Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:04 am


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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by halfwise on Thu Apr 27, 2017 12:25 pm

they should ask what they did with Trump voters: how many have changed their minds? Over here most who voted for him still think he's doing a great job.

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Apr 27, 2017 2:02 pm

Not surprising really, as most didn't vote for him on substance it would be strange for them to judge him on substance either Rolling Eyes

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Eldorion on Thu Apr 27, 2017 7:14 pm

Bluebottle wrote:
https://www.buzzfeed.com/jamesball/heres-who-voted-for-brexit-and-who-didnt?
People were more likely to vote with their newspaper than their political party.

It's The Sun Wot Won It No

{{{To be fair they do have a perfect record in endorsements for general elections and UK-wide referendums since 1979, which AFAICT no other major British newspaper can claim, so maybe they're on to something despite being scumbags.}}}
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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by David H on Thu Apr 27, 2017 8:25 pm

... or maybe because of. I've learned the hard way never to underestimate scumbags. The line between reporting news and creating news can be almost invisible. Evil or Very Mad

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Apr 27, 2017 10:58 pm

The view of the EU disseminated in the English non-educated tabloid reading part of the population definitely played a major role in the result of the brexit referendum.


https://www.buzzfeed.com/jamesball/heres-who-voted-for-brexit-and-who-didnt?

Who knew that 40 years of hysterical nonsensical bad press with little or no basis in reality to an uneducated populace would muddle the water. Rolling Eyes

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Thu Apr 27, 2017 11:01 pm


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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Sat Apr 29, 2017 1:51 am

https://www.theguardian.com/news/2017/mar/23/conservative-election-scandal-victory-2015-expenses

No wonder May is calling an election, she might loose 20 of her sitting MPs, and she has stated publicly, in the HoC no less, (to rapturous laughter from the Tory back-benchers) that she supports every Conservative MP. The gall and temerity in light up straight up breaching election laws, and then laughing it off. And people still vote for them... THAT is the worst part.

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Mrs Figg on Sat Apr 29, 2017 7:18 pm

its pretty crappy all round. Mad

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by chris63 on Thu May 04, 2017 11:42 pm


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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by halfwise on Fri May 05, 2017 12:54 pm

You could replace that head with Trump and it would be hard to tell the difference.

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Mrs Figg on Fri May 05, 2017 7:11 pm

Extremely Crabbit  bloody Tories

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by malickfan on Fri May 05, 2017 8:41 pm

I:

A) Wasn't even aware the local elections were today
B) Live in a Tory Safe seat (for both national and local elections) that has returned a massive majority yet again for the Conservatives
C) Haven't received any of the usual leaflets through the door from the various candidates, most of whom I've never heard of.
D) Wouldn't know who to vote for, and it would have been a completely wasted vote anyway.

Not sure who I will be voting for in the general election, the conservatives will win by a landslide regardless.


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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Sun May 07, 2017 7:33 pm


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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Sun May 07, 2017 7:34 pm

malickfan wrote:I:

A) Wasn't even aware the local elections were today
B) Live in a Tory Safe seat (for both national and local elections) that has returned a massive majority yet again for the Conservatives
C) Haven't received any of the usual leaflets through the door from the various candidates, most of whom I've never heard of.
D) Wouldn't know who to vote for, and it would have been a completely wasted vote anyway.

Not sure who I will be voting for in the general election, the conservatives will win by a landslide regardless.


Well, they certainly will if all the people who don't want to vote for them says that :/ Smile

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by halfwise on Sun May 07, 2017 8:19 pm

Macron won. The world isn't totally going to pot.

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Eldorion on Sun May 07, 2017 9:17 pm


There is way too much to unpack there for me to give a full, meaningful response, but I agree that a lot of things about modern "Big Data" are deeply unsettling. While advertising has always had the ability to shape people's beliefs in sometimes uncomfortable ways, the level of data-collection that modern technology has made possible certainly changes the game from older models of advertising, and the evolution of this phenomenon is certainly worth studying. That said, I think comparing it to the psychological aspects of torture (as the article implicitly does) is both misleading and actually kind of offensive. Targeting voters and/or consumers with specific kinds of ads is not the same as coercing people into a certain course of action. It's also not exclusive to the right, and to completely neglect to mention the 2012 Obama campaign's revolutionary use of data for political ends is both a major gap in an analysis like this and hard to read as anything but authorial bias. Also, the flip-side of technological change is that there are far more alternative channels of information now than there used to be, which dilutes the impact of advertising and control of mass media. Of course, many of these new channels are untrustworthy, but that's not exactly the same issue.

