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Changing Politics for the better Pt 6: Governing the Internet, Social Media and the online world

September 6, 2019 Leave a comment

For many young people, access to the Internet, Smartphone technology and publishing every aspect of our lives online is already experienced as being the way that things have always been.

Yet for those who have lived through the arrival of analogue, then digital mobile phones; analogue internet with the dial-up tone, then broadband and streaming too, the whole process feels remarkably quick when looking back on 30 years doesn’t actually feel like its that long.
But a process that has been very short for what has been achieved in terms of technological development and access during that period of time, has been remarkably long for the large wheels of government, which have moved throughout this period at a rate that looks comparatively very slow indeed.
Like it or not, the way that we interact with each other and with anyone with whom we have contact has been affected by this extraordinary change.
Social skills that we learned through basic interaction and conditioning with other children, with adults and with the people we met as children has been replaced with a cultural restructuring.
Children are now handed ipads or tablets at a very early age and quickly learn to use the tools that they have been given. Yet in so doing, they surrender much of the understanding and trial and error learning processes that come via human and community interaction, and they do not develop a robust or rounded set of social skills as a result.
Likewise, the ease with which adults can order almost anything on the internet and the speed with which what were once long winded processes are now completed, for many is a new skill, outlook or understanding that simply cannot be unlearned.
Yet the changes that on the face of it appear to have significantly improved our lives have at the same time created a strange and unrealistic dichotomy, where ethics or the rules of interaction with others only seem to count in ‘real life’ when we find ourselves face to face with others, and even these now seem to be being eroded too.
A distance now exists between many people that was never there before. Not with the people we know and love. But the humanity is being lost from the way that we interact with each other in those situations beyond. And instead of the parallel universe that is the Internet catching up with the way that things have always been done in the real world outside, the dehumanisation of relationships that exists on the Internet is now finding its way slowly, but steadily into the way we behave with each other in the real waking world.
We only see the tip of this daily in the way that the removal of social barriers on the internet encourages people – who in real life would never dream of talking to other people face to face in the same way – to attack, criticise and yes, troll other people as if their action will never create any harm – simply because it has been done online.
Without government having already taken the steps to govern our use of the internet with a working, open, accessible but nonetheless safe framework for social interaction and conduct with business, people in the online world are simply going to continue cherry picking what they want to take away from the rules we are currently much better at accepting when we are in and focused on the world beyond.
The apparent ease with which internet giants can appear almost overnight doesn’t give them a free reign to ignore rules of an unwritten kind that have developed and governed the way that people behave over a very long time.
In fact, if anything, the whole thing needs to be turned on its head. We must learn to respect the Internet as another part of our already complex lives, and ensure that the rules are no different and that what we do online and especially in the case of interaction with people we never have or may never have cause to meet are simply the same as they would be if we were meeting with that person face to face, and government needs to do so before it is much too late.
Life is already becoming much too cheap as a result of a system which conditions us to believe that we can always quickly get our own way.
We must embrace the positive aspects of the internet and smart technology for the benefits that it ahs and will continue to deliver for us all. But at the same time, we must also recognise the very dangerous and destructive side to this two edged sword and ensure that legislation is created and then evolved to make sure that the Internet really is a tool that is there to benefit everyone and is not just there to be exploited at the expense of others by yet another ‘knowing’ few.
A good Government could begin by:
  • Removing the ability of all to be completely anonymous on Twitter, Facebook, WordPress, Blogger, Youtube or any other form of social media where commenting and the ability to openly attack anyone or anything is openly involved.
  • Ensuring that a system does exist where legitimate anonymity such as whistle blowing or helpful comment and dialogue from those with a genuine desire to help others whilst needing to protect themselves professionally can also exist.
  • Creating legislation to ensure that no decision that could affect the future and wellbeing of any individual in any way, such as credit checks & authorisation or CV matching can be fully automated or completed by algorithms alone without human interaction on the part of all parties involved of some kind.
  • Creating legislation to ensure that everyone is automatically ‘forgot’ after a period of three years, so that everyone has the ability to legitimately move on with their lives, and only appropriate authorities hold longer term records on any individual or business and hold the right in certain circumstances to disclose.
  • Legislating to ensure that any social media or publishing platform builds in detection software that will automatically trigger an on screen flag when formulations of words or topics that might be offensive to others might be involved.

