The latest Brexit propaganda campaign
By TruePublica: It is reported in various European media outlets that Boris Johnson’s government is planning a Europe-wide media blitz to convince EU governments and citizens that the U.K. is serious about leaving, deal or no deal, on October 31. “No ifs – no buts.”
This is on top of a widely reported domestic public information campaign where officials are looking at taking out pages in major European newspapers and targeting online adverts at European citizens, directing them to U.K. government information on Brexit.
There’s something here that should not sit well with, well, everyone.
The European public information campaign, we are told, will target and be tailored to U.K. citizens living on the Continent. But there is a wider aim to push out a certain message to EU capitals and it isn’t just that the U.K. is not bluffing when it says it will leave at the end of October.
Johnson himself has stated quite categorically that he will not negotiate with EU leaders as long as they refuse to reopen Theresa May’s Withdrawal Agreement. They, in turn, have emphatically refused. So the campaign has a two-pronged effect. One is to demonstrate just how tough the new Tory leadership administration is and – if all else fails to inform many citizens across the EU that the system by which they are governed is not democratic and should, therefore, be abandoned.
The Johnson government are heading for all sorts of problems before October 31st. But you can see how this strategy will work out. If the EU27 decide, as they have always confirmed, that there is to be no negotiation of the Withdrawal Agreement – especially the Irish backstop, then a no-deal Brexit will be blamed on them – it will be their fault. Words like intransigence, inflexibility and obstinacy will feature.
Johnson, yesterday sent his most senior EU adviser and Brexit negotiator to Brussels to deliver in person his message that the UK will leave without a deal unless the bloc abolishes the Irish backstop. This is the warning message.
The Northern Irish DUP leader, Arlene Foster has confirmed this strategy. From Politico.eu comes that message loud and clear. “Democratic Unionist Party leader Arlene Foster warned that the “intransigence” of the EU and Ireland toward the Irish backstop issue in Brexit talks could lead to the very political instability they want to avoid.”
There is a vapour trail here. It smells of another Boris Johson advisor – Steve Bannon, who is causing political trouble all over Europe and has the hallmarks of ‘career psychopath’ Dominic Cummings, the architect of Vote Leave. This is a campaign organisation who only a few days ago was involved in the whole Cambridge Analytica scandal again and was found to have resisted the electoral commission its investigations and subsequently refused to cooperate with it. Vote Leave was initially fined £61,000 and since referred to the police for breaking electoral law.
Bob Posner, the Electoral Commission’s chief executive, said that it followed evidence and conducted a thorough investigation into spending and campaigning by Vote Leave and the associated BeLeave group: “We found substantial evidence that the two groups worked to a common plan, did not declare their joint working and did not adhere to the legal spending limits. These are serious breaches of the laws put in place by Parliament to ensure fairness and transparency at elections and referendums.”
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These are the people now in power at No10 Downing Street. Matthew Elliot, the former CEO of Vote Leave and founder of the TaxPayers’ Alliance, joins the new finance minister, Sajid Javid, at the Treasury, while Dominic Cummings, former campaign director of Vote Leave, has acted as a special adviser to Boris Johnson.
These campaigns, driven by these same people, will soon blast that critics of Brexit are against their own country. They will be treated in effect as a fifth column, like an internal enemy, working against the interests of the nation.
As Ian Dunt over at politics.co.uk says from Johnson came that unmistakable message. “To scrutinise or criticise the new government’s programme was to be a traitor against Britain, or at the very least to fail to have sufficient loyalty towards it. Johnson was straight-out-the-gate, starting as he meant to go on – jingoistic, aggressive, divisive. This is the first glimpse we got of how he’ll govern.”
The next few months will be an old fashioned propaganda campaign. Tens of millions of public money will be spent o it. It will have echoes of Churchill, the Battle of Britain and all that.
It was successive governments from Blair’s time in office, seriously exacerbated by Theresa May at the Home Office that a state architecture of surveillance, media manipulation and propaganda emerged.
State organisations like Brigade 77, the British Army social media unit, along with the Integrity Initiative (described as a British version of Russian Media tactics team), the Institute of Statecraft (described as ‘chilling manipulator of the public), Behavioural Insights Team (described as ‘social nudge unit‘) and MindSpace (re-arranging psychopolitical behaviourism) are now all in the hands of people like Dominic Cummings. Can you imagine that?
Patrick Wintour over at the Guardian writes that Cummings has an “ability to conduct feuds, put into practice his highly developed theory about achieving change in unresponsive bureaucracies – where corners exist only to be cut and orthodoxies to be challenged.”
Johnson, Elliott, Cummings and others are well versed in the dark arts despite denials. This next propaganda campaign is designed to cause trouble in Europe, whilst it prepares Britain for a dramatic no-deal Brexit which will then blame everyone else for its predicted failures.