Also, my compulsion to correct gross historical illiteracy in journalism continues, and this...

The Guardian wrote:Gavin Millar, a QC and expert in electoral law, described the situation as “highly disturbing”. He believes the only way to find the truth would be to hold a public inquiry. But a government would need to call it. A government that has just triggered an election specifically to shore up its power base. An election designed to set us into permanent alignment with Trump’s America.

Martin Moore of King’s College, London, pointed out that elections were a newly fashionable tool for would-be authoritarian states. “Look at Erdoğan in Turkey. What Theresa May is doing is quite anti-democratic in a way. It’s about enhancing her power very deliberately. It’s not about a battle of policy between two parties.”

This is Britain in 2017. A Britain that increasingly looks like a “managed” democracy. Paid for a US billionaire. Using military-style technology. Delivered by Facebook. And enabled by us. If we let this referendum result stand, we are giving it our implicit consent. This isn’t about Remain or Leave. It goes far beyond party politics. It’s about the first step into a brave, new, increasingly undemocratic world.

...is bullshit. Specifically, the claim that a PM calling an early election for opportunistic reasons is indicative of Britain becoming less democratic is completely full of shit, bordering on a straight-up lie in its implication that this is somehow a new feature of British politics. It's not. This is the usual motivation for calling a snap election, both in the UK and other countries using the Westminster system. It's the entire reason why the Lib Dems insisted on passing the Fixed-term Parliaments Act 2011, because they and everyone else knew that, given the opportunity, the Conservatives (like most parties in their situation) would probably try to win an outright majority. And thanks to the FTPA, the only reason we're having an election right now is because the opposition parties agreed to it, which is (a) not how "managed democracy" works at all, and (b) more equitable than the system was a mere seven years ago.

That said, the most egregious part of the article might actually be this:

The Guardian wrote:Cambridge Analytica worked on campaigns in several key states for a Republican political action committee. Its key objective, according to a memo the Observer has seen, was “voter disengagement” and “to persuade Democrat voters to stay at home”: a profoundly disquieting tactic. It has previously been claimed that suppression tactics were used in the campaign, but this document provides the first actual evidence.

The complaints about voter suppression in the 2016 Presidential election have to do with things like the gutting of the Voting Rights Act of 1965 (which was instituted to protect the rights of minority voters, especially in the South), voter ID laws that make it harder for people who can't afford the fees required to get a driver's license to vote, purging of voter rolls, and limitations on polling locations and hours that disproportionately effect demographic groups that tend to vote Democratic. Trying to conflate it with advertisements that encouraged people to skip voting is, at best, a gross misunderstanding of one of the most important and dangerous trends in American democracy today. And contrary to what the article claims, there has been plenty of evidence of these things happening. This is actually kind of pissing me off at how badly the Guardian dropped the ball here. You're actively undercutting the effort to stop voter suppression by claiming the evidence they've shown is insufficient!
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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by halfwise on Sun May 07, 2017 10:38 pm

I don't think the writer claimed that the psychology of torture was used on voters, but that the overlaying field of psychological persuasion was used for both torture and voting - a subtle but important difference.

Yes, the article shows clear signs of bias, but I think pointing out how voter laws don't address the internet is a very important point. There's limits on what campaigners on the ground can do: if going door-to-door advocating a specific candidate, donation levels are limited. But you can target neighborhoods that are known to vote primarily one way or the other, and so long as you don't advocate a specific candidate but just ask them to vote, donation levels are unlimited. It's very sneaky. But at least there's some attempt to prevent rich donors from taking over the vote.

No such limits are placed on what news gets directed to people's browsers. I think this data intensive marketing definitely has effects: people on both sides are highly susceptible. No idea what can be done about it, but it's good to have it out there so folks can begin thinking about it.