Politicians created the fake news culture and only want to tackle the narratives that are out of their control

August 15, 2019 Leave a comment

Yes, you read that right. Politicians created the fake news culture and they did so, because they made fake news publicly acceptable when they embraced the concept of spin.

There is a vicious circle at work where the problem has become as bad as it has because on one side of the argument the political classes speak out vociferously about the dangers of fake news and the negative impact that it is having on democracy. Yet on the other, the very same politicians continue to create stories and narratives to increase or improve their own electability that does precisely the same thing,

What this all overlooks is the two edge sword that is the failure of education to teach young people critical thinking skills so that adults can discern between what they should trust, what they shouldn’t and where they should attribute value in between, and the other, where the distinct lack of public figures who speak openly, honestly and treat everyone as if they are all adults in the same room leaves the whole population without the leadership role models that demonstrate what right looks like in a world which is telling us so much is now so wrong.

Plans and efforts to force social media outlets and companies to crack down on fake news sound like very laudable goals. But in reality, there is very little out there that should or rather would need to be banned or removed from circulation, if politicians weren’t making it impossible for people to trust what they should be able to trust in the first place.

The debate or issue doesn’t end there, because mainstream news production and output is now so predominantly based on opinion rather than basic news itself.

Whilst it makes uncomfortable reading, the reality is that opinion and fake news are pretty much the very same thing.

Regrettably what began as an institutional problem within politics crossed to the mainstream media and then social media too.

It is now a cultural malaise and the attempts to wrest the problem at the feet of social media companies does little more than make light of the depth of the problem that now exists and what steps really need to be taken if the so-called war on fake news is actually to be won.

What is sure is that tackling the fake news problem wont be achieved by simply shutting down narratives which make politicians uncomfortable – usually because they simply put their own roles and situations at risk.

It would simply be hypocrisy to do so.

It basically says that fake news is fine as a propaganda tool to influence the electorate – so long as the fake news in question is based on a narrative that we and only we actually own.

This isn’t to say that nothing should be done about fake news being spread about and treated with the same value as truth.

It most definitely should. But the real question is about how this is actually done.

The best place to start would be for Politicians to simply start being open and telling the truth and for the media in general to start reporting news as news rather than what is little more than the personal opinion of reporters and journalists as fact.

 

The UK must have the ability to Regulate the Internet, control and respond to data management issues in ways that we never will with the rules-for-the-sake-of-rules EU involved

December 2, 2018 Leave a comment

How we govern the Net, it’s use, the transfer, storage and sharing of data is a Policy area that like many others our Government should be on top of and ahead of the game.

That it isn’t and that many of our politicians simply have no understanding of what is happening around us in the parallel world of data is not, however, a sign that we need the EU Bureaucracy to take over and install a set of draconian and out of touch rules that demonstrates Brussels has even less understanding of the changing world than Westminster does.

Scare stories some might think.

But the reality of what the EU is attempting to do is very real and the iceberg which is coming is very much deeper beneath the surface than the relatively tame tip we now know to be GDPR.

Right now, we could be well on the way to being legally unable to share material such as newslinks from the Internet, or even take pictures of or in public places because of what the EU is now attempting to deem as being assumed copyright for things like buildings.

Idealistic, dangerously impractical and without any real regard for how life works within the world of the Internet and in its relationship with everything else, unelected bureaucrats lurking in an office somewhere in Brussels are about to take nanny-stating and big brotherish concepts to a whole new level.

If we either Remain or worse still, embrace May’s deal, we will have no choice but to accept these undemocratic and choking restrictions however far reaching and personally restricting they might be.

In governmental terms, the arrival of Internet based technology and the online universe has caught legislators napping.

