back to article UK.gov to propose new rules for online political campaigns after last election marred by an avalanche of fake news

The UK government is setting out its efforts to create more transparent rules for political campaigning online. In a consultation launching today, new measures will require political parties, campaigners and others to clearly show who they are with a digital imprint when promoting campaign content online. Chloe Smith, …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

    "More recently, the Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising said the UK's December general election was marked by online and offline campaigns that were "indecent, dishonest and untruthful"."

    1. monty75

      Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

      When has the law ever stopped Cummings doing whatever he pleases?

    2. A Non e-mouse Silver badge

      Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

      That's standard fare for politicians, isn't it?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

        Who elected Cummings then?

        1. Nick Ryan Silver badge
          Thumb Down

          Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

          That doesn't matter you prole.

          Cummings definitely did not break lockdown having been instrumental in the message telling proles, like you and I, that we must comply or else. He was also definitely not instrumental in all the hatred of unelected EU officials... despite them being elected and him not being. He also very definitely did not ensure that as much money as possible, both from the Tory party and government, was sent to his and his friends "research" companies and these companies very definitely did not break and laws and the funding was absolutely never in breach of the political and campaign funding rules.

          Or if you want an indirect "who elected Cummings then?" response, it was the Tory party voters.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

            Ah, so now Cummings is a RUSSIAN as well! Please make up your minds, was it Cummings and his friends in 'research', the Russians, Facebook, Facebook and Twitter, the Russians on Facebook and Twitter, or some other line of crap you haven't thought up yet?

            Notably, even the recent much-lauded independent report into Russian interference (hold on, shouldn't there be an "alleged" in there somewhere?) completely failed to find any evidence and can be neatly summed up as "We couldn't find any proof of anything, we would like the Government to give us a lot more money so we can try again" even though so many people seem to think it DID find something (because the media told them it did. Shame nobody in the media actually bothered to read it properly first, hmm?)

            As for Cummings stirring up hatred of unelected EU officials, he didn't need to. They have done that all by themselves, repeatedly. The most obvious example to choose at the moment is the situation of the refugees fleeing the war in France to cross the Channel to England. The EU promulgated the international laws about claiming asylum in the FIRST safe country you arrive in, yet France is still assisting these people to "escape" mainland Europe to seek the land of milk and honey in the UK. The French navy has been filmed floating serenely in the background while small boats flounder, the only assistance they have rendered being to alert the British Coastguard the moment the boats leave France's area of responsibility and enter international waters. And now they "only "want another 30million GBP to "help" stem the flood. On top of us rebuilding the camp at Sangat and the sea walls, the fences, improving security at the French end of the Channel Tunnel, funding additional French guards, supplying UK Border Force personnel to "assist" those same French Guards...

            Yeah, Cummings had to work so hard to make people dislike the EU.

            1. Santa from Exeter

              Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

              To paraphrase,

              Bollocks

              Bollocks

              Lies

              Half Truths

              Oh, and the last sentence should read "Yeah, Cummings and the rest of the lying Leaver Knobs had to work so little to make Gammons dislike the EU as they had already swallowed the UKIP bullshit."

              1. Cederic Silver badge

                Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

                Your lies and ignorance are fine but quit with the racist slurs.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

                  The ruddy cheek.

                  1. Cederic Silver badge

                    Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

                    Your wit and humour however have made me laugh.

              2. This post has been deleted by its author

            2. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

              "Ah, so now Cummings is a RUSSIAN as well! ...”

              TB;DR

              Too Bullshitty; Didn't Read

            3. Alan Brown Silver badge

              Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

              "completely failed to find any evidence "

              Mainly because it went out of its way not to look for any.....

            4. Hollerithevo Silver badge

              Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

              France is perhaps taking the position that it is respecting the UK's wishes not to be entangled in any rules about immigration, given that it officially left the EU in January. If you have been handled the divorce papers, even if the decree nisi has not yet arrived, the decent thing to do is to act as if you are already divorced, as that is the will of the other party. UK says the split cannot come soon enough. Well, this letting immigrants/refugees leave to cross the Channel is one thing that will keep happening in the future.

