Tuesday 31 July 2018

The modern extreme-right are just copying ideas straight out of the Nazi propaganda playbook

There's absolutely no doubt that the extreme-right is on the rise. Italy, Hungary, Poland, and Israel have elected extreme-right ethno-nationalists into government.

In Britain it's not all Brexit voters were vile extreme-right fanatics, but there's no doubt whatever that the extreme-right demographic were numerous enough to tip the balance in favour of Leave in a very close 52%-48% referendum vote.

In the United States Donald Trump was propelled into power with the support of the KKK and the 'alt-right', and he returned the favour by appointing the alt-right ideologue Steve Bannon as his most senior adviser, and then actually claimed that the Swastika-carrying "Jews will not replace us" thugs and murderous extreme-right terrorists in Charlottsville included "some very fine people".

One of the most extraordinary things about this resurgence of fascism is that the modern extreme-right are doing little more than lazily copying tactics straight out of the Nazi propaganda playbook, presumably because they don't actually have any new ideas of their own, and just want another stab at world domination via the methods that almost succeeded for Adolf Hitler and the Nazis.

The censorship fallacy

One of the most blatant examples of the modern extreme-right ripping off Nazi propaganda tactics is the continual refrain that their ideas are being censored, often expressed through sound systems on stages and glitzy websites (where the money actually comes from to pay for all of this extreme-right propaganda is the subject for another article ...).

Even worse than standing on a stage to claim that you're being silenced is the extreme-right tactic of screaming "censorship" whenever anyone else dares to use their own freedom of speech to criticise what the extreme-right fanatic was talking about. 

Freedom of speech means that you're free to say whatever you like (within the bounds of the law), but it certainly doesn't provide freedom from criticism if what you chose to say was a load of absolute shite.

Just like Adolf Hitler in 1928 the modern extreme-right are pretending that their views are being unfairly censored, and if these dangerous fanatics ever did assume political power, we can be absolutely sure that their very first moves would involve launching their own clamp down on free speech and setting about the ruthless persecution of their political opponents, just like Adolf Hitler did before them.

Free speech and criminality

Of course extreme-right fanatics will immediately try to counter criticism of their victims of censorship posturing by citing Tommy Robinson (real name Stephen Yaxley-Lennon).

"But we are being censored" they'll wail "because our beloved Tommy has been jailed for free speech".

The problem with this "free Tommy" narrative is that it's pure deception. Yaxley-Lennon wasn't jailed for free speech, he was jailed for attempting to disrupt the prosecution of child sex abuse gangs as a personal publicity stunt.

He risked collapsing several linked trials and freeing monstrous child sex abusers, he did it as a publicity stunt despite having been previously warned to stop disrupting trials by judges, and he pleaded guilty to the crimes he was charged with.

The fundamental deceit here is the claim that free speech gives people a blanket right to say and do whatever they like, but that's not how free speech works. Nobody is free to yell "fire" in a crowded theatre, nobody is free to threaten to rape or kill people when they disagree with them, and nobody is free to deliberately disrupt child sex abuse trials for their own personal advantage.

Anyone who pretends that free speech does cover these things is simply misusing the term to excuse criminal behaviour.

Victim complexing

One of the most effective extreme-right propaganda techniques is victim complexing, which constitutes an effort to instil extreme levels of self-pity within the victims of their propaganda.

Pretending that certain minority groups are receiving favours is one way of doing it, pushing the fiction that the most privileged people in society are the biggest victims of discrimination is another, and pretending that certain political views are being banned is another.

The whole point of victim complexing is to inflate people's levels of self-pity as much as possible, because once you've got your intended audience walking around with victim complexes the size of hot air balloons, it only takes the slightest puff of wind to get them all floating in the desired direction.

Xenophobia and anti-Semitism

Stoking fear of foreigners has always been a core tactic of the extreme-right, as has anti-Semitism. It's absolutely clear that this kind of rampant xenophobia and bigotry is on the rise again.

Look at Donald Trump's use of grotesque anti-immigrant rhetoric to whip up his extreme-right base (despite the fact that his mother was an immigrant, and two of his three wives have been immigrants!).