To many, a fallacious idea now exists where the Net has broken down geographical boundaries and barriers and heralds a new age where concepts such as cryptocurrencies and blockchain will make localised governance systems redundant and that markets will now reach across the world and take care of everything that crops up in between.

They won’t.

The reason they won’t, is that no matter what we do online, be it personally or for our business or employer, the dehumanisation of relationships which the rise of the internet has already inflicted upon us has shown that real life requires a level of tangibility and physical stimulation that technology will never offer us, even through virtual reality.

Centralising and ceding power to the EU over data and the rules which govern our Internet access and use would be a catastrophic abuse and denial of the real opportunity to take control and influence the response necessary to the powerful technological and informational changes taking place around us. And to do so for the better.

Our businesses, our people and the physical environment across the UK are very different to the 27 other Countries that make up the EU.

We must have regulation which is sensitive, tailored and responsive to UK needs. Regulation must not be set on a one-size-fits-all basis which at best will be modelled on a false commonality between 28 very different Countries and more likely will be much worse, offering no basis of practicality at all or any sense in which we could identify consideration of any specific UK need – either domestically, or for our interactions with the whole of the outside World.

This will not be possible if the UK’s choice to Leave the EU is ignored. Or through the dishonesty and lack of responsibility to the Electorate on the part of Politicians, the UK is coerced into a much closer and technically irreversible union with the EU as will be the outcome of May’s deal being adopted, or an alternative series of false choices are created which mislead us to Remain.

We will only have the flexibility, the adaptability and the necessary cultural intuitively to give the UK the right Data Policies that we need, if we Leave the EU, take complete control of our own Policy making once again, and then push our self-orientated Political classes to get on and deliver the key Policy areas like Data which will return the UK to the place where we can meet opportunity or crisis from wherever it may come, head on.

 

image thanks to entrepreneur.com

TV Election debates are great if showmanship is the only standard set for Political leadership

September 17, 2018 Leave a comment

download (23)I’ve written about televised leaders debates before and I continue to have doubts about their validity, and whether it is even possible for them to be truly fair.

With talk of another General Elections becoming ever frequent, probably because of Labours obsession with finding a way to cause one, it comes as little surprise that somebody, somewhere is obsessing about how people will feel in a very specific, but what will be painted as being a wholly comprehensive way..

That looking to ‘big up’ a certain point of view is a process of little more than confirmation bias by people with the public ear is no great shock. But it is ironic that the subject matter here is the focus of the media, where a lot of the symptoms or effects causing upset amongst not only young people but the wider population too, was generated in the first place.

No, there’s nothing wrong with young people being in favour with television debates. In fact, I defy anyone to suggest other than it is what we can all safely expect.

After all, TV and all forms of media are now to many representative of the world we live in. From that perspective alone, we would be foolish to overlook the way that to so many people the world of politics is now perceived.

What happens is we all forget or overlook one massive and inescapable truth when when the infinitesimally small, pure, unadulterated level of fact provided through these mediums is acknowledged and put to one side.

Every other bit of content on the news, on TV, on the internet and on social media isn’t real. Its words. Opinion. Spin. Someone else’s way of interpreting events in the world. It’s the way that other people want us all to see AND interpret what is going on around us. And even then what they say and what we hear may be very different things.

We have created the illusion of all illusions. Instead of measuring our life decisions with the facts hidden below the surface of this pretend veil, we are mistaking illusion for fact. We have fallen in to the trap of creating a parallel universe where nothing really exists except the many perceptions that we have differently as individuals. Perceptions that we experience as genuine which are misleading is about everything.

No, I do not blame young people or anyone living a normal life outside the bubble where this is all created for the misunderstanding, the frustration and yes, the injustice which sits in between. I don’t even blame those creating the problem from within it, because these are people who are so clearly lost from the impact and consequence of what they are doing, that they cannot really have any idea of what it all means.

The biggest problem in amongst all of this is that our political classes do not see the reality of what is going on and what this all really is. Despite it not being unreasonable that we should be able to expect all those holding elected office to be savvy enough to see the wood for the trees AND act upon it, they have become obsessed with making all this noise real. They simply overlook the responsibilities that they have to us all and obsess about what looks good when it is presented to us

Watch Politicians on Twitter. Observe them on Facebook. But above all take note of how little sense any of their answers or statements really make when they are asked reasonable question about the work they are supposed to be doing for you.