              1. Jimmy2Cows Silver badge
                Holmes

                Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

                But wait... refugees entering the EU are legally required to seek asylum in the first EU country they reach. Pretty sure that's not the UK, no matter what route is taken from the Middle East, North Africa or wherever.

                Economic migrants are not refugees, and that tends to make them illegal immigrants anywhere in Europe.

                Any illegal immigrant not seeking asylum is, well, illegal, and should be returned to their country of origin.

                This isn't some mindless "UK first, no immigrants" rant. Brexit or not, any refugees passing through France should have sought asylum or been returned well before getting anywhere near the Channel. It France seemed quite happy to let migrants pass through on their way to the UK, and yeah, following Brexit they have zero incentive to change that unoffical policy.

                1. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

                  Jimmy2Crows >>> But wait... refugees entering the EU are legally required to seek asylum in the first EU country they reach.

                  Oh dear, someone's not been paying attention. The UK left the EU. The EU's Dublin Regulation no longer applies. CONTROL! SOVEREIGNTY!!!

                  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

                    Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

                    I think the Dublin rule applies until New Year.

                2. Anonymous Coward
                  Anonymous Coward

                  Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

                  Factually wrong.

                  There is no legal requirement on a refugee to seek asylum in the first EU country they reach. Confirmed by both UK courts and courts in other countries.

                  The Dublin Regulation allows for an EU member state to return an asylum seeker to another member state that they have passed through, under certain conditions (such as having been fingerprinted). But that doesn't make it illegal for a refugee to NOT claim asylum in the first EU member state.

                  And as has been said elsewhere, that all changes once we leave and we'll have no right to return people to any other EU member state.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

            >That doesn't matter you prole.

            How dare you. I'll have you know I'm a peon.

    3. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

      "More recently, the Coalition for Reform in Political Advertising said the UK's December general election was marked by online and offline campaigns that were "indecent, dishonest and untruthful"."

      This law won't address any of that though, it'll just make sure that there's a name attached to whatever lie is being pushed. You can spin up an organisation, give it a name, and fund it in about 5 minutes.

    4. Smooth Newt Silver badge
      Meh

      Re: So that's Cummings out of a Job then.

      I doubt Cummings will be out of a job, but Starmer might be. They wouldn't be proposing this if they didn't think it would screw Labour somehow.

  2. alain williams Silver badge

    So in comes nudge political advertising

    A radio play, an advert about butter, football commentary, ... all ostensibly non political can contain subtle comments that form opinions about what a political party is saying. It will be cheaper as well: no buying of air-time or bill boards; all that you need is a friendly author, copywriter, ...

    All very hard for the Electoral Commission to prove wrong doing.

    1. Chris G Silver badge

      Re: So in comes nudge political advertising

      You think that isn't being done already? Even many of the comments in these columns could come into that class of political steering, it depends on the reader and their own leanings as to how effective or not such things are.

      Re this; "In addition to imprints, the ERS said the UK's "broken" party funding system, and too little transparency over Lords' financial and lobbying interests were other issues that need to be addressed."

      Funding in general and favourable financial consideration at all levels needs to be more transparent, how to actually achieve it though will be complex and difficult.

      Not only the Lords financial and lobbying interests but those of many political appointment such as those who become heads of for instance the NHS or other parts of the government should be under similar scrutiny, considering they are targeted by business and lobbyists and seem quite often to go on to work for those they have concluded deals with.

      1. Smooth Newt Silver badge
        Mushroom

        Re: So in comes nudge political advertising

        Funding in general and favourable financial consideration at all levels needs to be more transparent, how to actually achieve it though will be complex and difficult.

        This is never going to happen because it is never in the interests of the people who control the country.

