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Posts Tagged ‘Post-Brexit’

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

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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

‘Soft Brexit’ or ‘Hard Brexit’ are no more than a Yes/No choice to a question which no longer exists

December 20, 2016 1 comment

brexitIf you are driving a car and find yourself in the unfortunate position of knowing you are about to hit something, time and space might momentarily slow down as you brace for the inevitable impact, but you don’t get a choice over the damage it will cause and whether the impact will be soft or hard. You just deal with the consequences thereafter.

It’s an analogy which some will quickly dismiss in relation to Brexit, but the parallels are there for all to see. The distinct difference being that in relation to the European Referendum, the result – and therefore the destination to which we already know we must travel, is a genuine exit for Britain from the European Union.

Much is now being made of the difference between the two terms ‘soft Brexit’ and ‘hard Brexit’, yet they are discussed in a way which suggests a choice about leaving the EU continues to exist.

If we respect the will of the majority of the British people, we will also accept that it does not.

What will be discussed when Article 50 has been triggered, both with the remaining Member Countries of the European Union and also the many Countries beyond will be the relationship and the way that it will work between all of us thereafter.

On the part of some, it is intentionally misleading. With others it is the the effect of a process of engagement being conducted by politicians who simply do not understand the impact on the general public from what they are doing. But either way, talk about dictating the terms under which the Government will negotiate Brexit do little more than indicate that the ‘remain lobby’ intend to halt Brexit in all but name, simply by insisting that the key qualifications and requirements of membership will ultimately be retained.

For them to succeed would be a political fudge of momentous proportions, not least of all because it will be representative of the same manipulation and game playing, focused on self-interest and political expediency by those in power, which inadvertently created the disillusionment and disenfranchisement which led to the choice for Brexit in June.

The choice was not simply about Europe, even if the question was framed that way. Outspoken Europhiles as well as those masquerading as born-again leavers within the political bubble would do well to remember this. People know their minds and they are not going to accept a giant backslide of the kind being advocated under the auspices of the disingenuous suggestion that anyone sensible or without prejudice who voted for Brexit didn’t have a clue what they were doing.

Talking up technical truths may well have been a big part of what the success of the Leave Campaign message was about. But these messages resonated so well with people because as any good marketing man knows, the adverts that really sell are always the ones which play on an element of a story which is inherently true.

Remain failed to connect with a working majority not only because they relied upon events that had no guarantee of ever happening – no matter how scary they might have been presented to seem, but because they were not able to sell or even speak of benefits to the lives of everyone in this Country which as a majority we could either see or believe.

It is a mistake to believe that a different campaign on EU membership dressed as ‘soft’ or ‘hard’ Brexit will now yield a different result, just as it is foolish to imagine that the European political terrain of before the 23rd of June 2016 still exists.

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Our focus should now be well and truly upon developing the best post-Brexit relationships that we possibly can, whilst recognising that the remaining Members of the EU have as much to lose from a bad deal with the UK, if not arguably more so than we ever could, given the position as a self-governing, unrestricted and fully-open-for-business entity that this Country will then actually be.

images thanks to http://www.inthenews.co.uk, http://www.dailymail.co.uk

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