Look at the way both Brexit campaigns used anti-immigrant fearmongering to achieve their aims (the Nazi style Leave.EU posters & the recently exposed Vote Leave campaign of highly misleading anti-immigrant fearmongering targeted social media dark ads).

Consider the wave of racism and racist attacks in Italy that have accompanied the rapid resurgence of Italian fascism there.

Consider the use of anti-immigrant rhetoric and vile anti-Semitic propaganda by the extreme-right Hungarian government of Vikton Orbán to provide cover for his ever more tyrannical and anti-democratic political agenda. 

The parallels between Orbán's massive anti-Semitic poster campaign declaring the Jewish billionaire George Soros as an "enemy of the people" and the two minutes hate against Emmanuel Goldstein in George Orwell's 1984 are impossible to ignore.

Cultural Marxism

The threat of "cultural Marxism" is another fascist trope pulled straight out of the Nazi propaganda playbook.

The Nazi propaganda trope of "Kulturbolschewismus" (cultural Bolshevism) was a way of railing against modernism and progressive values. 

In those days allegations of "Kulturbolschewismus" were lobbed at modern art, Bauhaus architecture, and anything resembling socially liberal values. Today the same allegation of "cultural Marxism" is used to disparage issues like gay rights, transgender rights, and gender neutrality.

Given that Marx's economic philosophy centred on exposing the inequalities and abuses of the capitalist economy, and steered well clear of architectural aesthetics and transgender issues, it's absolutely clear that the term "cultural Marxism" is just a way of invoking scary red bogeymen in order to fearmonger against progressive and modernist trends that the extreme-right see as threats to their traditionalist hyper-conformist mentality.

Normalisation of Nazi propaganda

One of the most shocking things about this resurgence of fascism is the way in which Nazi propaganda is being rapidly normalised within political discourse.

Donald Trump is the obvious example, with members of the Republican Party ever willing to excuse, or even parrot Trump's extremist rhetoric out of their desire to ride on the coat tails of his success. It's not necessary to rehabilitate the reputation of the hard-right warmonger George W. Bush to note that at least the previous Republican President never resorted to racist Trumpian anti-immigrant abuse to whip up support from the extreme-right, nor sought to impose constitution defying anti-immigrant legislation.

In Britain the story is the same. The once centre-right Tory party has passionately embraced the extreme-right, welcoming the fanatically right-wing ultranationalist blue-kip demographic into the Tory fold with open arms.

from Theresa May spewing vile anti-immigrant rhetoric, through the disgusting BNP-inspired fearmongering of the Tories' 2016 London Mayoral election campaign, to young Tories openly spreading Nazi propaganda tropes without fear of recriminations, it's absolutely clear that the Tory party has shifted so far to the right, that what was until recently the domain of the extreme-right is now considered perfectly normal and acceptable, not just among the Tory rank and file, but more worryingly, within the party leadership too.

The paradox of tolerance

We've already seen how the extreme-right resort to victim-complex crying over their freedom of speech when they are imprisoned for their lawless behaviour, or even when others use their own freedom of speech to argue back against their propaganda.

It's absolutely clear that the extreme-right want to exist in an unlimited tolerance environment where they are free from the constraints of the laws of the land, and free from any criticism of their views.

Essentially they're demanding absolute tolerance of their ever increasing use of Nazi propaganda, and their unquestionably lawless behaviour.

But as Karl Popper pointed out in 1945, "unlimited tolerance must lead to the disappearance of tolerance. If we extend unlimited tolerance even to those who are intolerant, if we are not prepared to defend a tolerant society against the onslaught of the intolerant, then the tolerant will be destroyed, and tolerance with them".

It's hard to argue that he was wrong given that he witnessed Adolf Hitler's rise to power using the victim complexing narrative that his ideas were being unfairly censored, only to immediately set about silencing and executing all of his political opponents to create one of the most deadly and intolerant autocratic regimes in human history once he got into power.

The lessons of history

Now that the same process is repeating over again, with the modern extreme-right using the exact same propaganda tactics to spread their intolerant ideologies, it's worth remembering Winston Churchill's warning: "those who fail to learn from history are doomed to repeat it".

