Brexit campaign ads are among the first removed by Facebook in a crackdown. Here’s a Leave.EU video ad that includes an appalling example of fake news.

Brexit campaign group Leave.EU’s Facebook videos have become some of the first to be removed by the social network as part of a crackdown on political “dark ads”.  So I thought I would archive one of their video adverts before it’s removed. There are probably worse Leave.EU videos than this one but it stands out not just for exploiting fear and racism but because it is a vile example of fake news – a doctored video clip of a sexual assault purported to take place in Germany but in fact took place in Tahrir Square, Cairo, Egypt.

The video is called ‘Worrying Scenes in Europe’ and consists of a series of clips, mostly from ‘Russia Today’ (RT), of the kind of incident that occurs from time to time in almost any country. They cover an unspecified time period and all show incidents of violent disorder but with no background information.  One of the clips is presented as a sexual assault taking place in Germany. This is clearly meant to reinforce a narrative that LeaveEU have been keen to push.  However, the clip is actually of an assault that took place in Tahrir Square in Egypt in 2013.

The image below shows the video appearing as a result of a search of the Leave.EU videos on their Facebook site.

Facebook page
Facebook page captured Nov2018

We can see that the video has been viewed 1.4 million times.

The actual Leave.EU video is below.

Warning the sexual assault clip, while not explicit, is still disturbing and some may not wish to view any of this video.  Additional warning – I fear, but have deliberately not checked, that somewhere out on the internet there is a longer, possibly more explicit, version of the video so I really do suggest that you avoid doing a search for the video. There’s plenty of text-based information about the incident from reliable sources.

The video was captured Nov 2018 and as of 1st Dec 2018 it was still available on the Leave.EU Facebook page at https://www.facebook.com/leaveeuofficial/videos/955360051228903/ 

You will see that the Leave.EU video claims that the sexual assault took place in Germany but it’s clear from the almost identical clip below from ‘Daily News Egypt’ that the incident, in fact, took place in Tahrir Square in Cairo in 2013.

When comparing the two videos it can be seen that the Leave.EU video has been cropped to cut out the official no smoking sign at the top right of centre which is written in both Egyptian and English.

So this is an example of a nasty and dishonest advert that aims to exploit and incite fear, xenophobia and racism and includes a blatant example of fake news.

As of 1st December 2018 this video had not been removed from the Leave.EU Facebook video list. Does this mean the videos that Facebook have already told Leave.EU to remove are even worse?

‘Spiked’ launches a demented, fact free attack on “Stop Funding Hate”.

The bizarre on line magazine, Spiked, has launched another fact free attack on a campaign it doesn’t like.  These two very similar articles from Spiked writers were published within days of each other:

“The hatefulness of stop funding hate” by Naomi Firsht,
Staff writer at Spiked:
http://www.spiked-online.com/newsite/article/the-hatefulness-of-stop-funding-hate/18978#.WC4ttfmLSUl

“Stop Funding Hate: a nasty, elitist campaign for press censorship” by Brendan O’Neill, in the Spectator (16th Nov 2016):
  (Brendan O’Neill is editor of Spiked)

I don’t hold any brief for the “Stop Funding Hate” campaign apart from noting the obvious good sense of its title, so I took a closer look.

Try what may I couldn’t find any evidence whatsoever to support Spiked’s claim that this campaign is a “hateful, nasty elitist campaign for press censorship”.

What the two Spiked writers have done is simply made stuff up, distorted reality and mixed it all up with an endless stream of worthless straw-men arguments.

The inflammatory and, to be honest, demented and hate filled  tone of the two Spiked articles is in stark contrast to the calm reasoned tone of “Stop funding hate”.   If you are a Spiked supporter nothing I say will influence you, but if you came this way interested in a more open minded, evidence based view of “Stop funding hate”, I suggest you check out “Stop funding hate” for yourself.

Here is their video advert:

Here are some more links:

Meet the man behind Stop Funding Hate, the campaign tackling racist tabloids (Article from The Tab by Callum McCulloch): http://thetab.com/uk/2016/11/13/meet-the-man-behind-stop-funding-hate-the-campaign-tackling-racist-tabloids-25400

Stop Funding Hate:    Facebook page         Twitter account.

