Friday 13th December was a dark day for campaigners – truth seekers – justice fighters. The most right-wing government in modern history was elected with an 80 seat majority. A landslide, not seen since Margaret Thatcher’s day. A landslide which hit us out of the blue. As I recall it was Theresa May who was due to get a landslide to deliver the ‘will of the people’. Boris Johnson was due to get a hung parliament with so little between the two parties when the polls opened that the bookies were altering their odds by the hour. If Boris Johnson fought a better campaign than Theresa May I must have missed it. The last I saw, his minder was swearing at Piers and Susanna who wanted to get a few words for the Good Morning Britain audience and Boris was heading off to hide in a fridge. He also avoided interviews with Andrew Neil, Jeremy Vine and at the last minute sent his dad to a channel four debate on climate change. Yet we are to believe that this man galvanised a landslide out of the jaws of defeat by sheer charisma alone. I’m not the first to think that the George Orwell quote about dismissing the evidence of your eyes and ears is yet another of his prophecies come to fruition.
“The party told you to reject the evidence of your eyes and ears. It was their final, most essential command.”
–George Orwell, 1984
We campaigners have already seen the dark side of authority. How written policies are nothing more than ‘guidelines’, harmful breaches are re-dubbed ‘shortfalls’ and inaction in the face of injustice euphemistically called ‘missed opportunities’. Getting the truth acknowledged is like nailing jelly to a wall. Consequently, we have come to rely on our own lived experience and my eyes and ears told me a very different story to the one we now see unfolding in the jubilant press. I saw Jeremy Corbyn presenting a genuine, socialist agenda which would put money back into people’s pockets, restore the WASPI pensions, free the young from student debt, create social housing for the first time in a generation and feed the poor. I saw people stand out in the rain waiting for a glimpse of the man and his red manifesto of hope. I saw that repeatedly on social media but I didn’t see it on my TV or hear it on my radio. Well, the truth about Corbyn, a people’s hero of rock star proportions, did make the airwaves on a late-night news review but this item was removed from the BBC web pages just an hour later.
It is revealing that we only ask ‘where is the money coming from’ when the promise is to spend it on us. Labour were planning to invest a total of £143.5 billion over a four year period rebuilding the infrastructure and social services of our nation and delivering the most environmentally friendly policies of any major country. This it was claimed, would ‘wreck the economy’ leaving debt for generations to come. But no-one blinked an eye when the Conservative government borrowed 4x as much giving £435 billion to the banks in quantitative easing. It seems it’s morally acceptable to put the country into hock for the rich but not for the poor or for the sake of the planet. It also went unnoticed that the latest ONS figures showed that the economy had already been wrecked by years of austerity delivering zero growth in the last quarter, or that the national debt tipped over the £2 trillion mark during the election period. £1 trillion of that borrowed in the last nine years, more than all the Labour governments put together. It would appear that the media spotlight selectively falls to the benefit of the powerful and those who challenge the given narrative pay the price. Channel 4 was threatened with a review of their public remit after empty-chairing the Prime Minister and independent news sites such as the Canary are facing charges of antisemitism, the new McCarthyism, despite the fact that the project is headed by two jewish journalists.
I recall, I’m sure I did, the massive turn-out for the 2019 general election. I saw the people queuing in the street waiting to vote on their way to work and the students standing in snaking lines in the rain across our university towns. Twitter buzzed with #youthquake stories and there were many reports of queues at polling stations for the first time in living memory. There is still feint evidence that this may well have been the case. Here in the Guardian on 9th December is a report that more than 3 million people registered to vote between the election being called and the deadline – 875,000 more than the same period in 2017 – and two-thirds of them were under 35. In this Aussie news clip, just two hours before voting closed is a report of a ‘record turnout’ confirmed to be ‘across the country’.
This headline from the Daily Mail – election night updated at 23:46, nearly two hours after the close of the polls provides us with a glimpse of the narrative before the landslide. We were all expecting a hung parliament with either one of the two main parties just sneaking into the lead.