Our political classes have become so obsessed with playing up to what they think people think, rather than doing the job they are supposed to do, that it really comes as no surprise that things have got as bad as they really are for us all. This is wrong.

The establishment didn’t see Brexit coming. Many of the Politicians belonging to it are still convinced that everyone outside Westminster and London actually wants to remain. They certainly haven’t got any real idea of what it is to be a normal person trying to make ends meet, or to be a young person struggling with the prospect of taking on a lifelong debt to obtain what will probably be useless qualifications before their adult life even begins.

So if we focus only on how a Politician or would-be Prime Minister performs on TV or all the other forms of media, we are overlooking a great many things.

Yes, good media performance is important for Politicians. But it is only just the cherry on a very large metaphorical cake. It’s not even the icing, or the most important part, the middle, which itself needs to contain real quality ingredients. All in one what should really be a many great things.

None of this can really be seen within a televised debate forum. Seeing is believing only if you believe the idea that the camera never lies. And if any of us use this example of judging the suitably of a prime ministerial candidate and the substance of the Political Party that backs them, we should not be surprised when the results are policies which only inflict pain within our lives, because the illusion of credibility that being on a screen gives then wins.

 

image thanks to independent.co.uk

Let’s break the bubble of political perception, join-up policy making and see ideas like Universal Basic Income for what they really are

December 26, 2017 Leave a comment

As a culture, we are obsessed with the value we apportion to everything big. Big gestures, big careers, big houses, big bank balances and of course big impact.

Perception is everything – even when it is often wrong, and the absence of objective reality – the ‘real’ truth, rather than just our own, is the ultimate power behind every form of decision making that effects each and every one of us in our daily lives.

img_3014The rich irony is that it is the small things – the details, ingredients or constituent parts of everything, that inevitably become the building blocks of anything we perceive to be big.

In an instant, we see or imagine big end results, seldom giving any real thought to the creative process which will get us there. We overlook the need for a precise mix of elements to be ready and in place. We then forget that the absence of just one domino could abruptly break up a falling chain and render a shot at glory useless before we have even journeyed part of the distance there.

Against this backdrop, it is too easy to perceive others with ‘big’ roles as having the ability to see the world differently. To think that they have a different, more objective view. To conclude that they must possess knowledge that will enable only they themselves to make decisions at a level that will affect us all.

What we most often miss however, is that those making big decisions are usually very much like us. We perceive them to be different, but they are human all the same.

Many years of a self-serving political climate have created an inter-generational range of active politicians making and influencing decisions on the basis of a very limited scope of perception which barely reaches beyond that of their own.

As we watch, read and listen to the mainstream media, we can quickly attune ourselves to a snapshot of current political thinking. Yet that gap we can detect and feel between how we ourselves perceive things and where they appear to be is not present because we are in some way wrong. It is there because our decision makers and influencers are dangerously overconfident in their own perceptions of the world and everything around them. They have literally bought in to their own beliefs, whilst losing touch with both the perceptions and the realities of the very people whom they have been entrusted to represent.

If the perception of a politician such as the Prime Minister mattered only in so much as how it would affect their own future, the decisions which are now being made would impact upon nobody but themselves.

Regrettably, this is far from the case and decision after decision has been made by those in power over a series of generations and under the auspices of governments of all kinds that are made in the absence of any consideration for the reach, width and breadth of consequence or what can simply be summarised as the law of cause and effect.

All of us normally operate within perceptory bubbles where reality stretches only as far as the people and experiences which present themselves within. Everything else presents itself like a giant video where images can be observed and sounds can be heard, not unlike like going to see a film at the cinema, with the same absence of touch, taste, smell and everything else in anyway sensual, leaving any emotional response to run riot within.

