E at Telford that only minutes before Johnson had pledged to keep open at his manifesto launch.

    The Victorians built sewerage systems and infrastructure not out of the goodness of their hearts and sympathy for the poor but because the worse conditions became the more it would affect themselves and their quality of life. After all, they had to occupy the same ‘space’ as was harbouring disease, dirt and crime and that would never do. Similarly, whilst the MSM will never back Corbyn I detect a softening in their anti Corbyn approach and their toughening against the Incompetent, lieing, and short term self interest that Johnson represents. After all, do they really want a country with more homelessness, rampant poverty, insecurity for many which would undoubtedly lead to higher crime and civil unrest and a reversion in many ways to standards seen in third world countries.
    There comes a time when even the rich and privileged recognise that things have gone too far and for their own sake (for they never do anything than for their own sake) they put the brakes. Johnson, Trump and Farage (not to mention Tommy Robinson) represent the extreme right wing and I do not believe that those who’s interests are served by the MSM share those extreme views.
    On the ground and away from the Newspapers and TV, Corbyn is popular and cheered wherever he goes. Johnson avoids public contact and on the odd occasion that he does he interact with people he is booed and jeered—-an elderly constituent of his not long ago called him a ‘despicable toe rag.’

    I am not pessimistic about the outcome of this election. Indeed I predict that Johnson and many more of his Tory cohorts will lose their seats and not only that but the rump of the LibDems who will be left will be looking for a new leader as Nicola will undoubtedly unseat her.
    It is a bonus that we have an election now and not in 2022. I think that all of us are going to be very surprised at the result. I am not pessimistic— quite the reverse in fact.

  • David Price

    I suspect the car parking administration is more likely to be you pay the ticket each time you visit and keep the receipt, On the death of your loved one on hospital premises, present the receipts for reimbursement – a neat psychological trick that will discourage uptake. But still, comedy gold for husband dragged along to visit ailing mother-in-law in hospital.

  • Wikikettle

    As George Galloway pointed out last night – how do you expect Labour supporters to vote for Blairites. I hope that he and Chris Williamson get back into the Commons as Independents, to ask real cutting questions to the Executive.

      • Wikikettle

        Anthony. Indeed. I don’t like the EU and worry about the Nationalism that will be caused by us leaving. We however did have a referendum and Brexit won. Galloway accepts the result. How many referendums do we have ? Perhaps the people deserve Brexit and Boris and zero hour contracts and private health insurance ?

        • nevermind

          What a poor argument? One that does not allow voters to change their mind, however much better informed they are now. Meanwhile politicians change their mind on this and related issues, without a whimper.

        • Muscleguy

          So long as you accept that all that Boris and Brexit are the best recruiting sergeants for Scottish Independence. My No Remain voting wife is likely to ditch the No for Yes next time. Twitter is awash with former No voters stating their conversion to Yes.

          Note the polls are almost certainly undercounting the Yes support. There isn’t just the problem of contacting a representative selection. Most pollsters will reject groups like EU citizens who cannot vote in General Elections but will be able to vote in indyref2 as last time. Last time a lot of them took the Unionist false mantra that we would be out of the EU if we voted Yes at face value. This time they will vote Yes as a means of staying in the EU. The gap last time was 250,000 people and there are around 200k EU citizens in Scotland. They are our polling fifth column. We will let EU and Commonwealth citizens vote as well as 16 and 17 year olds as last time. The pollsters don’t poll those too young either. They are more likely to be both Euroenthusiasts and Yes supporters.

          Having to go online to register to vote won’t put off the young, it may even encourage them to do so. Last indyref I spent a day accosting passers by and asking if they were registered to vote. We had a table with forms set up to direct folk to. The best targets were young couples, she would look significantly up at him, he would shrug and trudge dutifully up to the table.

          I particularly remember the young woman with dyspraxia who folded up a bank statement just leaving her address details for me to fill in for her. She carefully wrote her own signature though. She knew which capital she trusted to look after her and subsequently she would have been strongly confirmed in that belief. Also the West African woman who quizzed me about what polling cards meant. Her husband had one, she didn’t and he was responsible for registering them. She headed for our table in appropriate high dudgeon. I would not have liked to be her husband that evening even though he likely deserved it all.

  • DiggerUK

    I am voting Labour, I also want Brexit.

    So despite Corbyns neutrality is a second referendum I am in a win win situation. I believe a second referendum would just confirm the first referendum result and give me the jackpot.

    I also survived the Thatcher and Blair governments without feeling the need to jump under a train…_

    • michael norton

      i would be very surprized that if there is another hung parliament and we find ourselves, yet again involved in a second in or out referendum, that the result will be much changed.

