Saturday, 13 August 2016

What is Labour Tomorrow?

A group of Blairite figures have set up a company called Labour Tomorrow. It was Incorporated by Nicola Murphy on April 1st 2016, which was a good few months before the Anyone But Corbyn coup was launched. It soon appointed David Blunkett and his fellow unelected House of Lords peer Brenda Dean.

All three of the senior figures behind this Labour Tomorrow project are Blairites. David Blunkett was a Blair loyalist who served in various cabinet positions under Blair, including Home Secretary. Brenda Dean was also a minister in Tony Blair's government between 1997 and 2005. Nicola Murphy is the wife of the Blairite MP and former caretaker shadow chancellor Chris Leslie.*

The Labour Tomorrow website claims that it's some kind of fundraising organisation to support centre-left activities like political blogs, smart campaigns, policy development and debate. The only blog post on the website was written by Blunkett and Dean. After having a few predictable digs at Jeremy Corbyn the article states that the organisation has "already raised funds which will be deployed to back projects in policy development, digital media, campaigning and building activist networks".

This focus on digital media is interesting. It's absolutely clear that the right-wing Blairite faction of the Labour Party are taking a hammering on social media. Back in the 1990s their efforts to carefully stage manage the news agenda were highly successful (Alistair Campbell didn't earn his reputation for being the master of the dark arts of political spin for nothing) but in the social media age these old tactics are inept, if not entirely counter-productive.

These days the news agenda can't be carefully orchestrated by drip-feeding stories to the mainstream press because pesky independent bloggers and social media activists like me keep coming along to rip their narratives apart. Social media isn't yet powerful enough to entirely counter-balance the mainstream media propaganda machine, but as time moves on more and more people are abandoning daily newspapers and seeking information on their smartphones instead. This trend towards diversified news content providers (including independent blogs, voluntary organisations and all kinds of other websites) is making it increasingly impossible for political parties to control the parameters of political debate by drip-feeding propaganda to their mates in the mainstream media echo chamber.

It looks an awful lot like this Labour Tomorrow organisation has been set up in order to shower cash on Blairite approved blogs, social media pages and protest groups in order to create a fake grassroots movement in favour of Blairite centre-right Thatcherism-lite slop in order to try to counter the genuine grassroots movement inspired by Jeremy Corbyn's election as Labour leader.

This kind of fake grassroots campaigning is hardly a new development, in fact it's been going on for years and has even acquired the nickname "astroturfing".

Some people might suggest that it's a conspiracy theory to suggest that Labour Tomorrow could be intent on creating fake social media movements and the like in order to create the illusion that their outdated Blairite ideology is still popular, but the evidence of their attitude is clear from a quick look at their Twitter page.

The Labour Tomorrow Twitter account hasn't posted a single tweet and is only following six accounts (including those of the Blairite thinktank Progress and the Blairite riddled Fabian Society). Despite having posted no content, this account nas somehow amassed over 2,000 followers.

This discrepancy between the lack of content and follows and the significant number of followers is enough to raise the suspicions of anyone who actually understands the basics of how Twitter works.

A look through the accounts following the Labour Tomorrow 
page make it absolutely clear that it is followed by an army of fake spambot accounts, most of which have been set up in the last week and generally have fewer than 10 followers of their own.

The tiny majority of real people following the Labour Tomorrow account actually seem to be Jeremy Corbyn supporters keeping an eye on it to see what it eventually does!

A look through their contributions  of some of the 2,000 odd spambot accounts reveal the exact same retweets over and over and over again.

One of the most commonly retweeted articles by the Labour Tomorrow spambot army is an advert for a company selling chewy sweets in the shape of penises. It seems that whenever Labour Tomorrow kicks into life, their spambot army is going to switch seamlessly from hawking edible cocks to hawking even less palatable Blairite propaganda!

The problem with buying likes from clickfarms is that it only creates a veneer of popularity. One hundred spambot accounts that retweet your content to their tiny audiences of half a dozen or so other accounts is absolutely worthless in comparison to one real person who shares your content with their real audience of real friends, family, work colleagues, neighbours etc.

The fact that Labour Tomorrow have gone in for the same kind of paid-like spambot tactics as disgusting extreme right groups just goes to show how far behind the curve they are on social media. They're so out of touch with recent developments in the political landscape that that they think that social media success is something that can just be bought for cash from some clickfarm in the middle east, rather than something that develops organically because real people like and share the real content provided by real people.

If they're just going to waste the funds they've raised (from as yet unnamed sources) on idiocy like paying spambot clickfarms to follow their Twitter account, the Labour Tomorrow astroturfing campaign looks set to be no threat to anyone.

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