With the evolution of e-living, this developing concept of life will only continue to grow, leaving the dehumanisation of relationships and communication to become all the more pronounced, as we lose more and more touch with the reality of the world outside and around.

Decision making at the highest level being conducted without the emotional intelligence and behavioural understanding necessary, and without the genuine motivation to deliver balanced policy provision for all.

It is little wonder then, that we have a conservative government which equates poverty with unemployment. A labour opposition set on a Marxist agenda which overlooks the natural capitalist which resides within us all. And a looming exit from the European Union which was delivered as the result of many millions of personal responses to life experience which extends way beyond our Nation’s membership of just one thing.

The obsession with big ‘wins’ leaves real suffering running rife within society. It’s overlooked for what it really is because the understanding of what life is really like and what it will really take to resolve our problems is absent from the minds of those whom have been trusted to protect us.

For example, on one side, Food Banks are viewed as little more than an unnecessary indulgence. Whist the other makes no mention of how so many more would be needed if they were in power, using them as an excuse to face down the Government in an attempt to win votes that would inadvertently increase this travesty whilst they do little more than pour scorn and deride.

images (7)Policy made in isolation and without regard to the effects of its implementation is now commonplace. This is sticking plaster politics where layer upon layer of quick fixes have become necessary. Each one laid upon the other to tackle the fallout from the last myopic policy, itself only created for expedience without due regard for what might lie beyond.

We are in a mess. A profound one at that. And we have at no time needed politicians to up their game and focus on what is important for everyone more than we do right now.

The good news, is that if the law of cause and effect and the age of consequence were really to be considered and embraced, the possibility and potential reach of the subsequent change would soon become apparent. Things have the potential to change in ways which could have many positive consequences for everyone, as well as the decision making politicians themselves.

How we support our poorest and most deprived members of society would be the very best place to begin. It is therefore perhaps no accident that we hear much talk of big policies aimed at people like the ‘just about managings’ and any one of a number of media friendly terms besides.

Universal Basic Income would provide an ideal start. Not because it is the free giveaway which Conservatives fear and Labour and left-leaning political parties might unwittingly embrace as a quixotic dream without further thought. But because getting it right would uncover and require intelligent communication about so many different policy stones which need to be turned over and addressed, whilst also dealing with the need for updating and change which has become overdue and very necessary in terms of the Government’s policy on Welfare for all our citizens in the 21st Century and beyond.

To begin with, the fact that peripheral chat about a Universal Basic Income has progressed beyond discussion in peripheral forums to open consideration by The SNP and governments beyond our borders suggests that a problem exists which such a model could address. Easy to dismiss as a left-wing giveaway of the kind which could easily break our fragile economy – because it certainly could if delivered without real thought, full consideration of the need for such a measure is nonetheless warranted.

A Universal Basic Income could ensure that everyone has sufficient income to live a basic lifestyle, free of the worry of debt and able to survive in times of hardship without having to become dependent upon others or government agencies of any kind – should they choose to do so. Its success would however be much dependent upon the restrictions and controls over the pricing of goods and services which are essential to basic living, and this is where the escalation of impact and consequential policy making would become most defined.

Housing, utilities, basic food and drink, clothing and appropriate transport provide the key cost areas essential to living a basic lifestyle. The problem today is that in the case of most essential services which were once publicly owned, they have been privatised. The others have too many parties adding themselves to ever complicated supply chains, making profit or ‘rent’ from little more than placing themselves in a mix which really should be kept quite simple.

Ethics simply don’t exist here and the impact of free-market profiteering within these sectors is visiting the same level of chaos and breakdown at a personal level for many of the kind which was visited upon us all by the same kind of gaming that created the 2008 financial crisis, in a very relative way.

These few facts alone give measure to the complexity and reach of just one policy alone. They also illuminate the work and communication which would be required to create a change which would ultimately only be the enemy of self-interest, if created with the care and consideration that each and every government policy truly deserves.

That politicians, influencers and decision makers would be required to work intelligently and beyond the scope of their tried and tested political philosophies of today, would be no excuse for them not to do so. The potential and existence of good and bad policy is present across all the Seats represented at Westminster and none of those representatives of our political parties have any kind of exclusive right or indeed the evidence supporting them which would suggest that they alone can deliver anything that is fundamentally right.