        Lots of things are complex and difficult, but that doesn't stop them being done. They manage to work out what they can claim on expenses, despite that being complex and difficult. They manage to run various Government departments and pass legislation, despite those involving far more complex and difficult issues than this.

        At the most basic level, we are the only "democracy" where less than half the parliamentarians are even elected.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: So in comes nudge political advertising

      No, by far the biggest problems are bots. Just a few thousand bots are needed to get some topics trending on social media (or newspaper comments) and journalists feel they need to report on "the sentiment among the people". That's how you create news stories based on nothing to deflect from other news.

      Case in point, see how the UK government managed to get the media talking about a supposed influx of people crossing the channel on boats to deflect from their corruption scandals, worst Covid-19 excess deaths in Europe or the hardest hit economy in Europe.

      Small time campaigners can't afford bot farms, the UK government can. Remember when the Department for Health created fake social media profiles of nurses to deflect from the PPE debacle? Those will obviously escape any of these rules as bot farms are not registered campaign organisations.

      1. Cederic Silver badge

        Re: So in comes nudge political advertising

        Oh please. The BBC push their own agendas whether people are talking about them or not.

        Social media? It's noise. Mainstream media choosing which stories to report and how to spin them? That's prevalent and dangerous.

        1. Hollerithevo Silver badge

          Re: So in comes nudge political advertising

          The agenda of the BBC is to stay in business. Its toothless interviews, now pretty much across the board, make sure that no politician can object to them, and thus their funding will continue.

  3. heyrick Silver badge

    "People want to engage with politics online"

    People wanted to engage with politics online, but given the last big event was a complete clusterfuck, corrupt as hell, and suddenly the result was interpreted as the word of God...

    ...I can rather imagine an increasing number of people wondering why they bother. Especially, as has been pointed out above, it does nothing to stop charlatans like Farage and now Cummings who were never actually elected "by the people" but seem to hold more sway than most of the people who were...

    1. SkippyBing Silver badge

      To be fair Farage was elected by the people to the EU parliament so he has some democratic credibility, even if what he's saying doesn't.

      1. Len Silver badge
        Meh

        Agreed, as much as I loath Farage. Being an MEP is a directly elected position. Being a UK Prime Minister isn't. Did you see Boris Johnson on your ballot paper? Or Michael Gove? Or Dominic Cummings?

        1. codejunky Silver badge

          @Len

          "Being an MEP is a directly elected position. Being a UK Prime Minister isn't."

          Thats how blair got away with his bait and switch at the end, promising to stay on the full term then handing over to brown.

          Not that we elect EU presidents either. Who the hell voted for the German war minister who was the only one to arrive in Iraq when there should have been German pilots and planes to support the war on ISIS?

        2. tip pc Silver badge

          “Being an MEP is a directly elected position. Being a UK Prime Minister isn't. Did you see Boris Johnson on your ballot paper? Or Michael Gove? Or Dominic Cummings?”

          I’m not sure you’ve understood just how this whole democracy & voting stuff works.

          Corbyn, Starmer, Sturgeon etc where not on anyone’s general election ballots as leaders of their parties or as prospective country leaders.

          We vote for MP’s / MEP’s who are generally members of a party with a collective view.

          That party will then select candidates to represent it in each voting area.

          You can join a political party and vote for its leader.

          Non of us voted for any EU leaders, they are elected by their MEP peers and EU leaders.

          The most direct vote of leadership you will currently get is voting for your PM.

          1. Alan Brown Silver badge

            "Non of us voted for any EU leaders,"

            None of us voted for a racist, mysogynist toff writing fake stories about bendy bananas either.

            But at least he got fired for that one

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Who's the racist misogynist toff? I mean, appointing an ethnic minority woman to be Home Secretary rules out Johnson.

              1. Neil Barnes Silver badge

                Damn, I wish there were a sarcasm flag. I'm sure you'd have applied it to your post.