Lego ends advertising with Daily Mail after calls for companies to ‘Stop Funding Hate’: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/lego-ends-advertising-daily-mail-stop-funding-hate-campaign-a7413361.html

 

Most of us are very wary of government involvement in monitoring the press. Spiked authors take this further and are generally  opposed to any government involvement in any aspect of our lives but on the other hand are very happy for market forces to replace the role of democratically accountable government. It’s therefore pretty hypocritical of Spiked to criticise anyone who dares to make use of those market forces.   Lego and Waitrose etc are free to do as they wish, customers are free to do as they wish, ‘intellectual elites’ are free to do as they wish, what could Spiked possibly object to?

Finally, I repeat, where is the hate in this campaign – perhaps it’s only in the minds and straw-men of Spiked authors.

To get some reality based perspective on this debate let’s remind ourselves of some tabloid front pages:

xenophobic headlines

scroungers

 

Spiked Authors – Apologists for the far right
Here is a Spiked article by their deputy editor Tom Slater in which he acts as apologist for the far right groups, Breitbart and Alt-right.

Here’s a video of an alt-right conference meeting led by Richard B. Spencer, in Washington, D.C., where Trump’s victory was met with cheers and Nazi salutes. (Read the full article: https://www.theatlantic.com/politics/…)

Spiked authors assert that worrying about Trump, his cronies and advisers is “hysteria and fear-mongering”. I’ll leave the reader to watch this video and decide for themselves.

Finally, a message to Spiked writers:  If the only time you defend free speech is when the speech is racist, sexist, homophobic or white supremacist, …. you don’t love free speech.

More about Spiked on Line here: http://powerbase.info/index.php/Spiked

 

 

Tim Montgomerie and his parallel universe.

 

monitie letwin

oliver letwin

I see tweets like the ones above and wonder if I live on the same planet as Tim Montgomerie. (Tory Party activist, blogger, columnist, co-founder of the Centre for Social Justice and Conservative Christian Fellowship and creator of the ConservativeHome website)

I share Tim’s concern that UK politics is well on the way to becoming as partisan and nasty as it is in the US. However it beggars belief that he should single out, as an example, the rather mild treatment received by Oliver Letwin at just the moment Lynton Crosby, the arch exponent of the ‘dark arts’, has been given a knighthood for services to the Tory Party.

All parties are guilty of misdemeanours but the reality is incontrovertible – it is the Tory party spin machine and its media supporters that are masters at cynically and ruthlessly exploiting every dirty trick in the book in their fight to gain or retain power.

It also appears that the remaining two obstacles preventing our politics becoming as dysfunctional as in the US are about to be dismantled.

We are being prepared for the destruction of public broadcasting in this country. And with the cosy relationships between the cabinet and Rupert Murdoch fully repaired it must be just a matter of time before Murdoch is allowed to grab a monopoly position in British media and introduce Fox style news and commentators. This would have happened back in 2011, facilitated by Jeremy Hunt, if the News of the World hacking of Milly Dowler’s phone had not been exposed.

Now that the farce of Levenson and Cameron’s phony promises are on the scrap heap Murdoch is free to resume where he left off.

If Tim Montgomerie really is worried about the americanisation of British politics, he needs to address his owns party’s tactics and its relationship with the right-wing press and big business lobby groups, well before worrying about the very mild treatment of Oliver Letwin.

Note: It is a matter of fact that Oliver Letwin was guilty of making what, even for the 1980s, was a racist statement and has subsequently been in a position to allow that sentiment to influence Tory policy. He is also on record, as are others in the cabinet, for being in favour of the privatisation of the NHS.  It is therefore difficult to see that the tweet Tim mentions is particularly controversial when compared to the treatment regularly dished out by the Tory spin machine, supported by the Tory press, at anyone who gets in their way.