Now that almost all of the generation who witnessed the disgusting barbarity of fascism first hand (which obviously included Orwell, Popper and Churchill) are now dead, with the very youngest of the WWII veterans into their 90s now, it's becoming increasingly clear that the lessons of history are indeed being forgotten, and the extreme-right are perfectly prepared to use the exact same propaganda tactics as the Nazis before them in order to attack and undermine socially liberal democracy.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Monday 30 July 2018

The Tories are prioritising their own narrow party political interests over those of the British public (AGAIN)

The Tory government are actively conspiring to keep their "no deal" Brexit preparations secret from the British public in case people "shit themselves" and decide that the Tory party is so unfit to govern that they get locked out of power for a generation or more.

The original idea was for the government to release "reassuring" weekly briefings on how their "no deal" preparations are going, but after a massive public backlash against the idea of stockpiling food and medicines for when the UK government deliberately trashes cross border trade, the Tories have suddenly U-turned and decided to now continue their preparations for the self-inflicted "no deal" meltdown in secret.

How is it even remotely possible for these Tory Brextremists to continue pretending that they're carrying out the "will of the people" when they're actively hiding what they're doing from the people because they're afraid of the public reaction?

Then there's the fact that keeping their "no deal" preparations secret defeats their stated justification for making "no deal" threats the keystone of their toddler tantrum of a negotiating strategy. The pseudo-logic Brextremists used for making these "no deal" threats was that the EU would cave in to all of our demands out of fear of a "no deal" economic implosion, but if the Tories maintain a wall of secrecy around their "no deal" preparations rather than making them in the open, it would be easy for others to make the case that they're actually just bluffing.

By deciding to conduct their "no deal" preparations in secret the Tories are undermining their own ridiculous narrative in favour of making the "no deal" threats in the first place.

Then there's the part about keeping their "no deal" preparations secret because they're afraid of another General Election and getting locked out of power by a public perception that they're unfit to govern. If that isn't a glaring demonstration that the Tories are prioritising their own narrow party political interests above public interest, I honestly don't know what is.

The Tories are well aware that "no deal" would be an absolute disaster for the British public (their own impact assessments are absolutely clear that it would trigger a massive economic crisis), and now they've realised that publicising their makeshift plans to deal with the chaos they're planning to inflict on the nation is simply increasing public awareness of how bad a "no deal" flounce out of the EU would actually be (for everyone except the Brextremist disaster-capitalists who are actively planning to trash the nation's economy in order to pick up £billions worth of distressed British assets on the cheap, like vultures stripping the flesh off a corpse).

As cynical and self-serving as this latest move from the Tories is, at least it will be interesting watching the rank and file Brexiters putting on absurdly demeaning displays of mental gymnastics to try to explain how their Tory lords and masters are absolutely right to keep the general public in the dark about their preparations for the "no deal" Brexit catastrophe that they're actively planning to inflict on the British people.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Sunday 29 July 2018

Why is the leader of the Scottish Tory youth movement spreading recycled Nazi conspiracy theories?

In the grand scheme of things James Bundy isn't an important figure. Yes he heads up the Scottish Tory youth wing, but he's hardly a household name. However in one vile Tweet he's managed to perfectly illustrate the appalling ideological decomposition of the Tory party, and the outright complicity of the media who have allowed this to happen right in front of their eyes.

In his Tweet Bundy decided to rail against a BBC article about gender stereotyping of children by invoking a truly sinister anti-Semitic conspiracy trope straight from the Nazi propaganda playbook.

By invoking "cultural Marxism" as a threat to our way of life, Bundy has recycled a the Nazi propaganda trope of "Kulturbolschewismus" (cultural Bolshevism) which posited that modern culture (art, architecture, music, literature, groundbreaking television shows, anything the Nazis disapproved of really) was the result of a Jewish conspiracy to undermine the Western way of life.

Once Hitler and the Nazi party assumed power they outlawed modernist styles in music, architecture, literature and art, began the systematic persecution of Jews and leftists, and imposed their own strict ethno-nationalist standards.