      Almost everyone I know voted to Leave and their determination to leave is greater now than before because of the lying twisting despicable members of parliament like that shyster Dominic Grieve.

      • Grouser

        The level of lying that was indulged in by the Leave campaign was epic. Imagine putting a lie on the side of a bus and basing your campaign on that. Not to mention the despicable racism and monstering of asylum seekers and other immigrants. Moreover, the Leave campaign at no time spelled out the details of what Leave meant because they hadn’t bothered to work it out. (unlike the YES campaign of 2014 which produced a detailed White Paper)

  • Marmite

    Agreed.

    It makes one feel absolutely awful for using expressions like ‘poorly educated’ (not least because someone out there will always accuse you of being supercilious, which is of course not your intention at all), but it is just a fact after a decade of sabotage directed at what used to be a decent education system in Britain, once capable of generating human beings that had the capacity for some kind of thought.

    Most people I meet in daily life have no political competence whatsoever, no real care or concern apart from taxes, and will blindly trust the tabloids. They just don’t have the imagination to think about what happens if they get ill and the NHS is no longer there, what is happening to public transport and pensions, what a nightmare a decade of highly complicated post-Brexit trade talks will be, etcetera….

    I guess, if one thing is for certain, it is that the Conservatives have always thrived on this apalling level of idiocy, and I’d go so far that they are behind the active manufacturing of idiocy. Or does that sound crackpot?

    I see, very depressingly, that the mainstream press are now trumpeting Blair’s criticisms of the election, which if you are a really stupid person will actually sound very sensible indeed. (He must be very frightened indeed of a Corbyn-led government, otherwise I cannot see the point of his desperate attempts at obfuscation.)

  • Mary

    Ceaușescu lives OK!

    Not only La Kuenssberg but there is a team pushing the rot out. Chris Mason ( a keen little puppy) Katya Adler (a lovely, fresh from Brussels and previously fromTel Aviv) and Adam Fleming ( never heard of him).

    Brexitcast
    https://g.co/kgs/3S7ieP

    Take three spoons of Brexitcast twice daily and one’s health will improve so much.

  • Jimmock

    Yes, Craig. Last year I watched a Skynews voxpop from Dunbar. Three young people, two with English

    accents, were interviewed. One immediately launched into “get brexit done” mode. These interviewees were

    presented to the viewers as representative of Scottish young voters.

  • Harry Hopkins

    Nye Bevan summed it up nicely when he said:

    “How can wealth persuade poverty to use its political freedom to keep wealth in power? Here lies the whole art of Conservative politics in the twentieth century.”

    Nothing much changes I suppose—it’s a constant battle for a decent life for most people.

  • Millsy

    Is it just me or has talking shit out of the side of her mouth for years caused La Kuenssberg to have a permanently twisted mouth ?

  • Duncan

    It seems unlikely, BUT:

    Boris is not in as safe seat, and there must be a large number of constituents who:

    Want to remain in the EU
    Do not want a third LHR runway, and feel let down by his non lie in front of a bulldozer epiphany. “Lie” might have been used in the other meaning of the word.
    Do not want a Conservative MP elected in Uxbridge.

    Could there be any type of tactical voting pact that had Ali Milani (Labour) or Jo Humphreys (Lib Dem) step down, get the No 3rd Runway Alliance to get their act together and unit to defeat Boris?
    If ever there was a justification to vote with your head, it would be to get Johnson dumped.

    • Bayard

      Johnson is one of Labour’s biggest assets. Do you really want him to be replaced by someone competent? Napoleon had the right idea: “Never interrupt your enemy when he is making a mistake”.

  • David Logan

    So nice to see that the Tories and Libdems got together to coordinate their manifesto titles (“Get Brexit Done”/”Stop Brexit”) to try and split the opposition vote. Lovely bit of crossbench collaboration there.

  • Laguerre

    I still think the most entertaining pro-Tory bias from the BBC is to be seen in the two latest video-editing “errors”, one of which was described as ‘once-in-a-century’, though there are two in as many weeks. The one was of course the so-called “accidental” substitution of video from 2016 at the laying of the wreath at the Cenotaph, although the video-editor would have had to go and search out the older footage (not physical displacement these days, naturally). And the other, the curious “error” of editing, where the raucous laughter at Johnson’s response on QT was cut out, but leaving the later applause in, for the repeat on news bulletins. Funny that if they lacked time, why didn’t they cut out the applause? The laughter was a more accurate description of what happened.

  • CasualObserver

    The Labour manifesto seems somewhat less radical than that presented by Clem in 45. As far as interference goes, and speaking as a convinced Capitalist, a Labour government elected on the basis of their plans, could be just the emetic that the system needs ?

    We’ll probably find that those railing the hardest against such ideas will be those who have been untouched by capitalism having been placed in effective stasis following the crash of 08. Thats going to be almost 100% of the media folk 🙂

  • M.J.