Here’s Tim promoting a Sun headline (not a word of criticism here):

Screenshot 2016-01-18 15.12.32

 

The 5 most shocking quotes in Oliver Letwin’s ‘racist’ memo: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/the-5-most-shocking-quotes-in-oliver-letwins-racist-memo-a6790551.html

Atrocious Daily Mail reporting incites a junior Doctor to respond

After reading this in the Mail http://www.dailymail.co.uk/health/article-2580846/Accountant-fights-life-trainee-doctor-tried-unblock-windpipe-like-drain-tore-4cm-hole-it.html … junior doctor @JennyMHughes sent a response to the journalist (Emma Innes). You wont find it in the comment sections of the Daily Mail so I have reproduced it here:

Continue reading “Atrocious Daily Mail reporting incites a junior Doctor to respond”

“It’s not racist to be concerned about immigration”: The straw man argument of those with a guilty conscience.

xenophobic headlines

 

Recently David Cameron has revived an often repeated “straw man” argument in which he states that it is not racist to be concerned about immigration.  Our own MP for Salisbury, John Glen, in a recent article in the Salisbury Journal, said “Neither do I believe it is racist or xenophobic to want to see limited resources allocated fairly to those who make a contribution in this country”.  John Glen, View from the Commons, Salisbury Journal 17th Jan. This straw man argument is meant to distract us from the reality (and perhaps their own guilty consciences?).

Continue reading ““It’s not racist to be concerned about immigration”: The straw man argument of those with a guilty conscience.”

British sovereignty ‘at risk’ from EU-US Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP)

Without any public debate our government is rushing us into a free trade #TTIP agreement that will end national sovereignty and democracy as we know it.

(TTIP and TPP are a new breed of international trade pacts crafted by multinational corporations and currently being negotiated in secret).

The Government and media ranting about the EU, benefits tourism, health tourism, benefits cheats, immigration and feckless scroungers keeps everyone’s mind off the financial crisis,  i.e. the ongoing consequences of the 2007/8 banking collapse caused by lack of regulation, greed, criminality and incompetence at the top levels of our financial services.

It also makes sure that no one pays any attention to the international trade agreements that are being negotiated and agreed in our names but with a lack of transparency and total lack of democratic debate.   Despite its faults the EU has democratic accountability with checks and balances – sovereignty is shared between the member nations.  Once the international trade deals are signed there will be no democratic oversight, individual nations will not have a veto or any control over the decisions – it will be what Euro-sceptics claim  about the EU but this time it will be for real, non-negotiable and the power will rest with international corporations while the Nation State will have been emasculated in the name of free-trade.   Needless to say a UK outside the EU would be in an even worse position trying to negotiate free-trade agreements from a position of abject weakness.

These free trade agreements transfer power away from the civilising influence of our democratic institutions and pass them to large international corporations that will be able to run rough shod over the wishes of democratic governments and their citizens.  There will be no chance for civil society in an international free for all.  It will be “top down authority” from companies more powerful than individual nation states.

The issue here is not free trade which, presumably, is a good thing. It is that the trade agreements look as if they are being written by big business for big business – there is little evidence that anyone is looking after the interests of the ‘little people’ – ‘the 99%’ – ‘us’!

Check out the links below and let me know what you think.

 

Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP):

Plans to create an EU-US single market will allow corporations to sue governments using secretive panels, bypassing courts and parliaments  The privatisation of the NHS will be unstoppable: http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/dec/02/transatlantic-free-trade-deal-regulation-by-lawyers-eu-us

British sovereignty ‘at risk’ from EU-US trade deal: UK in danger of surrendering judicial independence to multinational corporations: http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/politics/british-sovereignty-at-risk-from-euus-trade-deal-uk-in-danger-of-surrendering-judicial-independence-to-multinational-corporations-warn-activists-9057318.html

Osborne’s bid to end democracy by the back door: http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/01/15/osbornes-bid-to-end-democracy-by-the-back-door/

Here’s how we’re giving the NHS to USA health insurance companies. Did anyone vote for this? Does anyone want this?:  http://www.euractiv.com/trade/ttip-puts-eus-environmental-soci-analysis-532724?utm_source=RSS_Feed&utm_medium=RSS&utm_campaign=EurActivRSS

