It Was Social Media Wot Won it… Or so They Said!

It was social media that would decide the election- or so they said.

The traditional right wing newspaper and other media are losing their power to the force of the new media online- is what they told us.

And yet, when the election came round the hopes and dreams of all the right wing media came joyously (for them) true.

#Milifandom was a hit!

The #GreenSurge was huge!

Where did all those hashtag users go when it came down to cold, hard crosses in the box on election day?

If we analyse Twitter- as more people than there are hashtags seem to do- we can see that some of the biggest Social Media trends have all favoured Labour or other smaller parties such as the Greens.

One of the biggest Twitter trends this year have been the double-whammy of #CameronMustGo and #GetCameronOut which dwarfed even Beyonce in sheer volume.

In response there was a meagre trend for the #Cameronettes – which it has to be said is one of the creepiest trends in the world, as surely only someone with a penchant for the type of sado-masochism that can only be delivered from the most expensive of private schools (a sort of 50 shades of boys’ shower-rooms) would use this hashtag!

If we look at the traffic we clearly see that the tories were absolutely pummelled in the social media war:

hashtags

And yet here we are- the other side of May 7th with a majority Tory Government.

However this happened, as I am sure that there are innumerable reasons one thing is for sure- social media did next to nothing.

But why. Well there are a few reasons:

1. People don’t go on social media to make their voting decisions
You can make as many witty hashtags as you want but the only people listening to them are the people who already agree with you. Those who don’t, but are interested in politics will either unfollow you, block you, or laugh at you. So in short political hashtags have zero impact in changing people’s minds.

2. The majority of voters don’t use social media much
The majority of voters are old, and rich and have no need for tweeting or writing statuses or keeping up to date with the latest trends and how people are using them. Until all the young voters show out in force the oldsters will win out every time. If you could vote with an app or by pushing the red button (or green button if you’re so inclined) on your remote then elections would go in a seriously different way!

3. Old people still get their opinions from Newspapers
People are so sucked in by the media that the Sun were able to run a pro-SNP front page in Scotland and an anti-SNP front page in England on the SAME day, and clearly people were OK with that?!
Old people don’t use Twitter, they certainly don’t go there to get their opinions but they do read papers and they STILL have a huge impact on people’s opinions. Until we get a change in media coverage in this country the right wing parties will always do well.

Having criticised social media, it can be a force for good. Although it doesn’t change minds, it galvanises people, and brings them together. You can be a force for good with social media if you want, and you should.

You might not get people to change what mama and papa taught them but you might get your charities heard, you might get people to petition and give up their time for a cause that they believe in and you might make a real difference.

So use social media and wield its mighty power! There’s no point swinging it at the giant shields of ingrained belief- this will only be deflected right back at you. Instead, find the weak points, and the soft spots and attack, prevail and change the world for the better!

Jackanory with George Osborne and the 2015 Budget

Welcome to Jackanory- the programme where you get to hear wild fantasy stories from the land of make believe!
Our story teller this week is George Osborne.

Hello children! I’d like to tell you all about the make believe place called ‘The Britain I see in my Head’!

In the Britain I see in my Head everyone is fantastically happy. There are a little men who count beans and these little bean counting men have the power to figure out that everyone is fantastically happy just my looking at beans; it’s amazing!

Also In the Britain I see in my Head there is no inequality; there are no classes; everyone has the same amount of money, and this lack of inequality is brilliant and that helps to make everyone fantastically happy.

In the real world you have nasty things like food banks, zero hours contracts, child poverty and huge levels of homelessness with one in six homelessness being ex-service people. Not so In the Britain I see in my Head. Everyone’s just super great and swell. All the little kids are just fine and well fed which is brilliant. Everyone has a job where they work really hard and that makes them happy. And at the end of the day after work they get to keep all the money they earn because there is no tax, or barely any anyway which is brilliant!

And everyone is happy, and no one is ever sad, and the moral of the story is that the conservative party are just totally scrummy! The End!

The Veil of Ignorance- Taking a Philosophical Approach to Green Politics

Central to the political stance of the Green Party of England and Wales is the statement:

“Conventional political and economic policies are destroying the very foundations of the wellbeing of humans and other animals. Our culture is in the grip of a value system and a way of understanding the world which is fundamentally flawed”*

This translates in to such things as increased taxation on the highest earners, abolition of the use non-dom status, the closing of of tax loopholes to significantly decrease the number of tax loopholes which can be exploited for personal gain.

Typical responses for why people should not vote Green is that this will mean increased taxation for many, when other parties understand that they have worked hard for their money so the should keep it.

But a ‘thought experiment’ (taking an idea and imagining its consequence if it were real life) helps to illustrate why the Green Party is the best vote for social justice. The thought experiment is known as ‘The Veil of Ignorance’ originally proposed by John Rawls**, and as it is explained try to imagine the consequences and how you might act.