    This reminds me that yesterday, apart from the Observer I picked up the Mail on Sunday because of an exclusive by the former head of MI6. I was surprised to see a right-wing rant attacking Corbyn for past associations with Communists saying that he shouldn[‘t have access to classified informaiton or the be elected PM.
    It all sounded almost like the overture to a right-wing coup. But then I remembered that in past New Labour governments John Reid , a former Glasgow communist who was a cabinet member in several important posts.
    So maybe the article was scaremongering, but I feel uneasy that a former head of a secrte service should write like that. Somehow I expect more political impartiality from them. Maybe he’s retired and so feels freer to speak his mind. But then it’s fair for anyone to reply that, jiust as for John Reid, the issue is what Corbyn is NOW, which I suspect is not a secret agent of any enemy country.

    • Pyewacket

      MJ. It’s a shame that the former head of MI6 failed to say anything about the very real intervention and influence by secret agents of a certain foreign state. One name that springs to mind is Shai Masot, no doubt there are others.

    • Deb O'Nair

      As the leader of HM Official Opposition Corbyn already has access to state secrets via the privy council, members of the privy council undergo positive vetting by MI5. If there was anything in Corbyn’s history making him a security risk it would have already been exposed. This is pure political propaganda masquerading as news/journalism. No sane person should believe a single word of the man who willingly put his name to the stack of lies that Alistair Campbell knocked up to justify the Iraq war

    • Mighty Drunken

      It feels that the heads of the intelligence agencies have been spouting nonsense for awhile now. Every few months they decry encryption and suggest that they should have a backdoor. This would be a very idea for a number of reasons and should be ripped to shreds by any competent journalist.
      Politicians have given many new powers to the intelligence services, the main result of the Snowden leaks was for America and the UK to legislate to legalise the previously illegal powers. Don’t worry though, a secret judge gets to see secret evidence and will make an impartial and proportionate decision. LOL. I imagine they fear that Corbyn may listen to the human rights organisations instead of the intelligence services and not rubber stamp new powers and money.

  • Dungroanin

    As CM said a few articles ago this is getting to be the dirtiest election ever!

    The establishment is not really bothering to have a campaign or pretend to have any policies because they are relying on simply cheating and stealing it. That’s the way the CIA have always done it in far away countries pretending to have ‘democratic’ elections. That is how their fronts SCL/CA..operate across the world delivering coups when the electorate don’t do as they are told – Bolivia.

    I have more to say. Later. But I can say with certainty that there is no way IDS can retain his seat without ballot stuffing, none!

    • Michael

      I’ve noticed on certain sites like Yahoo the pro-government trolls, presumably 77 Brigade amongst them, are out in force and working hard, because the popularity of Corbyn and distrust of Johnson across the country just isn’t being reflected in the comments. They are too anti-Corbyn in number and pure bile to be other than organised propaganda. This anti-socialism drive through lies, misrepresentation and fear-mongering is reminiscent of fascist ideology, and I have no doubts they will steal this election from the people if in any way possible. They pretty much did it with Brexit, but this election will either see the end of the Tories for a generation, or the end of socialism perhaps forever.

    • Yr Hen Gof

      I have to agree.
      When people say: “I can’t believe people vote for these Tories”, maybe they’re right; people don’t vote for them in large enough numbers to keep them in power but that’s where our intelligence services come in.
      Rig the polls, then rig the ballots.
      Neither our SIS or the Tories are respectful of law or democracy.

  • Tom Welsh

    I will never understand this preoccupation with “manifestos” – packs of lies carefully crafted to appeal to various segments of the population, just like fashionable clothes, gadgets, or movies.

    Since we know that virtually all politicians lie whenever their lips move – or, more precisely, whenever they think lying is to their advantage – why would anyone even read one of the things, let alone waste time arguing about it.

    Deeds matter, not words. You have to ask what each of these groups of self-seeking, bought-and-paid-for political thugs would actually do if they got into power. You’ll find that there are distressingly few differences.

    • Xavi

      Tom

      If you genuinely hated lying politicians you would at some point have expressed a particular animus toward our national leader, a man who has no rival in British political history when it comes to lying.
      https://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2019/nov/18/boris-johnson-lying-media

      But you never do. That makes me suspect you don’t really hate lying politicians at all but are just using it as a device to promote this outlandish notion that there are no meaningful differences between Johnson and Corbyn, who are both “bought and paid for political thugs.”

      • Tom Welsh

        “…a man who has no rival in British political history when it comes to lying”.

        I am afraid I stopped reading at that point. Trying to order the degrees of lying in British politics through history is akin to ordering Cantorian infinities.