              2. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                "Who's the racist misogynist toff? I mean, appointing an ethnic minority woman to be Home Secretary rules out Johnson."

                Being a hard line Brexiter trumps any other characteristic or actions. Whether that be being a congenital liar, conspiring with foreign governments, being a hypocritical drug abuser, being provably stupidity or incompetence or even being a bit brown and/or having immigrant parents.

          2. Hollerithevo Silver badge

            A plus for the system

            Our UK system means that we vote, indeed, for an MP in a party (or an independent) and, if in a party, that MP chooses a leader. But if that leader messes up, becomes unpopular, is considered a danger, appears to be traducing all the Party stands for, the MPs of that Party can elect another leader.

            So we can imagine, perhaps 15 months from now, BoJo so utterly having ruined the country and so places his cronies to suck off the fat of the NHS etc, that back-bench Tories finally find their collective spines and rise up and get rid of him. Even if BoJo remains popular with a chunk of voters, we put MPs in place to make decisions for us, in the hope that they will be informed decisions, and if they decide to get a new leader, it can happen int he twinkling of an eye. Otherwise we would have to sweat it out to the next general election.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: A plus for the system

              “But if that leader messes up, becomes unpopular, is considered a danger, appears to be traducing all the Party stands for, the MPs of that Party can elect another leader.”

              That happened last year, the Conservatives decided they didn’t want May & replaced her with Johnson, Labour, & Remainers then tied BoJo’s hands even preventing him from calling an election until they finally agreed to a general vote in December, which BoJo won with an increased majority.

              The biggest problem is that there is a very poor choice of candidates. There was no chance I’d vote for Corbyn, Swinson, the Greens, UKIP etc.

          3. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            @tip pc I have a degree in political science. I know how the British system works. I also know how parliamentary democracy works. That’s why I know perfectly well what the difference is between the two.

            Just stating how the British system works is not a justification, it’s making excuses for a lack of democratic legitimacy.

            The UK effectively has a presidential system. An enormous amount of power is put in the hands of a single person. So much so that when Johnson was ill it turned out there is no formal number two who could take decisions without Johnson.

            This one person is the only person who can hire and fire Cabinet Ministers (in a Parliamentary Democracy that’s the job of Parliament) and is the one person who decides which direction the government takes and can then, through the whips, force a majority of the House of Commons to vote his proposals through. That doesn’t happen in Parliamentary Democracies as in the PD system it’s Parliament that checks and controls Government. In the UK it’s the Government that controls Parliament. There are 650 people in the House of Commons but only one (!) person is allowed to call for a vote of no confidence in the Government. The House of Commons doesn’t even set its own agenda, it’s the Government that decides what the HoC will debate and when. You won’t find that in PD systems either.

            Have you never wondered why it is literally headline news when Parliament doesn’t approve what the Government wants? That’s how unusual it is for a UK PM to not get what they want.

            (That is just the House of Commons. Don’t get me started on the House of Lords where two-thirds of UK parliamentarians actually sit).

            Now, even in formally presidential systems such as France and the US, the president doesn’t have many of those powers. But, more importantly, their presidents are directly elected. Because they have so much power they need the legitimacy of an election.

            In the UK the ruling party just decided among themselves that Johnson was going to be the new President and nobody in the country was asked whether they thought it was a good idea to give all this power to him. Just 13.6 million people (far less than 50%) had voted Conservative in 2017 yet that strangely gives them the power to give the keys to the UK to someone without the public having a say.

            The only elected positions in the UK are those of members of the House of Commons. We don’t elect our Head of State. We don’t elect our Prime Minister. We don’t elect any Cabinet Ministers. We don't elect the members of the biggest chamber in our bicameral system. The elected MPs have very little power whereas the people with power are not elected.