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Bluebottle on Sun May 07, 2017 11:28 pm

As far as data collection/protection/privacy is concerned it certainly is interesting that the UK can't wait to leave the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/09/facebook-data-privacy-max-schrems-european-court-of-justice

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Eldorion on Sun May 07, 2017 11:48 pm

halfwise wrote:I don't think the writer claimed that the psychology of torture was used on voters, but that the overlaying field of psychological persuasion was used for both torture and voting - a subtle but important difference.

Okay. Nowhere did I claim that the article said that "the psychology of torture was used on voters". However, I think that "the overlaying field of psychological persuasion" is such a broad one that inviting direct comparisons between torture and data-driven political marketing is a disingenuous use of loaded language, and a little demeaning toward the seriousness of torture as a political and moral issue. It's hardly my biggest grievance with the article, though.

Yes, the article shows clear signs of bias, but I think pointing out how voter laws don't address the internet is a very important point.  There's limits on what campaigners on the ground can do: if going door-to-door advocating a specific candidate, donation levels are limited.  But you can target neighborhoods that are known to vote primarily one way or the other, and so long as you don't advocate a specific candidate but just ask them to vote, donation levels are unlimited.  It's very sneaky.  But at least there's some attempt to prevent rich donors from taking over the vote.

No disagreement regarding the corrosive effect that the amount of money involved in contemporary political campaigns has.

No such limits are placed on what news gets directed to people's browsers.  I think this data intensive marketing definitely has effects: people on both sides are highly susceptible.  No idea what can be done about it, but it's good to have it out there so folks can begin thinking about it.

As I said in my previous post, I agree that it's a game-changer in many ways. I'm not entirely sure that it is so fundamental a change from other methods of attempting to influence voters' decision-making process that I'd describe democracy as having been been "hijacked", but I can see where people are coming from in making that complaint, particularly in conjunction with billionaire donors and such, as the article elaborates on at length.
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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Eldorion on Sun May 07, 2017 11:55 pm

Bluebottle wrote:As far as data collection/protection/privacy is concerned it certainly is interesting that the UK can't wait to leave the jurisdiction of the Court of Justice of the European Union

https://www.theguardian.com/technology/2015/oct/09/facebook-data-privacy-max-schrems-european-court-of-justice

It's pretty gross, yeah. And the snooper's charter that finally got passed last year is a travesty. Arguably May's signature achievement as Home Secretary, although she was PM by the time the successful version of the bill finally passed.
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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Eldorion on Sun May 07, 2017 11:58 pm

Jumping back a few posts...

halfwise wrote:Macron won.  The world isn't totally going to pot.

I haven't had time to read up on all the results yet but I was very glad to see this. Le Pen winning ~34% of the vote is unfortunate but after last year I'll take any margin of victory (and obviously 65% is quite a large margin by normal standards). Razz Fingers crossed Macron has a more successful presidency than Hollande did, for everyone's sake.


Last edited by Eldorion on Mon May 08, 2017 12:01 am; edited 1 time in total
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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by halfwise on Mon May 08, 2017 12:01 am

I don't think it's hijacking democracy any more than the plainly libelous screeds 18th century newspapers used to print about candidates, but it's definitely outside the regulation we currently see on other forms of communication.

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by halfwise on Mon May 08, 2017 12:02 am

Eldorion wrote:Jumping back a few posts...

halfwise wrote:Macron won.  The world isn't totally going to pot.

I haven't had time to read up on all the results yet but I was very glad to see this. Le Pen winning ~34% of the vote is unfortunate but after last year I'll take any margin of victory. Razz Fingers crossed Macron has a more successful presidency than Hollande did, for everyone's sake.


I would even say Trump helped Macron win. The French saw what happened here and were not passive in response.

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Re: Britain at a crossroads - United Kingdom general election June 8 2017

Post by Eldorion on Mon May 08, 2017 12:03 am

Agreed. And I tend to think that we're still in a better place regarding the media and accountability than we were during the Gilded Age and the heyday of yellow journalism. Which is admittedly a really low bar, but hopefully a sign that things can improve again.
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