Imagine yourself a ghost or a soul getting ready to inhabit a body, in a new world, with many other souls, who all want the best life for themselves. In this state you know nothing about the body you will inhabit; your natural abilities, your position in society; your sex, race, nationality, or your mental or physical abilities (or disabilities). You may inhabit the body of the least advantaged person in society, but your knowledge over what body is behind a veil of ignorance. Not knowing what the lottery of life will give you how will you choose to arrange society? What do you think you would want to make sure was in place to ensure you had the best possible chances in life, irrespective of your start?

For me, this perfectly summarises how so many Green policies are born.

Equality does not mean treating everybody the same; it means identifying the differences between people and trying to level the playing field. For the Green Party this means providing adequate and decent council housing, it means looking after the planet so that we leave it in the way that we would want to give to our children, or our loved one’s children.

There are costs to some in this kind of society, where freedom and fairness are in direct conflict; the fairness of some will be at the cost of the freedom of others.

we cannot and should not deny this! We proudly say that we aim for a fair society, and for the common good; we aim to build the world that the person behind the veil of ignorance would choose, because that is the one that is fair and just and gives as many as possible the opportunity to live a good life and maximises the wellbeing of humans.

———————-
* You can see the full basis of the Green Party philosophy here: http://policy.greenparty.org.uk/philosophical-basis.html
** There is a good Wikipedia piece on The Veil of Ignorance here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Veil_of_ignorance

Your visit to A&E in 2020

Man- Ooooowww! Help me!
Nurse- I’m with you now, sir. Welcome to the Serco quick response care service, how can we aid you today?
Man- Ooowww! Is this not A&E
Nurse- Well yes sir, but following a listening exercise with our customers Serco rebranded the department- they felt “Accident and Emergency” sounded too downbeat. So we are now “quick response care service”. How can we aid you today.
Man- I fell off a ladder and I think I broke my leg. I had to get a taxi in because the ambulance service said it was not resource friendly to provide transport for just a broken leg!
Nurse- yes, then Serco direct transport aid service will say that nowadays sir.
Man- I didn’t realise that I had to be cost effective to get an ambulance!
Nurse- well in order for us to meet our contractual targets, Serco has to be shown to be providing a value for money service. But what can you expect, people want a health care service that is free at the point of access and then complain when we provide that! Anyway, enough of this chit chat, I have two minutes to triage you,mane we have already used one of those minutes, so chop chop, how can we aid you today?
Man- as I say, I think that I’ve broken my leg.
Nurse- think you have or know you have?
Man- well how should I know?
Nurse- oh that’s a shame, if you knew it was broken we could have put you on the fast track treatment pathway, but if you need a diagnosis that will slow things down. We estimate your wait will be four hours.
Man- Four hours?! But I’m in agony, AND there’s nobody else here.
Nurse- well no sir, but you have been triaged as a level five emergency which we aim to reposed to within four hours. If we start treating you now, and a level 1 emergency comes in hen we might miss a target there.
Man- but I don’t want to wait four hours!
Nurse- I know,mist frustrating; if you had broken a hand as well that would move you quite sharply up the list. Some people pop to the bathroom and break their hand in order to move up the list. We can provide the equipment to do that in a safe way, for a reasonable price if you like?
Man- I’m not breaking my own hand!
Nurse- well do you have anything else that will move you up he list?
Man- I’ve got depression;
Nurse- Oh that’s good.
Man- so I get moved up he list?
Nurse- Ah, no. That treatment is not supplied by Serco, but we do however get £50 for every successful referral so I’ll write it down.
man- But it doesn’t move me up the list?
Nurse- No but did you not hear me, we get fifty quid!
Man- Why should I care about that?
Nurse- Well that fifty and other peoples fifties add up and that money gets invested back in to the service
Man- Where?
Nurse- Well… Doctors bonuses, but I’m sure you want your doctor to be happy, right? By the way while we’re talking about referrals, do you think you might have cancer?
Man- Is this really the time for this?
Nurse- Oh I’m sorry sir do you have a pressing engagement to get to? A pressing appointment for sitting and waiting in agony to get to?
Man- No
Nurse- Precisely sir, so do you think you might have cancer?
Man- I don’t see why I would?
Nurse- Hmm, well has anyone in your family ever had a heart condition?
Man- Well my dad died of a heart attack…
Nurse- Perfect! Checking for congenital heart failure could get us £120!
Man- Oh, I can’t be bothered with this. I’m just going to go home and take my chances.
Nurse- That will lead to a fifty pound fine, sir, for engaging services without using them.
Man- Fine, put the bill in the post.
Nurse- We will, sir, and we would kindly ask for you to fill in and send back our Customer satisfaction survey, which we will send out with the bill. Have a good day now, sir.