            Don’t explain it away by stating that “this is just how we do things here”. We need to look at democratically more advanced countries and learn from them. How can we make governments more democratically legitimate instead of the current norm of minority governments (the last majority government in the UK was in 1935 when the Conservatives got 53% of the vote) that through some absurd wizardry still get a “majority” in the HoC? No wonder few people trust UK Governments if ever since 1935 the majority voted for someone else than the one they got.

            If you want to improve UK democracy you are going to have to accept that things need to change. Let’s start by making a link between having power and being elected. My preference would be to give the elected House of Commons real powers. Powers to set its own agenda. Powers to fire Cabinet Ministers if they screw up. Powers for every MP to put down a motion of no confidence in the Government. Powers to summon the PM and every Cabinet Minister to appear before a selection of MPs to explaim themselves (none of this “Sorry, the PM’s agenda is full for the next 24 months bullshit”).

            1. heyrick Silver badge

              "I have a degree in political science"

              Political? Science?

              Those are two words that don't belong together.

              (but yes, the British system is broken)

            2. tip pc Silver badge

              “ Now, even in formally presidential systems such as France and the US, the president doesn’t have many of those powers. But, more importantly, their presidents are directly elected. Because they have so much power they need the legitimacy of an election.”

              Looks like trump is really struggling to get anything passed, which is a good thing, but goes against the amount of power you think they have.

              “ In the UK it’s the Government that controls Parliament”

              Only when they have enough members in parliament aligned to their party or coalition to ensure that votes by those members support their agenda. Mrs May & BoJo had huge troubles getting their agendas through in the last parliament.

              “In the UK the ruling party just decided among themselves that Johnson was going to be the new President and nobody in the country was asked whether they thought it was a good idea to give all this power to him.”

              We eventually had an election in December 2019 and the majority of voters voted for MP’s of the party led by BoJo. You can’t say voters didn’t know A vote for their Tory MP wasn’t a vote for BoJo.

              Voters who voted for TB last time round didn’t know they get Brown though.

              “ The only elected positions in the UK are those of members of the House of Commons. We don’t elect our Head of State. We don’t elect our Prime Minister. ”

              Voters voted for BJ at the last election, some of those voters voted for BJ as Tory leader in their party leadership elections just as people voted for Corbyn to lead the Labour Party and also for Corbyn at the last election.

              “ @tip pc I have a degree in political science”

              Really? Politics science is an oxymoron

        3. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

          "Did you see Boris Johnson on your ballot paper? Or Michael Gove? Or Dominic Cummings?"

          Depending on where you lived you might have seen BoJo or Gove. Cummings, no.

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            >Cummings, no.

            Really? I thought he stood (unsuccessfully) for Uxbridge and South Ruislip, against Boris?

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              For the downvoters who didn't get it:

              https://www.businessinsider.fr/us/photos-boris-johnson-wins-seat-surrounded-by-elmo-lord-buckethead-2019-12

    2. Alan Brown Silver badge

      "...I can rather imagine an increasing number of people wondering why they bother."

      I can imagine that if they get angry enough, the fate of Mussolini awaits

      1. iron Silver badge

        We can but hope.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

    They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too, despite being completely outside their normal demographic i used to really enjoy listening to the BBC today programme on my commute to work & question time and newsnight. That all stopped around the time Corbyn became leader of Labour and the BBC programming became very one sided.

    I'm all for holding people & politicians to account, like the excellent Andrew Neil, but the recent/current obvious BBC bias has been too much to bear.

    As a license payer i always regarded the BBC impartiality as a sacred thing worth paying for. Not any more.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      The real problem with the BBC

      They used to report the news. They now try to make the news.

      They now like to report on scandal, bully interviewees and call on people to "do the right thing and resign" - this is not reporting what is going on in an impartial way, it is trying to get viewers.

      They also spend far too much time on "the personal view". For example, an aircraft crashes and they spend more time asking relatives things like "So, how do you feel that uncle X has died like this? Do you think Y should be punished"? than they do reporting the facts (which can include the devastating effect it has on relatives without dragging them in to the story).