After the defeat of Nazism the concept of "Kulturbolschewismus" was kept alive by fringe extreme-right ideologues and their supporters, largely flying under the radar in British political discourse until the rise of UKIP, B
rexit, and the sudden blue-kip takeover of the Tory party.

In a desperate post-Brexit bid to unify the Tory vote with the UKIP vote to deliver a hard-right landslide, Theresa May and the top Tories began openly courting the extreme-right demographic, and welcoming them into the Tory fold.

Unfortunately for Theresa May her blue-kip gamble failed as Jeremy Corbyn rallied the beleaguered Labour Party to an unprecedented electoral surge which almost matched the combined vote share of the Tories and the mass influx of extreme-right ultranationalist blue-kippers fleeing the wreckage of UKIP.

The loss of her majority has rendered Theresa May absolutely and desperately dependent on continually appeasing the dangerous extreme-right fringe that she welcomed with open arms, otherwise she knows they'd just flock back to UKIP, or to the next extreme-right fad.

The fact that the leader of the Scottish Tory youth wing now feels absolutely comfortable sharing propaganda tropes crudely recycled from the Nazi playbook just goes to show how rotten the Tory party has become.

The use of this kind of anti-Semitic recycled Nazi propaganda must be increasingly commonplace within Tory circles if their Scottish youth leader is openly spouting this shit in public.

Anyone would have thought that traditional "one nation" Tories and even economically hard-right pro-privatisation Thatcherites and Majorites would be absolutely disgusted at the way their party is being usurped by extreme-right lunatics openly spouting fascist propaganda. 

But no, you barely hear any complaints about it (except for the honourable exception of Sayeeda Warsi who will not drop the issue of extreme-right anti-Islamic bigotry in the Tory ranks), so presumably because they consider welcoming fascists on board as "a price worth paying" just to keep Jeremy Corbyn out of power and stop him from renationalising the railways, water companies, and national grid, implementing an actual industrial strategy, and introducing a £10 minimum wage.

Then there's the news that three very senior Tories (Boris Johnson, Jacob Rees-Mogg, Michael Gove) have been colluding with the dangerous extreme-right white-supremacist Steve Bannon, who told the French extreme-right Front National to embrace their racism "as a badge of honour".

James Bundy is the Scottish Tory youth leader and he's left free to spread anti-Semitic Nazi conspiracy tropes on Twitter, and Michael Gove is an actual government minister openly cavorting with an ideologue of the "Jews will not replace us" extreme-right. Yet Theresa May does nothing to discipline them, and virtually nobody in the mainstream press gives a damn about it.

Te mainstream media have endlessly reported the Labour anti-Semitism debate in outraged tones, yet they choose to ignore a Tory government minister cavorting with a dangerous extreme-right fanatic, and a Tory youth leader spreading Nazi conspiracy tropes. In light of this double standard there's little doubt whatever that their outrage is highly selective, and politically motivated.

Just imagine that Bundy was a Labour youth activist and he was caught spreading recycled anti-Semitic Nazi propaganda tropes on social media.

Do you really think the mainstream media would refuse to cover it despite people all over social media trying to goad them into providing a tiny bit of balance. Or do you think they'd already be all over it like a pack of snarling dogs*?

The fact is that they don't give a shit about the ongoing extreme-right takeover of the Tory party, because providing any coverage of this ideological decomposition of the Tory party runs entirely counter to the over-riding groupthink agenda of undermining any alternative to the four decade hard-right neoliberal orthodoxy that most mainstream media hacks have done very nicely indeed out of thank you very much.

So if keeping orthodox neoliberals in power requires outright collusion with actual fascists like Steve Bannon these days, and the normalisation of fascist conspiracy theories and extreme-right hate speech within mainstream political discourse, as far as most comfortable mainstream media hacks are concerned, so be it.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


* = And rightly so because all anti-Semitism, bigotry, and fascist propaganda should be vehemently condemned on sight.

Did the Tories continue their Facebook dark ad campaign during the Manchester Arena bombing pause?

After Facebook were pressurised into releasing a trance of highly deceptive dark ads posted by Vote Leave and their affiliates during the EU referendum, it soon became clear that these despicable Brexit campaigners continued flooding Facebook with their pro-Brexit propaganda during the 3 day pause in campaigning after the murder of Jo Cox by a right-wing extremist.