EU Commission Redefines Corporate Lobbyists As ‘Civil Society’ To Pretend To Be Transparent In TAFTA/TTIP:
http://www.techdirt.com/articles/20140115/03324325881/eu-commission-redefines-corporate-lobbyists-as-civil-society-to-pretend-to-be-transparent-taftattip.shtml

Why the new US-EU trade deal will be disastrous for the climate:  https://www.wdm.org.uk/climate-change/why-new-us-eu-trade-deal-will-be-disastrous-climate

TTIP puts the EU’s environmental and social policies on the line: http://www.euractiv.com/trade/ttip-puts-eus-environmental-soci-analysis-532724 

The Global Fight Against Corporate Rule – challenging rules that grant corporations the right to sue governments:
http://www.thenation.com/article/177930/global-fight-against-corporate-rule?page=full#

 

Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP):  The Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) is a new international trade pact crafted by multinational corporations and currently being negotiated in secret by the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) along with 11 other foreign governments. Rep. Alan Grayson (D-Fla.) describes the agreement as “an attack on democratic governance” and “a punch in the face to the middle class of America.” : http://www.syracuse.com/opinion/index.ssf/2014/01/secretive_trade_agreement_would_undermine_democracy_ursula_rozum.html

Critics say vaunted environmental chapter offers few gains to balance downsides of trade deal: http://www.nzherald.co.nz/politics/news/article.cfm?c_id=280&objectid=11187155

War photographer and triple amputee Giles Duley and Falklands War veteran Simon Weston OBE on BBC Radio 4 Today Programme

On Thursday 2nd Jan 2014 the guest editor for the BBCR4 Today programme was the musician PJ Harvey.  Despite balancing programmes edited  by Eliza Manningham-Buller, former head of MI5 and Barclays’ chief executive Antony Jenkins, the PJ Harvey edition was pilloried and vilified by certain newspapers and politicians.  I have yet to hear most of the programme so will not comment apart from to speculate that the ‘shock’ that some people experienced may be more to do with the absence of a true diversity of political opinion on the BBC than what was actually said.

However I did catch one  very moving and thought provoking section of the programme which I think deserves greater exposure.   It was  a piece by war photographer and triple amputee Giles Duley with a contribution by Falklands War veteran Simon Weston OBE.  These two individuals by virtue of their experiences and injuries deserve to be listened to with a little humility not dismissed as “left wing tosh”.  In fact I would make this clip compulsory listening for any politician involved in making decisions affecting military personnel. It should also be compulsory listening for journalists each time they are tempted to write jingoistic, pro war articles without careful and critical analysis of the potential consequences.   Patriotism does not mean uncritical support for military action.

The gist of the item is that the MOD and the media, even in the 21st Century, censor the true horror of military injuries.  This is particularly relevant to the publicity given to limbless basket ball players ‘making the most of life’ when the reality is that  a loss of limbs can be a ‘minor problem’ compared to the other injures likely to be suffered by anyone who steps on an anti-personnel mine.  Injuries that understandably, many war veterans have difficulty coming to terms with, especially when the media expect them to be ‘putting on a brave face’ and ‘rising to the challenge’.

I encourage you to listen to the end of this BBC Radio 4 audio clip introduced by War Photographer, Giles Duley (Just click the play button):


Giles Duley Fund
Simon Weston’s home page

 

Interestingly the Daily Express article linked here does not mention that Simon was talking on the BBC Radio 4 Today programme. Falklands veteran Simon Weston calls for more realistic portrayal of wounded soldiers (Daily Express 2nd Jan 2014)

Here is the Daily Express view on the same day about the same programme from which their previous article was taken: ‘Worst Today programme ever’ BBC Radio 4 show slammed for rants and Assange guest spot (Daily Exress 2nd Jan 2014)

Here is a somewhat more nuanced response to the programme:  “Today’s uncomfortable thoughts for the day with PJ Harvey – Musician’s guest edit of BBC’s Today programme drafted in John Pilger and Julian Assange to challenge our prejudices”: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/jan/02/today-thoughts-for-the-day-pj-harvey-bbc-assange-pilger  (Guardian, 2nd Jan 2014)

More Mail Misogyny

French President Hollande behaves like a shit and an idiot but the Daily Mail knows where to direct its bile:

holland

blank space

An evil predatory paedophile who ruthlessly manipulated those around him is sent to jail for 35 years but the Daily Mail knows where to focus the blame:

Mail Misogyny

 

 

 

“British public wrong about nearly everything” or “Perceptions are not reality”

Democracy is  dependent upon an electorate that is accurately informed.