      However, in the world of the "snowflake", this is seen as cold and uncaring and does not "spoon feed" the story to people with the attention spans of Donald Trump.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: The real problem with the BBC

        "do the right thing and resign"

        When did that last happen in the UK? Resign in a fit of pique, maybe. Take responsibility for a cock-up? Maybe the occasional minister might have jumped before he was pushed but otherwise, no.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

      Andrew Neil, the chair of the holding group for the media interests of the well-known tax exile Barclay Brothers?

      Sure this isn't a case of Confirmation Bias?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

        The same Andrew Neil Boris deliberately dodged being interviewed by.

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

      "That all stopped around the time Corbyn became leader of Labour and the BBC programming became very one sided."

      The BBC simultaneously gets criticised for being biased in favour of Labour by some and the Conservatives by others.

      The BBC simultaneously gets criticised for being biased in favour of Brexit by some and Remain by others.

      Seems they are ... stuck ..?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

        Have you ever watched the BBC? How many times did Emily Maitlis engage in Tory-bashing before being called in front of the Boss and told "we think your 5-minute rant against the Tories might have been a bit excessive.."?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

          “ Have you ever watched the BBC? How many times did Emily Maitlis engage in Tory-bashing before being called in front of the Boss and told "we think your 5-minute rant against the Tories might have been a bit excessive.."?”

          Years worth of Torry bashing by Maitlis and chums before someone bothered to have a word.

    4. Santa from Exeter

      Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

      Ah, the ususal complaints about the BBC.

      Right Win Leaning - BBC is Left Wing

      Left Wing Leaning - BBC is Right Wing

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

        Yes, at first thought you'd say that they must be doing something right.

        The problem with the BBC, though, is that they are demonstrably biased in favour of the government because that is where their funding comes from. If Corbyn had become PM the BBC would have been pro-Corbyn. They won't bite the hand that feeds it. Hence the name Government Broadcasting Corporation.

        The upper levels of the BBC currently reads like a who is who of the Conservative Party. When another party comes in they will all need to be purged again.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

          Are you having a laugh? The Government has been pro Brexit since 2016. The BBC has categorically not.

          Here's an example of left-wing complaints about the BBC:

          https://www.thenational.scot/news/17631396.bbc-has-explaining-to-do-over-record-farage-question-time-appearance/

          Here's the reality:

          https://iea.org.uk/media/iea-analysis-shows-systemic-bias-against-leave-supporters-on-flagship-bbc-political-programmes/

          1. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

            "Here's the reality:"

            Ah the unbiased IEA?

            Now who's 'avin' a giraffe ?!?!??

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

            Hmm - maybe an organisation that reports the news in an unbiased and factual way struggles to find any positive elements to leaving a powerful trading bloc comprised largely of democracies with similar world views to us and casting ourselves adrift on a global ocean without many friends.

            1. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

              Well, they will struggle to find positive elements when they banish from their platforms anybody that wanted to leave the EU.

              Over 50% of voters wanted to leave the EU but over 80% of Question Time invitees wanted to remain. That's over a multi-year period since the referendum. That's not an absence of positive reasons to leave, that's an absence of people to explain them.

              1. Anonymous Coward
                Anonymous Coward

                Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

                Cedric "Question Time"

                Because Farage never got a look in on QT? And the audience producer on that show doesn't have a penchant for sharing Britain First twitter posts? To be honest I've not watched that gammonfest in years.

        2. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

          The BBC was pro Corbyn and pro Labour.

          Watch any pre and pending election interview with a labour politician and they are allowed to say what they want uninterrupted, conservative politicians where continually interrupted and words put in their mouth.

          They are still at it now

          https://order-order.com/2020/08/11/robinsons-ed-argar-jibe-backfires/

          1. krs360

            Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

            You're referencing far-right Guido as a source?! The provincial wing of CCHQ? That's hilarious.