It's absolutely sickening that these Brexiteers colluded to take advantage of Jo Cox's murder by secretively continuing their dark ad campaign during the pause that they publicly agreed to participate in, but this behaviour raises another question that's extremely difficult to answer.

Given that multiple contributors to the Vote Leave campaign are high profile Tories, including several current and past members of Theresa May's cabinet (Boris Johnson, Michael Gove, Liam Fox, Priti Patel, Chris Grayling, Steve Baker), and the fact that the Tories spent £millions on a very similar campaign of targeted social media dark ads during the 2017 General Election, it's definitely worth wondering whether they also took advantage of the pause in campaigning after the Manchester Arena terrorist atrocity to continue pumping out dark ads on the sly.

The problem of course is that it's pretty much impossible to know because of the UK's incredibly lax attitude towards regulating online political campaigning.

This article certainly doesn't constitute an allegation that the Tories did continue their campaign of dark ads during the pause in campaigning after the Manchester Arena bombing, it's simply stating that due to the incredibly lax nature of the current electoral rules, it's impossible to know whether they did or not - which is obviously completely unacceptable.

It is however justifiable to at least wonder whether they did, given the very similar targeted dark ads strategy, and the involvement of at least half a dozen of the same people in both campaigns.

The only reason we've come to learn about the leave campaign's dodgy ads and grotesque scheming to take advantage of the Jo Cox pause is the testimony of whistleblowers from within the Leave camp and because a committee of MPs demanded the evidence from Facebook (who eventually, and reluctantly, coughed up details of the absolute lies they'd helped to spread).

So if we want to know about the content, reach, and timing of all Tory dark ad campaign during the 2017 General Election, we'd need whistleblowers from within the Tory election campaign to step forward, and a Tory-dominated committee of MPs to demand evidence from Facebook about what dark ads the Tories were running, and when!

Essentially the Tory party are the only ones who get to decide how much the public get to know about their own massive targeted dark ad campaign during the 2017 General Election!

In my view the entire system of electoral regulation needs to be updated to take account of targeted social media dark ads as a matter of urgency.

There should be a system put in place where all online political campaign ads must be registered with the Electoral Commission before publication, the registered information should include copies of the campaign advert, details of all hyperlinks within the ad, time of posting, cost of posting, and details of who the ad was targeted at (with geographic targeting of particular regions classified as local campaign spending). All of this information should be uploaded onto a publicly accessible and easily searchable database.

The consequence for non-compliance should be mandatory jail time for rule breakers.

As long as political parties and campaign groups are left free to spend £millions on targeted social media dark ads full of lies and misinformation without any oversight or public scrutiny of what they're doing, then it's beyond obvious that the outcomes of democratic votes cannot be trusted.

Incidentally, this means that if anyone calls for a second Brexit referendum before the electoral rules have been tightened up to clamp down on this kind of online electoral cheating, they're being dangerously naive.

What you can do
  • Share this article to raise awareness of the problem of targeted social media dark ads.
  • Contact your local MP to express your concerns about targeted social media dark ads, and to demand better regulation.
  • Contact mainstream media journalists you admire and ask them to push for better regulation of online political campaigning, and for serious punishments for those who break the rules.
  • Support independent media by making small monthly donations to the independent media sites you appreciate.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Saturday 28 July 2018

The BBC just launched a chilling attack on free speech

The BBC has launched a chilling attack on freedom of speech through their misuse of YouTube's copyright takedown system to shut down pro-independence commentators and blogs.

Two of the most significant victims are the Wings Over Scotland Youtube channel, and the pro-independence campaigner Peter Curran, both of which have had their entire Youtube channels suspended as a result of a sudden mass of takedown notices from the BBC.

Fair use

People are absolutely free to use short video clips of other people's copyrighted material to provide political analysis. This is confirmed by YouTube's own "fair use" guidelines.

However, YouTube have apparently decided to comply with the BBC's efforts to shut down several pro-independence channels by enforcing copyright takedowns against all videos containing clips of BBC output (regardless of fair use consideration) and then suspending the pages for repeat violations.