Unfortunately, UK government ministers and the right-wing press have made sure that we are misinformed about (almost) everything – here is the result. The chart is the result of an Ipsos.MORI poll examining the difference between peoples’ perceptions (mean estimates) and reality (actual) when asked questions about the UK population.

Perception and Reality

 Here is another example from the Ipsos.MORI poll (referenced below):

Teenage pregnancy: on average, we think teenage pregnancy is 25 times higher than official estimates:  we think that 15% of girls under 16 get pregnant each year, when official figures suggest it is around 0.6%[i].

Here is the reality

“With the lowest numbers recorded since 1969, the teenage pregnancy rate is proof of all the hard work of sexual health and education professionals, and the lasting legacy of the decade-long Teenage Pregnancy Strategy.
Read more at http://www.fpa.org.uk/news/teen-pregnancy-rates-continue-fall-england-and-wales#1CdvzfTmfHPWh1cR.99

Was this news on the front page of the Daily Mail.  Of course not – it did not fit their alternative reality.  It would only be on their front page if they could somehow twist the data into a moral outrage about increasing teenage pregnancy.  Even the Mail has failed to manage this – so far.

More from the IpsosMORI poll:

Foreign aid: 26% of people think foreign aid is one of the top 2-3 items government spends most money on, when it actually made up 1.1% of expenditure (£7.9bn) in the 2011/12 financial year. More people select this as a top item of expenditure than pensions (which cost nearly ten times as much, £74bn) and education in the UK (£51.5bn).

Benefit fraud: people estimate that 34 times more benefit money is claimed fraudulently than official estimates: the public think that £24 out of every £100 spent on benefits is claimed fraudulently, compared with official estimates of £0.70 per £100.

 

These two pieces of research indicate the gap between perception and reality in the British public:

The IpsosMORI Poll – Perceptions are not reality: http://www.ipsos-mori.com/researchpublications/researcharchive/3188/Perceptions-are-not-reality.aspx

British public wrong about nearly everything, survey shows:  http://www.independent.co.uk/news/uk/home-news/british-public-wrong-about-nearly-everything-survey-shows-8697821.html

Also:

“Watching Only Fox News Makes You Less Informed Than Watching No News At All” http://www.businessinsider.com/study-watching-fox-news-makes-you-less-informed-than-watching-no-news-at-all-2012-5#ixzz2o2UEgHzE

These are just a few examples of government ministers misinforming the public:

David Cameron Rebuked For Making Misleading Economy Claim, Again:  http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/03/08/david-cameron-obr-economy-growth_n_2836515.html

Ministers who misuse statistics to mislead voters must pay the price.   http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2013/may/31/ministers-misuse-statistics-resign

Minister rebuked over immigration statistics:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-16730433

Incapacity benefit test claims ‘conflated figures’ – watchdog: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22720007

Iain Duncan Smith criticised over benefit cap figures:  http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-22462265

Duncan Smith ‘clarifies’ Commons slip over benefit data: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-11792700

 

This gives just a few recent examples of tabloid misinformation:

The Daily Mail & The Sun continue to undermine their own case for press freedom: http://www.reasonandreality.org/?p=2837

More:

The Lies of Right Wing Tories, Blairites, Free Marketeers and Neolibertarians:  http://www.reasonandreality.org/?p=2017

Some Questions for our local MP John Glen: http://www.reasonandreality.org/?p=1789

Cameron won’t make me a Minister… I’m a white, married, Home Counties Christian, says Tory MP John Glen: http://www.reasonandreality.org/?p=1494

 

As usual, please let me know if there are any errors in the text above so that I can make corrections.