The noise which is populism has been created by the evolution of an unbridled public disconnect. It is a case of simple cause and effect.

Cure the causes. Quiet the noises.

 

Trident-tongued Theresa……..Maybe?

January 23, 2017 4 comments

may-marr-tridentLeading the UK right now is a role that few would be envious of if they took the responsibilities of being our Prime Minister seriously. Even within lucid non-partisan moments, many of us would struggle with the implications of a juggling act which can at its worst require the incumbant to knowingly sacrifice the lives of others in order to deliver a result which is focused upon a much greater good.

As a people, we are culturally and unwittingly trusting of our political leaders. There being some kind of unwritten understanding or expectation that those who have been elevated to the greatest office in the land will have the integrity, set of values and robustness of character to fulfil a role which has been occupied by titans of history such as Winston Churchill.

However, we have also become deeply suspicious of the political elite and quietly look for that moment when the true colours of any new occupant of 10 Downing Street are shown in the open, perhaps confirming our hope-against-hope based fears.

We should make no mistake that leadership does require information to be held back from a wider audience, and sometimes in ways with which we might not automatically agree. But whilst good strategic management might require a government not to tell us everything – even because it might give credence to a counterproductive argument which could have serious implications as a result, it doesn’t necessarily follow that when challenged about such an event, it is ok for a Prime Minister to lie as a result.

The Trident question does indeed have all the hallmarks of Theresa May’s watershed moment. Not because she kept quiet about the June misfire of a £17 Million weapon. But because she has now deliberately ducked the question about the incident when challenged by a respected journalist on National TV.

Some will be jumping up and down, demanding to know why the story didn’t surface in June. But others will appreciate that the vote on Trident renewal which followed soon afterwards in the Commons, would almost certainly have suffered the same fate as the missile had it done so.

Yes, it may well sound like a suitable conclusion in the circumstances. But it would not account for the many successful previous tests of Trident Missiles from our Nuclear Submarine Fleet, the excessive costs of testing them each time we do, nor the fact that as everyone knows, machines of every kind break down or ‘go wrong’ at the most inconvenient times.

It’s a hard pill to swallow, but on balance, the Prime Minister was indeed right to sit that incident out, purely on the basis that renewal of the Nuclear Deterrent had been delayed already for far too long, and hollow arguments do not account for the true responsibilities of government – even if they make exceptionally good headlines.

That as they say, should really have been that. Theresa May was fortunate that the story didn’t leak before now and the Government – quite rightly – achieved a good majority vote in Parliament to drive the Trident Renewal Policy forward and ensure that our would-be enemies will continue to have to be minded of our existential threat.

Politics is however a game, and it does as such have rules. Sooner or later, the Trident story was always going to break, and it was inevitable that the way which the Prime Minister handled it would shine a clear light upon the quality of leadership therein.

When Theresa May was challenged not just once, but four times by Andrew Marr on Sunday, an honest and comprehensive response could have easily justified the action of not publicising this now historic event.

Members of the public are much more attuned to the credibility of the baseless arguments that many politicians employ than those MP’s grandstanding to the media might like to think. Yet the public would also have valued an honest and genuine response which demonstrates that the Government and the Politicians who are part of it, thoughtfully but nonetheless respectfully take the burden of quiet responsibility when needed, in order to prevent stupidity and political point-scoring from becoming a tangible risk to the safety of us all.

Instead, Mrs May has now brought the whole process into question and will have to accept that she will be responsible for any whirlwind that comes from the seeds which not in June, but on Sunday morning were almost certainly sewn.

image thanks to standard.co.uk

Truth, post truth, lies or one persons truth is another is another mans lies: falsehoods and technical truths are the order of the day, but filtering for fake news will just take mass manipulation to a new level

December 23, 2016 1 comment

truth-2

Whichever way we turn, we have started to hear the media using the term ‘post truth’ as a label for just about every piece of news with which someone, somewhere disagrees. Some are more direct and call these stories lies. But politicians and activists have been using the same methods that they do now that they have for generations before the events of 2016 were even thought as being the remotest of possibilities. The only thing that has changed is that this method of communicating politically expedient truths has simply been given a name.