            Meanwhile, in the real world, there are countless academic studies categorically proving the exact opposite of what you say. For example:

            https://orca.cf.ac.uk/89096/1/1464884916648094.full.pdf

            https://www.lboro.ac.uk/media-centre/press-releases/2019/december/negativity-towards-labour-continues-to-intensify/

            Etc etc

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

              “ You're referencing far-right Guido”

              By your definition the guardian must be far far far left then!!!!!

              A google shows Order-order have even referenced the register articles a few times in support of their holding to account the government over the failed in house cv19 track and trace app etc. I think most of us can agree that the government dropped the ball on that one without being labelled far something.

              https://order-order.com/2020/05/05/10-problems-nhss-new-coronavirus-app/

              https://order-order.com/2020/05/06/experts-respond-government-nhs-app-rebuttal/

              If that is truly far right reporting then the left/right scales need a serious rebalancing.

            2. Cederic Silver badge

              Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

              Sorry but a 2013 academic paper - that doesn't at any point examine the _tone_ of the reporting - doesn't tell us anything about post 2016 BBC bias. The BBC took a sharp turn following the referendum, going from subtle support for Labour ("the corridors of Broadcasting House were strewn with empty champagne bottles") to the current anti-Leave anti-Trump bias that permeates the entire corporation.

              As for your link to Loughborough University, I'm not sure how to quantify negativity intensifying, or assess whether that's better or worse then negative coverage doubling. Perhaps you could share some sources that support your argument?

              Incidentally, even the BBC don't call Guido 'far right'. I mean, that site's further right than Stalin I guess, but perhaps you could highlight what informed your analysis of its position on the political spectrum?

          2. Binraider

            Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

            Impartiality is letting both sides speak and be challenged. I could list a hundred complaints about the biased reporting by Laura Kunessbergs and Andrew Neil (the latter especially) against the political left; however I don't whinge every time some tory speech is permitted on the Beeb. Neither should you whinge every time some leftie supporter gets to speak on TV too.

            Grow up, let us have political debate, not soundbites and twitterstorms. Politics is too important to act like petulant children.

            1. Intractable Potsherd Silver badge

              Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

              @Binraider: "Impartiality is letting both sides speak and be challenged."

              I think you mean "all sides", since there are rarely only two points of view. Rarely do the people with a centre view get a word in - it is always the furthest reaches of the extremes that get to shout their cases, because that makes for good TV. However, letting multiple points of view in raises the question of how far do you go? Does a supported of the "Electric Universe" need to included in anything about cosmology, for example? If not, why not - at a time of no-platforming for people with "unpopular" ideas such as people can't actually change sex, then this really needs to be debated.

              On the other hand, finding a major news outlet that considers Scottish independence in an even-handed way is very difficult - I'd be happy to have just one programme that gives equal coverage to pro-independence as it does to the status quo.

              1. Binraider

                Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

                Indeed I do, I stand corrected - let all sides speak. My statement was no doubt a system of the (broken) first-past the post two-party system we endure here.

    5. Alan Brown Silver badge

      Re: They need to have a word with the so called impartial BBC too

      "As a license payer i always regarded the BBC impartiality as a sacred thing worth paying for. Not any more."

      You might be interested to noted that the BBC has lost a couple million license payers then.

      I haven't watched live TV for nearly a decade and don't use iplayer (only the radio). Really should get around to cancelling mine.

  5. TrumpSlurp the Troll Silver badge
    Trollface

    Proposal

    According to the article this is a proposal.

    To stop or severely limit activities which gave the Tory party an 80 seat majority.

    I'm sure this will get fast tracked as essential new legislation.

    1. graeme leggett

      Re: Proposal

      Closing the stable door after the horse has bolted conveniently into a field of one's own choosing.

      1. Doctor Syntax Silver badge

        Re: Proposal

        Poacher turned gamekeeper or, more likely, putting the fox in charge of the hen house.

