Friday, 26 April 2019

Brexit: fake impressions


I'm not particularly familiar with TED Talks, but this one 

https://www.ted.com/talks/carole_cadwalladr_facebook_s_role_in_brexit_and_the_threat_to_democracy?language=en

has been bought to my attention, and gives a very convincing account of how carefully targetted messages on Facebook, probably with finance that was illegal, were used to influence receptive people to vote Leave in the 2016 Referendum.

Well worth the time to watch it, and just wonder what else is happening to lead us astray.

A friend of mine who is Irish has sent me a cutting from the Irish Times which gives an account of how the anti-EU press in Britain has dripped absurd information about the EU over a long period of time and created negative feeling towards it..

The Irish Times issue is dated 24th November 2018 but my friend  works in the Solomon Islands so it took rather a long time for the paper to get to him and the cutting to get back to me.  The article is written by Fintan O' Toole and is headlined "England turned the EU into a Monty Python sketch - now it's stuck in one."

O'Toole argues that the hostile press have waged a long-term propaganda campaign "not of one big lie, but an endless succession of little lies, each in itself  so absurd as to seem harmless, yet cumulatively amounting to a profound distortion of public reality."

He gives examples of this drip, drip drip of distortion.

Drip:
Circus performer must walk tightrope in hard hat, says Brussels.  The Times, 23 July 2003.

Drip:
EU's plan to liquify corpses and pour them down the drain. Express, 8 July 2010.

Drip[:
Shake'n back - EU tells women to hand in worn-out sex toys.  Sun, 4 February 4 February 2004.

Drip:
Shellfish, (especially mussels and oysters) must be given rest breaks and stress-relieving showers during journeys of over 50km.  The Times, 29 January 1996.

Splash:
EU push for standard condom size.  Brussels is set to produce  a standard Euro condom while refusing to implement  the subsidiarity principle so that Member (sic) States can take into account the different national characteristics of the male organ.  The resultant compromise is simply not large enough to house British assets.Sun, 19 October 1994 .

Each of these these vignettes - and hundreds more,  says O'Toole, " has a common quality : memorability.  It creates a visual image that lodges in the brain."

Of course, hostility to the EU cannot all be blamed on the press.  Both the Tories and Labour, when in government, have been quick to attribute to Europe any regulation, however sensible and desirable, which might be electorally unpopular.

The nasty atmosphere in BBC 1's flagship "Question Time"  last night.has been built up not just post-referendum, but over decades of false information  and misrepresentation.


9 comments:

  1. I have looked at both programmes. My head is now swimming and trying to sort out all the propoganda,misinformation,lies and innocent thoughts of connecting people that have now led to us truly being the Canary in the mine to see if democracy dies or not.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. yes, I too am gobsmacked, particularly by the boorish behaviour of the Question Time audience. I've never felt so ashamed to be English

      Delete
  2. There are a few leave voters out there, myself included, that don’t read the daily mail. Personally I avoid exposure to any mass media.

    The last 24 months however, have convinced me of something which I probably already knew, and that is that we might as well remain in the EU because Britain is already lost, the system absolutely broken, power and control missing, an economy founded on sand and a morally bankrupt proletariat. National identity and pride gone and a country in financial ruin from which structurally paralysed. We do have much in common with our EU neighbours and misery loves company.

    So, a monumental historical vote, we tried, and failed to negotiate. But we didn’t vote to negotiate.

    For me, it’s back to media black out.

    Sweet relief!!

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