Interestingly anti-Scottish independence sites that have used BBC content to promote their cause have been left in peace. Take this video from LabourList featuring an extensive 13 minute clip  of BBC coverage of Gordon Brown's (lamentable) pro-unionist speech.

It's quite interesting that the BBC is intent on misusing YouTube takedown notices to delete critical commentary of their output for those who stray from the BBC narrative, yet allows those who support the BBC narrative to post extensive clips of BBC output that merely copies the original output.

Of course anyone who paid attention to the BBC's coverage of the Scottish independence referendum will already be familiar with the intense pro-unionist bias of their output at the time, but this decision to orchestrate a mass shutdown of pro-Independence social media platforms, whilst leaving anti-Independence social media outfits in peace is yet another demonstration of toxic levels of bias at the BBC.

Free speech

Misusing Youtube's copyright takedown procedures to orchestrate the shutdown of social media pages that post fair use clips of BBC programmes is clearly an assault on free speech.

If the BBC make it impossible for people to upload clips of BBC bias in order to expose them, they're clearly abusing the copyright rules to insulate themselves from criticism.

This tactic looks especially bad in light of the fact that they continue to allow anti-independence pages to host huge clips of BBC programming, without issuing any copyright takedown notices against them.


By adopting the tactic of misusing social media copyright takedown notices in order to silence those who would hold them to account over their bias/misrepresentations/lies, this is clearly an effort to render themselves immune from criticism.

The BBC want to create an online environment where people are afraid to upload clips of BBC content in order to expose the bias/inaccuracy/dishonesty of the reporting for fear of having their entire social media page deleted in retribution.

"If you dare to criticise us we'll get your Facebook/Twitter/Youtube account shut down" is a truly chilling stance from the UK's state broadcaster to adopt.

Licence payer-funded malice

It's important to consider the fact that whoever is orchestrating these sinister takedown notices against dissident political pages is doing so on a BBC salary, which means they're using licence payers' cash to silence their political opponents.

You don't have to be in favour of Scottish independence to strongly object to this politically motivated misuse of licence payers' cash to stifle free speech.

Democratic considerations

When the BBC misuse the YouTube copyright takedown procedures to remove clips of political speeches there are very serious democratic implications because they're essentially asserting that the politician's statements belong to them simply because they were the ones to record it.

Essentially they're trying to misuse social media copyright takedown rules to assert that if they filmed the politician speaking, they're the only ones with the right to decide whether that particular clip gets seen or not, and crucially how the politician's words are framedif they do decide to show it.

You don't have to have any pro-independence sympathies whatever to see how this kind of copyright extremism represents a very real danger to free speech and democratic accountability.

Who is next?

The staggering bias of BBC output during the Scottish independence referendum in 2014 opened a lot of Scottish people's eyes to the intensity of BBC political propaganda. A lot of left-leaning people have had their eyes opened to the scale of BBC political propaganda since the election of Jeremy Corbyn as Labour leader in 2015. And ever since 2016 a lot of Remain-oriented people have been left aghast at pro-Brexit bias on the BBC too.

If the BBC are intent on misusing social media copyright takedown notices to shut down and silence pro-independence voices in Scotland, surely it's only a matter of time before they begin using the same sinister tactics against other dissident political groups, like the pro-Corbyn social media (like Momentum) or the anti-Brexit movement.

Take this clip from an anti-Brexit social media page exposing the biased way the BBC keep describing the proven and punished unlawful behaviour of the Vote Leave campaign as merely "allegations". How long before the BBC use spurious copyright takedown notices to stop people from sharing clips like this?

Another Angry Voice

In the past I've posted various short clips of BBC output under fair use considerations, so don't be surprised if the BBC come after Another Angry Voice and other left-leaning independent media sites on social media too.

It's absolutely clear that a lot of mainstream media journalists see independent media sites like Another Angry Voice as a threat to their self-declared position of gatekeepers of public discourse, so would it be any surprise to see them actively backing the deliberate misuse of copyright takedown notices to silence and shut down alternative voices on social media platforms?