  6. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "create more transparent rules for political campaigning online"

    How about this for a rule : every politician's every tweet/post/declaration has to include a link to the full list of his/her contributors sorted descending by amount.

    That way it'll be a bit easier understanding why he/she says what he/she says.

    1. Woza

      Re: "create more transparent rules for political campaigning online"

      They should sew sponsors logos on their suits, like athletes. Or take a leaf out of stadium naming - like you have Etihad Stadium or the Kia Oval, could we see The Rio Tinto Prime Minister or The Boeing Defence Secretary?

      Idea courtesy Robin Williams.

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    What percentage of eligible British voters bother?

    Vote or take what you get

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: What percentage of eligible British voters bother?

      To which I would add "but don't vote for someone just because our favourite celebrity tells you to. Get off your ass and find out what they stand for yourself, don't rely on other people giving you their version of what is on offer."

    2. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: What percentage of eligible British voters bother?

      >Vote or take what you get

      And if you want your vote to count then, do as Noman Tebbit would, get on your bike and move to a marginal constituency and vote in a close run election.

      That's why the referendum was so popular, for 90% of voters it was the first time that their vote counted.

  8. Peter Prof Fox

    Strangle comment

    Suppose the Campaign For Wobbly Things wants to draw attention to the disastrous effect of Government policy. It AND EVERY MEMBER posting will have to identify themselves. Government ministers on the otherhand, with aides ad PR connections to the media can sneak things out. Example from BBC web yesterday: "A source close to Priti Patel said Ben & Jerrys were cheap trash..."

    1. Dan 55 Silver badge
      Unhappy

      Re: Strangle comment

      So I had to check it, find out you're right, and confirm to myself once again that politics has scraped through the bottom of the barrel, down through the sewers, and is burrowing its way down to the Earth's core to plant a flag and chant some jingoistic nonsense.

    2. Cederic Silver badge

      Re: Strangle comment

      Wait? The BBC refuse to name their source and this is somehow the Government's fault?

      Shit, the source "close to Priti Patel" could mean "some bloke that lives in the same town as Priti Patel".

      Your main point is valid but your example is not.

      1. Dan 55 Silver badge

        Re: Strangle comment

        There's a difference between the press protecting sources and the excessively cosy gov-press unwritten rule that anything can get get printed as long as it it's off the record and there's no comeback which is used by the press to get a story and by the government for anything from playground name calling in response to a perceived slight to waging inter-departmental wars to get someone fired.

        1. Cederic Silver badge

          Re: Strangle comment

          It's interesting that you blame the Government for this when just as much of the same behaviour comes from people in unions, people in the civil service, etc.

          Shit, Priti Patel had numerous off-the-record briefings against her, all reported in the media.

          So join me in disparaging the media for doing this instead of picking out just one of the people that they work with.

          1. Dan 55 Silver badge

            Re: Strangle comment

            Did I not do that in the post you replied to?

  9. Binraider

    Government that certainly benefitted from misinformation campaigns at the last election from the internet, announces plans to consult on changes to rules that helped put it in place. Not saying the opposition did not also resort to such tactics, but that they are present at all is one of the reasons why the UK's democracy is ranked poorly compared to many other states. I will be treating this with a not merely a pinch of salt, but a whole truckload.

    I filed a complaint with the Electoral Commission about false material posted by one party posing to be the other. They confirmed that such practise is not illegal nor, as such they are not in a position to enforce it. But I could file a complaint with the party concerned.

    This is in contrast to print or television where the publishing party has to declare the origins of it's material; and anything non-factual can be acted on by the Electoral Commission as a criminal matter.

  10. Colin Bain

    Er Truth>

    So the proposal is to put some kind of "kitemark" of authenticity on the obviously truthful and transparent claims of legitimate politicians.

    Or in other words, a rubber stamp on "political" statements in a campaign.

    Or in other other words, only official lies are to be allowed!

    This is 2020, not 1984, right?

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