  • Dungroanin

    I have come across useful studies last night that explains the why? & the how? Of the fake polls.

    1. Why? – it seems close polls INCREASE turnout.
    https://www.nber.org/papers/w23490

    So the purpose of the Opinium type gross distortion is to LOWER the turnout.
    It is good to get that proof of what I decided ages ago.

    2. How? – well your experience pretty much covers it but as i noted yesterday it is the self selected group of recipients and their repeat inclusion, and ‘secret’ weighting formulae by the pollsters that delivers that result.
    https://blogs.lse.ac.uk/brexit/2019/10/29/long-read-are-opinion-polls-pro-leave-biased/

    ‘A extremely essential and timely piece of research by Thiemo Fetzer (University of Warwick) illustrates some of the technical issues that arise using the example of the British Election Study, which is an important point of reference for much UK political science research. The analysis suggests that repeat participation in the BES panel may systematically skew the implied Leave/ Remain split in favour of Leave. ‘

    ———
    I ask one further question that has been nagging at me for months – why try and lower the turnout?

    The only reason I can think of is that it makes it easier to ‘fix’ the result.

    Ballot stuffing – the lower the turnout the fewer fake ballots needed to skew the outcome; and so the lower the chance of being caught out by a suspiciously higher turnout!

    It’s my theory, I have no proof of the illegality, just circumstancial evidence, that the vector for the ballot stuffing is postal votes. But that makes me a conspiracy theorist according to other commentators when i have posited my suspicion!

    Until the detailed data is handed over by the Electoral Commission and examined by scientific methods and experts – you may want to consider me a conspiracy theorist too and not support that – when I say that was how the brexit referendum was ‘fixed’ (and i think the Scottish one too), going by the suspiciously high turnout in certain counting areas – in excess of 80% even in some.

    Can we rely on the supposed integrity of the privatised Electoral Commission at such a crucial election without independent oversight?

    As for CIA LauraK – well she would wouldn’t she? And her fellows for the gallows – Peston at ITV, Mair at LBC…

    No pasaran!

    • Muscleguy

      I don’t think you need to go to ballot stuffing which is hard to keep quiet. It is much simpler, the old are both more conservatively inclined AND the most likely to vote while the young are more radically inclined but LEAST likely to actually vote. If all the young people (including 16 and 17 year olds) who both registered to vote and expressed their excitement about it had voted on September 18 2014 in Scotland we would have gotten a lot closer result. Their turnout was the lowest of almost any group. Probably didn’t help that the UK continues to hold elections on work/school days.

      Back in NZ elections are on Saturdays and carnival airs attend them. There is a rule that all partisan billboards and posters etc must be removed before polling day and may not be displayed on polling day. So party cars are bedecked in just party colours while ferrying voters to the polls. I approve of this. Also they make it very easy to vote, you can vote in person in advance of the actual date. You can register to vote on the day and cast a special vote. Your eligibility will be checked before your vote is counted. You can cast a vote in ANY polling station in the country or in Embassies and High Commissions abroad (I have voted in the Haymarket, London HC) not just your nearest. So you can be away from home and still cast a vote.

      The last has pertained for decades. In the past each polling station had a big book full of copies of every local election ballot paper. A blank ballot paper would be hand written for you. Now I expect they print one for you. Turnout in NZ is routinely 70% despite a 3 year electoral cycle. But then the pollies in NZ are suitably afraid of the electorate and their power and people know that. We forced them to hold a referendum on changing the voting system from FPTP to MMP. They didn’t want to and tried to gerrymander the result but we saw through it coalesced around MMP and support went up as those who liked other systems came to us in the second round. We the people had spoken.

      Here in the UK the single system presented was thrashed out in a male dominated smoke filled room and designed to present the least change. I voted against partly because it was not a proportional system and partly because it would have made politics more anodyne since it would have elected the least disliked candidate. Parties would have only put forward the anodyne and squeaky clean.

  • Billy Brexit !

    Do not despair just yet. Although Jonson’s ruffled blustered performance has entertainment value and the media do play some part in the perception of the party leaders, it is the everyday realities of most people that will kill off the Tory party in this ill feted snap-election. This year marks forty years of neo-liberal UK government and time enough for the cracks to show, literally in the roads and pavements, and this time it can’t be papered over by some clown’s rhetoric. I believe the stars are lining up and although I have doubts about Corbyn’s socialist policies, I would not be surprised if he gets the keys to Downing Street in a few weeks time. Most people are sick to death of austerity and Brexit and want to see an end to the paralysis brought about by both, both Tory policies. Johnson does not have a clear run to Number ten by any means and the tortured and declining popularity of the Tory party is clear for all to see. Nice try BJ bit off to the Spectator and HIGNFY, more your natural homes.

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