The election is too close to call: ‘Mega’ turnout has nervous Tories fearing Boris Johnson’s huge poll lead has slipped away while Labour claim their ‘red wall’ is NOT crumbling
Now it is difficult to hold onto that world view – that students and nurses and pensions and animal lovers and environmentalists voted for a new green deal, for a fairer society, for an end to austerity and stood in the rain for as long as it took to put their cross in Labour’s box. But the victors write the history and in the aftermath the media told us what to believe. Turns out that the students were just too lazy to vote, put off by the rain, bunch of snowflakes and the people of the north were all frightened of Corbyn, despite the large crowds who gathered to cheer him and they just wanted to ‘get Brexit done’ so that the new Tory government could invest the Brexit windfall in their run down communities. Confirming the hundred year old trope that Socialism doesn’t work we learn that Corbyn was too far to the left and we just couldn’t afford his rejuvenating manifesto. And it turns out that the sightings of high turn out were false and that it was just 67.3% a 1.5% drop on 2017 and nowhere near the 70%+ initially reported. We dreamed it. It just didn’t happen.
Or did it? We campaigners know all about false narratives. Re-written after the events to protect the guilty. Ask anyone who has ever fought for justice and they will tell you about the personal slurs they have suffered with completely fabricated accounts of their behaviour and they will tell you how their evidence both written and witnessed is re-classified as ‘perception’ ‘delusion’ or ‘clouded by grief’. So what really happened on the 12th December, just how did Boris Johnson deliver a landslide victory? Let us conjecture with some of the facts we know.
- this was a very dirty campaign from beginning to end. An independent report found that 88% of online ads for the Conservative Party gave misleading information. Equivalently, it was found that none of the Labour ads were misleading.
- one side was telling the truth while the other side ducked and dived bending the facts to suit their cause.
- the media, in particular the BBC, supported the government to the point of editing film on more than one occasion to favour the Conservative Party
- the bad press for Corbyn was relentless whether on the tv, radio or in the newspapers.
But this alone wouldn’t hand them a landslide. It would make it more ‘feasible’ as the narrative switched from too close to call to landslide victory, but what delivered them 3.6 million more votes than Labour? Call me a conspiracy theorist if you like, and I know that you will, but I believe that to a greater or lesser extent this election was rigged.
This election wasn’t lost it was stolen.
I can hear you now crying, bad loser, Corbynista, where’s your evidence. Well, here from the mouth of Dominic Cummings is the admission that our electoral system is ‘wide open to abuse’. Carol Cadwalladr, Guardian journalist, recently revealed details of emails sent by Cummings to the ICO in July 2017 as part of their investigation into the abuse of data during the 2016 referendum.
The emails suggest that the reason Cummings would have challenged the result of the EU referendum and other polls if he had been defeated was because “the entire regulatory structure around national elections including data is really bad” and “wide open to abuse”. He cited allegations that individuals who claimed to have voted illegally in the 2016 EU referendum were seemingly ignored by the elections watchdog.
“The Electoral Commission took no action in response to widespread public claims by people on social media that they had voted illegally to stay in,” the correspondence said.
The emails added: “There has been no proper audit by anybody of how the rules could be exploited by an internal or foreign force to swing close elections.”
The fact that there has been no proper audit by the Electoral Commission will come as no surprise to campaigners. We know that the regulatory bodies are just empty shop windows providing an illusion of accountability.
From voting illegally, denying the vote to properly registered voters and dodgy dealing round the postal vote; cries of injustice such as these rise briefly to the surface but the spotlight of media attention does not probe further. In theory, no-one should know the results of the postal vote until after the close of the poll. But we learnt from Lura Kuenssberg that postal votes are pretty much an open secret.
Both Dominic Raab and Laura Kuenssberg discussed knowledge of the postal vote despite the fact that it is illegal to either see or report on this until after the poll has closed. But who cares about the law when your side are the ones in charge of prosecutions?