Whether they come after my social media accounts or not, the BBC have already succeeded in sending out a chilling warning: "Post clips of our content to hold us to account and we'll do our worst to get you shut down".

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


How the Vote Leave campaign cynically used the Jo Cox killing to their advantage

When the Labour MP Jo Cox was brutally murdered in the street by a "Britain First" screaming extreme-right terrorist during the EU referendum campaign, all of the Brexit campaign groups agreed to a three day pause in campaigning as a mark of respect.

On Thursday 26 July 2018 Facebook finally released a massive tranche of Vote Leave dark ads that were run during the EU referendum campaign. The immediate response was shock at the dishonesty of the content, the slick clickbait nature of the adverts, and the complete lack of imprints or information identifying the dark ads as Vote Leave campaign material.

Then people started looking into the time stamps of the dark ads and found that a load of them had been uploaded during the agreed pause in campaigning, meaning Vote Leave were taking advantage of the Jo Cox pause to continue pushing their own Brexit propaganda while the Remain campaigners stopped to pay their respects.

When this information became public the Vote Leave campaign director Dominic Cummings initially denied that the dark ads were run during the pause, and claimed that they were just being uploaded for later.

This excuse crumbled almost immediately with the leak of a conversation between Darren Grimes and the AIQ staffer who was running the dark ad campaign which showed that Grimes' response to the dark ads starting up again at 10pm on the day after the killing was "oh fantastic".

Now it's already been proven that Vote Leave illegally overspent during the EU referendum (for which they've been hit with the maximum possible fine by the Electoral Commission) and that this overspend was due to their campaign of social media dark ads.

Serious questions remain over the legality of the adverts they ran, given the desperately misleading content, and that they contained absolutely no indication that they were EU referendum campaign material at all.

However there's not much prospect of prosecution of their decision to carry on campaigning after agreeing to pause out of respect to Jo Cox, because the agreement between the campaigns didn't take the form of a legally enforceable contract, it was just a matter of integrity and basic human decency.

Vote Leave's decision to carry on secretly campaigning so as to use the Jo Cox pause for their own advantage is particularly cynical given how numerous Brexiteers actually accused Remain campaigners of "politicising the killing" and "using it to their advantage" in the aftermath of the murder.

Now it's absolutely clear that Vote Leave deliberately and cynically used the pause in campaigning to their own advantage, which even a hefty proportion of Leave voters would no doubt find utterly repulsive if they knew about it.

So the big question now is how the mainstream media will cover these revelations. Will they be swept under the carpet so most people don't even know that Vote Leave decided to cynically use the Jo Cox pause to their own advantage, or will this scandal be presented as the outrageously cynical and dishonest behaviour that it was?

My guess is that this decision to take advantage of the Jo Cox murder won't be dominating any headlines, and if it is mentioned at all, buried in the back pages, it will only be down to the sterling work of people like Carole Cadwalladr (one of the few mainstream media journalists worth their salary).

What you can do
Share this article to help spread awareness of the despicable behaviour of the Vote Leave campaign. 
Contact journalists in the mainstream media and ask them to cover the story of how Vote Leave cynically continued campaigning during the Jo Cox pause.
Write to your MP and ask them to take action to prevent the use of social media dark ads in future democratic votes. One way would be to introduce a new law that all campaign adverts (paper or digital) must be registered with the Electoral Commission and clearly marked as campaign literature, with jail time for those who break the rules. 
Take a look at the evidence for yourself. Look at how dishonest and immigration fixated these dark ads were, and try to get your head around the staggering number of people who saw and were influenced by these misleading dark ads in the run up to the EU referendum vote.
Support independent media in their efforts to counter-balance mainstream media bias by setting up small subscriptions to your favourite independent media sites.

 Another Angry Voice  is a "Pay As You Feel" website. You can have access to all of my work for free, or you can choose to make a small donation to help me keep writing. The choice is entirely yours.


Note: Article amended over a mistaken attribution of the "oh fantastic" comment to Vote Leave director Dominic Cummings, rather than Darren Grimes (who was given £625,000 by Vote Leave to spend on Facebook dark ads).