Spotting fake news

Dubious sources and buzzwords devoid of content in the Prime Minister ABdP Johnson’s bluster show he is not credible.

We are leaving the EU on 31st October come what may, no ifs or buts. This is essential to restoring trust in our democracy.

Leaving? Not if he can’t get a deal. Not by no deal if he can’t get an election before 17 October. It’s a promise he can’t keep. He can’t even legislate to unite Ireland as it would be contrary to treaty obligations. And he won’t endorse the backstop.

We are getting on with the job of renewing our country and building an enterprising, outward looking and truly global United Kingdom.

Renewing? Yes it needs renewed after nine years of Tory rule, but Tories are not the ones to do it.

Like you, I am proud that our party believes in freedom and opportunity for all. I believe everyone deserves to be treated with respect and dignity and to be given the opportunity to succeed on merit.

Enterprising, outward looking, freedom, opportunity. Empty words from De Pfeffel’s letter to a new Tory potential candidate. Especially “merit”- what can an Etonian say about that?

A nameless facebook commenter: The elitist left are happy to give billions to a trading organisation and are happy to allow a Marxist to destroy the economics of our country. Tax cuts benefit the poorer workers…

“The elitist left”? What? It makes no sense. The grammar and syntax mimic meaningful English, but there is no argument, just bland assertion black is white. The more you earn the more you gain by tax cuts, and ABdP Johnson proposes cuts to the top rate.

Another: What a pathetic job of hosting Question Time tonight Fiona Bruce! Interrupting Brexiteer people trying to answer, letting Thornberry and McTavish drone on as they like.

I can’t listen to the BBC news any more. Tories and Tory commentators- eg a former editor of the Spectator waffling meaningless rubbish- go unchallenged. When I am screaming swear words at the radio, I switch off for my own sanity. My Leaver friend feels the bias goes the opposite way. Pathetic, drone- words to belittle, and reduce respect. He is discourteous, and that muddies the waters further.

Though so am I, elsewhere. Here I refer to ABdP Johnson, elsewhere to Spaffer or BoJo the Clown. I must stop that. It makes me feel slightly better for a moment and increases anger and distrust. I must be clear headed!

EU to lose £500bn and UK to gain £640bn in no deal Brexit, economist claims. Ooh, which economist? Patrick Minford! This is not a surprise. Minford is in the minority amongst academic economists, most of whom say Brexit will make Britain poorer. It’s a Telegraph headline, shared by a strong Leaver on facebook. I don’t like the idea of making our allies poorer.

He also shared a post saying Switzerland has no hard border with the EU, so why should we need one in Ireland? I went to check. Switzerland is in the Single Market, which few people would consider to be genuinely Leaving. Yet I did not know off hand. By the time I had fact checked, conversation would have moved on. If you don’t care about fact checkers you can “Win” a lot of arguments, at the expense of trust. You don’t play chess with a pigeon, as they say, but I expect more of friends.

A recent Bank of England study suggested that the collapse of investment since the referendum may have reduced productivity by between 2% and 5% from what it otherwise would have been. I don’t believe Minford, but I believe the Bank of England.

Lies and anger swirl on social media. I personally would not believe anything the papers write, said someone, but that is a counsel of despair. I believe it if it is against their interests.

So what about The Times’ report that the Tories were polling northern Labour seats to see if social conservative positions like being against trans rights would depress the working class vote for Labour? They are the “liberal elite” would be the argument, supporting all sorts of undeserving people and not you. Vote for us. We don’t support anyone, but at least the undeserving won’t get handouts! Who knows what personally targeted ads will go on facebook. The antidote is Hope-

The Times is a transphobic publication, and could be trying to reinforce anti-trans views as mainstream, from the bottom of the hierarchy to the top. That potential candidate, a trans woman, denies the report. I hope that Times readers would be revolted by such a tactic but can’t be sure.

How can we maintain clear heads and an understanding of events in these times? By trusting a reputable source of news, such as The Guardian, and considering other sources of news and comment to hear what others are hearing.

How can we have dialogue across the divide? This is difficult. Understanding how the online discourse works is a help. Groups such as Leavers associate together, honing their rhetoric. Points condense, so that an argument becomes an assertion becomes a slogan shorthand for that assertion. “Democracy requires Leaving”, for example, without any reasoning on how that might be done. Only No Deal is truly Leaving the Brussels Jackboot. Getting back to the level of argument from such slogans- There should be a People’s Vote! – is difficult, especially on line. So we trade buzzwords, feeling vindicated but increasingly frustrated.

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