We can see in his interview with Michael Crick that whatever knowledge Dominic Raab has about the postal vote it gave him great confidence. This is not a man with a good poker face, he literally leaks anxiety as anyone who saw his encounter with Barry Gardiner (why are you sweating Dominic when I’m not) will confirm. When the final results came in Dominic Raab saw his 23,000 majority shrink to just under 3,000 following a fierce campaign by Monica Harding the Lib Dem candidate. These two split the vote between them which should have resulted in virtually every other postal vote being one for an opposition candidate in what was a very safe seat. Any prior knowledge of this 18.5% swing would surely have shaken him to the core, but it didn’t. Why not?
We have learnt from Mr Cummings, the man behind the Tory landslide, that it is easy to swing close elections. When you examine the swing to the Conservatives in the Labour ‘red wall’ we see that many of these gains were incredibly close. Bury South was won by a margin of 402 votes, Blyth Valley just 722 votes, Bolton North East won by 378, Bury North by 105 and of course Kensington swung back to the Conservatives by just 150 votes. Set up a narrative with daily vox pops where people in the north confirm they are voting Tory for the first time and no-one bats an eye at the result. The vagaries of the postal vote were exposed in the 2017 Copeland by-election where it was initially confirmed that Labour had held the seat until unexpected boxes of postal votes arrived at 1.00 am tipping the balance. And if they are canny enough to control the postal vote they could surely tinker with the turnout figures to match. The management of postal voting was contracted out to Idox, a private firm where ex Tory minister Peter Lilley sat on the board. There were reports at this election that ‘vote for Boris’ letters arrived alongside the postal vote. Questions need to be asked, but they won’t be.
“It’s not the people who vote that count. It’s the people who count the votes.”
Which brings us to Russian interference and the report which was held back until after the election which will likely be slipped out when the media has our attention elsewhere. But this landslide win and Brexit referendum are much bigger than this. The leave referendum campaign was funded by dark money from US billionaires Arron Banks, Robert Mercer and Steve Bannon who are still under investigation for criminal activity. The global elite have more in common with each other than with any country. It makes no difference if they are Russian, American or any other nationality, dark money has financed right-wing take overs across the globe. We now join the US, India, Philippines, Brazil, Hungary and Poland in being led by ‘democratically’ elected far right-wing governments who will turbo drive the neoliberal agenda to shrink the state and remove all barriers to profit for private companies by the annihilation of ‘red tape’ regulations. Brexit was always a power grab and our exit from the EU will allow our newly elected, 80 seat majority government to rewrite the constitution to favour their wealthy supporters, making themselves totally unaccountable in the process. Polly Toynbee Guardian 10.12.19
If you follow the money the plot becomes clear. A few rich donors contributed 26x more to the Tory party than that received by Labour allowing the Conservatives to boost massive on-line campaigns right up to the polling deadline using dodgy data to target their impact. The Lib Dems, who effectively split the remain/Labour vote were a party on their knees in 2017 but managed to fund a campaign which saw people in their target seats receive a new flyer every day, sometimes two. The Brexit party appeared with a click of Nigel Farage’s fingers with enough money to field candidates in all 650 constituencies compared with the newly hatched Change UK party, who sunk without trace, never having got past their first faltering steps. Was it by chance or by design that the 2017 Labour surge saw Theresa May lose her majority allowing the right-wing ERG to hold the balance of power and eventually unseat her? Are we in fact witnessing a political chess game where every outcome has been meticulously controlled?
If you are a campaigner for truth and you voted either for Brexit or the Conservative party then you have done your cause no good at all. We have seen the largest people powered political movement under Jeremy Corbyn’s Labour crushed by money and control of the narrative. As campaigners we see that that out truth is repeatedly denied through an abuse of power. There can be no doubt now whether the ‘many’ can ever overcome the wealth of the ‘few’ or that truth will ever overcome power. We have learnt not to trust authority and now we cannot trust democracy. The game is up and they won. Time to get an allotment and sit it out. Neoliberalism – profit at all costs – drives climate change and ultimately nature, the greatest power of them all, will have her say. Let’s hope that some of us are around to start again.