Letter II- The ScrewBlair Letters

My dear nephew MiliWorm

I have been reading the update reports you have sent me, MiliWorm, on your campaign and I am more vexed than ever by your drivelling scribblings. You talk so proudly of your coup having had a donation from the union Unite, but before you begin celebrating like a private schoolboy during a weekend exeat I need to have a serious word with you about these unions.

Your cabinet minion TristeHunt has been talking without thinking again, like the arrogant swine that he is. He has criticised the Green Party in such an absent-minded way that the patient could not fail to notice. TristeHunt called the Green Party education policy out of date and full of ludicrous policies. Now, usually I am all for berating the policies of these loathsome left-leaning liberals but in this case, seeing as he is the minion for education how could he fail to notice that the Green Party education policy totally mirrors that of the National Union of Teachers own manifesto. In his attempt to distance yourselves from the political putrefaction that is the Green Party he has also served to distance us from one of the largest and strongest unions! The utter cretin!

Do not think that I am not showering down my scorn on you also, MiliWorm. It is your job to stop these kind of actions from your minions in the first place, and you have failed, once again. This is no less than I expect from you but this election is yours to lose and I am beginning to think that the best strategy you could employ would be for you all to keep your mouths firmly shut, as only excrement spews forth when open, it seems!

Now, to discuss your so-called scalp in receiving a 1.5million pound donation from Unite. You cheer at the union support, while in the same week on of your minions criticises another union. You fools! This only makes it appear as if the left hand of the party does not know what the party’s right hand is doing. Such hypocrisy and a lack of integrity is bound to arouse the patient from its distracted slumber, let alone to arouse jeers from all corners of Westmonster!

Plus, the enemy* has quickly jumped on to say you are at the behest of your union paymasters. The hypocrisy of this brings bile to the back of my throat. How they can insinuate our policies are bought when they lunch with lobbyists every day.

Treasury keen to engage in hypocrisy and backstabbing wherever possible by @rowland72james

Treasury keen to engage in hypocrisy and backstabbing wherever possible by @rowland72james

Having said this, the enemy may have a point. The unions cannot be seen to be able to buy labour policy. This is a difficult tightrope and I pray that you heed my advice. The key here is simply to lie, prevaricate and procrastinate. Make promises to the unions that you have no real intention to fulfil and ensure that they remain unaware of this until after the election when it is too late for them to do anything. This takes wit and guile to pull off, of which I have little confidence in your ability to fulfil but seeing as you are our only hope MiliWorm I have no other choice than to rely on you.

Charm all of the unions; promise them the sun so that they are so dazzled they cannot see that you have only given them the moon. I know being charming is difficult for you, but I urge you to try nonetheless. I await your next report my dear MiliWorm.

Your affectionate,
Uncle ScrewBlair

Read letter ! here:
https://sayitin500.wordpress.com/2015/01/22/the-screwblair-letters-letter-i/

Appearances can be deceiving- remember that Miliworm! by @Rowland72James

Appearances can be deceiving- remember that Miliworm!
by @Rowland72James

* Patient refers to the general British public
The Enemy refers to the Conservative party
This is a pastiche of ‘The Screwtape Letters’ by CS Lewis. For more info visit http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Screwtape_Letters

The ScrewBlair Letters- Letter I

Dear my beloved MiliWorm

I have been keeping an eye on your campaign, and I have to say I am thoroughly distressed by your lack of progress. Yes, you lead in the polls, but this is slim and may be lost at a moments notice if you do not capitalise on it by striking at the weaknesses of your enemy, the Tories. Our patient, the British Public, they do not truly know who to vote for. Our patient is ignorant and you need to take advantage of this ignorance in order to get your way!

Model yourself on me, MilliWorm and you will succeed, I assure you!

Model yourself on me, MiliWorm and you will succeed, I assure you!

Now, let’s start with how you come across in photo opportunities. You are awful, you make me sick; you disgusting retch! You get support from AxelGrind only to apparently completely waste it. The first rule of any politicians persona is do not let the public see the true monster that lurks beneath our thin layer of human appearance. Our patient wants to think that they are voting for a human; if they see us as we truly are we are doomed to failure. You look at the leader of the enemy, he is a true genius of appearing human, so much so when he commits monstrous acts only the truly engaged notice this. I would advise looking back at my own campaign, and you will see how to hide the demon inside beneath a mask; an apparently genuine smile is key. If you do not see the importance of this, I ask you to reflect on BrownGlub to see the impact when the patient can sense a fake smile.