Perhaps it isn’t surprising that this as happened, given that both the result of the European Referendum and the US General Election went completely against the establishment script, leaving many of most skillful users of this manipulative dark art crying foul, simply because the very same weapon that they have used against so many, has been so effectively been used against them.

So what is the ‘post truth’ – It literally sounds as if we have entered an era where everything now being said and done in government has progressed beyond the point of being true?

To be fair, we often say to others observing and discussing the same events that we experience, that they are ‘unbelievable’. But this is a turn of phrase that doesn’t suggest that these events or what has been said is untrue. It reflects a reality that the acts of the political classes often defy logical explanation; that they present outcomes it would be unlikely to imagine, or that the stories we hear are of kind ‘that you simply couldn’t write’.

Words present a different challenge again and we must be mindful of the fact that a story which one person’s experience tells them is true, can all too easily be dismissed through the eyes of another who has had an alternative or perhaps wider level of experience.

Sadly, the world of politics long since arrived at the point where saying that something was true – but in reality only just from the point of view of the speaker, would mean they could make what are wilfully misleading statements, whilst ‘honestly’ painting that particular perspective or alternative reality as being true.

Doubling down or the art of sticking to the story or script makes watching media interviews with politicians from all sides absolutely cringeworthy. I am sure I have not been alone in wondering ‘why the hell don’t you just tell them the bloody truth?!’

Unfortunately that’s how today’s unethical and morally devoid political establishment operates and how it expects new entrants to always behave. Whether always being ‘on message’, accepting that as a junior politician you will be told what you will think, or simply becoming a vote to be used in government at the will of the party leadership as soon as the elections are over, that is the distasteful and utterly dishonest way that the current political regime works.

Trump, Cameron, Farage, Osborne, Johnson, Gove, Hannan, May and every figurehead politician we can identify as having played a role in key events this year have all been telling us their very own truths. What they are not however, are genuinely or completely false. And we should all be very concerned that there is now a growing movement at work which is looking to filter ‘fake news’ from the material that we read. A development which has been spearheaded by the work which Facebook is now doing.

Fake news in its genuine sense is a concept which social media has facilitated and a source of satire and ridiculous comedy that most of us thoroughly enjoy. The Poke, The Southend News Network, Newsthump and The Onion are but just a few of many more that we can as easily have posting to our newsfeeds each day.

We access them just the same as the apparently legitimate sources we read like the BBC, Sky News, The Guardian, The Telegraph, The Independent, The Times, The Huffington Post, The Wall Street Journal, or again a great many others too. Yet even they all promote the truths of the journalists, the editors, the companies that own them and the advertisers who pay the bigger part of their wages within them too.

People do know and understand the difference between ‘real’ and ‘fake’ news already. They do not need filters – which will inevitably contain the bias or prejudices of the people who run or program them – to ensure that they are only exposed to news that they can ‘trust’.

In a certain manner of speaking, no form of news can really be trusted today, as very little of the news we read or hear arrives on the screen in front of us without some hint of opinion being present. This has always been the case on a broader level within the various parts of the national press. But it does now seem to have become that bit more unpalatable to dissenters when a reader’s exposure to the ‘wrong’ stories through targeted material they often really want to read removes the chance that the alternative – or to others the ‘acceptable’ or ‘correct’ point of view will not be revealed to them.

If every reader or viewer were to engage with the news that reaches them by thinking critically today, the media industry would simply cease to exist overnight. But that doesn’t mean they are unaware of the realities and truths at some level.

It has long been accepted socially that opinion is what makes news sell and what turns ‘news’ into a product that we then want to buy. However, we certainly don’t want to read, watch or hear anything with which we don’t identify, and this is the indisputable truth that all of those who now want to control news for their own purposes will be very quick to deny.

image thanks to unknown

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