You disgust me MiliWorm when you make errors of judgment such as this photoshoot

You disgust me MiliWorm when you make errors of judgment such as this photoshoot

At the same time, though you have to appear human, please can you stop falling in to the same trap as you have been of late. Has AxelGrind never taught you that although you must appear human do not at any time try to give the impression that you are just like the common man. This is a ridiculous idea and although it gives me great joy to reprimand you on your foolish errors of judgment it pains me to see you do something that so benefits the enemy.

Although the patient can be easily cowed in to believing you are human they can never be so fooled in to thinking you are just like them, one of the common people. They instinctively know that we are truly monsters but this only awoken in them when we go too far to not appear so. When you have tried to appear like the common man you look so disgustingly disingenuous you raise the conscious awareness of the patient. The key to any election my dear MiliWorm is to keep the patient as unaware of the truth as possible.
I urge you to take on my advice, and if you do not you will not only face my wrath but also the wrath of your supposed friends; these so-called friends will turn on you the first chance they get MiliWorm if they think that they can take your place, do not doubt it.

You will receive more letters as your campaign continues; I trust you will heed my advice if you wish to continue your career with us.

Your affectionate Uncle ScrewBlair

Appearances can be deceiving- remember that Miliworm!

Appearances can be deceiving- remember that Miliworm!

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All satirical images provided by Twitter’s @Rowland72James
If you haven’t already you should all read the original Screwtape Letters by CS Lewis; or at least the wikipedia page:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Screwtape_Letters

What is satire? Thoughts following Charlie Hebdo

In the wake of the Charlie Hebdo attacks it seems prudent to re-evaluate; what is satire?

Though targeting a person, this targets the hypocrisy of the leader of a political party supporting a corporation his party have done so much to attack.

Though targeting a person, this targets the hypocrisy of the leader of a political party supporting a corporation his party have done so much to attack.

Satire is a joke that points at an accepted idea or action within society and labelling it as ridiculous. The best satire will make you think about something from a perspective that you had not seen before, and change your own perspective in an unalterable way. It never attacks a person, but an idea or action; these may be attached to a person but the focus is always on their idea or action.

UKIP don't represent a viable government as they only have a limited number of policies.

UKIP don’t represent a viable government as they only have a limited number of policies.

One of the best satirical works ever was the book ‘Animal Farm’ by George Orwell which pointed at Communism and showed it to be ridiculous as the central ethos (equality for all) will always inevitably be undermined by greed, especially those drawn to leadership and power. He did this by depicting the leaders of a farm as pigs and the followers or proletariat at sheep. So simple, yet so utterly brilliant!

Ridicules the idea that foodbanks are banned by those whose privileged backgrounds mean that they don't understand the lives of those who need to use them.

Ridicules the idea that foodbanks are banned by those whose privileged backgrounds mean that they don’t understand the lives of those who need to use them.

Policies looking to decrease  the deficit should target the people with the money  not without any money!

Policies looking to decrease the deficit should target the people with the money not without any money!

For me, satire plays a vital role within society. It rightly ridicules the ridiculous and changes views. It changes views in a way that persuasive writing cannot do; the message can be given in an image and in a way that anyone can understand. Persuasive writing may make us think but satire makes us laugh, and in laughing at something that we did not realise was funny it shatters prior conceptions. Laughing not only changes our convictions but also stops the idea from ever being taken seriously again.

Cameron states that Britain is a 'Christian Country' despite having a capitalist agenda contrary to the  politically Left, non-materialist Bible star Jesus

Cameron states that Britain is a ‘Christian Country’ despite having a capitalist agenda contrary to the politically Left, non-materialist Bible star Jesus

Good satire is a necessary medicine for society, it makes us check our idea, and it makes the world change its ways. It makes those in power realise that we are not just sheep blindly going along with what we are told, but that we engage with their ideas and actions and will hold them to account.

Also, satire is open to all ideas no matter how serious- jut because 1billion people say something is a good idea it does not make it a good idea. It is up to satirists to find the lunacy and shine as bright a torch on it as possible- this can be religion, democracy, free speech even satire itself if you so choose. The more seriously an idea is taken, the greater the opportunity for satire!

Considering the wake of Charlie Hebdo perhaps their readership were already aware of the satire on Islam and therefore continued use of similar material just started becoming an assault, and perhaps they needed to draw from different sources. Though people are not discussing it this is difficult in France, a country where free speech is not completely held to and religion is seen as an easy and accepted target. I won’t go in to the politics of free speech in France now though.

But good satire will always offend someone because people identify so strongly with ideas. It is important though to remember that people have the right to say what they want so long as they are not inciting violence a and others have the right to be offended.

But you don’t have the right to never be offended, because that idea is very offensive do it gets us nowhere!

P.S. You may wish to follow @Rowland72James on Twitter who provides excellent Satire and donated some images for this blog