Jeremy Hunt’s views on false allegations of child rape in the name of Conservative activism

Jeremy Hunt sees himself as a leadership material: he has already been tested and found wanting.

Recently, I had cause to stop using Twitter. The main problem is a user who persists in targeting me month after month, year after year, with account after account.

Twitter will sometimes address this behaviour, but even when they do, they allow this same user to continue with exactly the same behaviour on other accounts, and never appear to recognise the wider problem even in those rare moments when they acknowledge a single, individual complaint. In short, the vast majority of this behaviour plays out on Twitter’s platform because of their greed and negligence, but they do not see it as their problem.

Somewhat coincidentally, I have the same issue with Jeremy Hunt specifically, and the Conservative Party generally.

Mr Hunt specifically regards the bad conduct of Conservative fundraiser/activists to be someone else’s problem on the basis that they are/were formally active in a neighbouring constituency, and not his own:

“Obviously I would condemn bullying using any medium. However I am not prepared to get involved with investigating the issues you raise as they are about something that is alleged to have happened in a neighbouring constituency and not mine. I have to prioritise my time, and that means focusing on what happens in my own constituency. For that reason I hope you understand if I do not continue any correspondence with you on this matter.”

Jeremy Hunt, 2010: from an entry he has since deleted from his website

To be clear, this policy of Jeremy Hunt’s applies even when said activism involves multiple anonymous false allegations of child rape against a candidate in an election in that neighbouring constituency (a crime under the Representation of the People Act). It even continues to apply when a fellow MP is recorded admitting that they declined to investigate the matter themselves for fear of generating bad publicity during a election. Jeremy Hunt sees no cause to intervene or even raise his voice to object despite multiple failures by his party at a local and national level, because it is not happening in his constituency, and therefore it is not his responsibility.

However, it’s important to note that when the behaviour involves a specific activist targeting one of his own constituents (your humble author, ladies and gentlemen), Jeremy Hunt moves to a position he describes as ‘impartial’, where he neither looks into it, nor acts upon it, for fear of losing this impartial status that is somehow vital to his ability to function as an MP.

Mr Hunt remained impartial when this one activist falsified evidence of my being a dangerous criminal and sent it to an unknown number of Tory MPs. Mr Hunt remained impartial when this one activist was exposed as the author of multiple anonymous web accounts targeting me, and even impersonating me. Mr Hunt remained impartial when this one activist threatened to run me over with his car.

I was once at a charity event in my capacity as a Scouting leader while Mr Hunt was at that same event in his capacity as a Very Rich Person. It was my job to carry his baggage and look after his litter, and I thought perhaps in a fit of charity and/or gratitude for my servile behaviour he would take one look at me in my Scouting uniform and finally appreciate the kind of damage that false allegations of child rape could do to me, a mission I have dedicated much of my life to, and all of the people that I care about.

Instead, Jeremy Hunt feigned memory loss, and as far as he was concerned, that was the end of the problem for him.

Months later, that same activist discovered my involvement in Scouts, and immediately started twinning his false allegations with my role as a volunteer with young people.

To be clear, this activist was specifically seeking to derail my volunteer work with these insanely dangerous allegations over nothing more than a grudge he has carried ever since I dared to criticise a Tory MP he was fundraising for.

(And to be crystal clear to bystanders: there’s no grounds for the allegations, just as there’s no call for the behaviour. To me and you, it’s beyond the pale. To Tories… well, how can we know? They won’t even entertain a serious discussion about where the alleged pale might be for them personally, or if one exists at all in the world that pre-dates their much-vaunted Code of Conduct. Experience teaches me that the Conservative Party policy prior to 2014 especially is best paraphrased as: ‘everything short of a prosecutable offence is entirely your problem, otherwise it is something for you to report to police and pursue in your own time, end of conversation, nothing to do with us’.)

By now it was 2011, and to cut two long stories short, the person targeting me on Twitter today and the Conservative activist I first complained about over a decade ago are the same person.

Yes, the behaviour has continued to this day, and though I have emailed Jeremy Hunt twice about this issue quite recently, he still has no objection to raise and no comment to make about any of it, despite the person involved explicitly and exclusively attacking me over questions I have been raising with Hunt about safeguarding in the Conservative Party.

In an email to all Tory leadership candidates on 12 June 2019, I included my concerns about both issues as follows:

Question #2 for Leadership Candidates: Do you think the recent conviction of three former Conservative mayors for child sex offences is a cause for concern warranting a safeguarding inquiry, or are you fully confident in the safeguarding policies already in place in the Conservative Party at a national and local level?

:
Question #3 for Leadership Candidates: What are the safeguarding policies already in place in the Conservative Party at a national and local level, how long have they been in place and for how long have you personally been familiar with them?

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I have been making enquires about this issue on Twitter. While asking Jeremy Hunt about it recently, I was confronted by an anonymous Twitter user posing as my ex-wife while accusing me of being a recently-released criminal with an unhealthy interest in children generally and child rape specifically. They then sought to connect this with my volunteering role with young people. I ceased my line of questioning and all activity on Twitter until the account could be dealt with.

:

I do not appreciate being silenced by bullying, but thanks to Twitter I can now link authorship of this account to a Conservative activist/fundraiser connected to Anne Milton, and it is certainly not the first time they have behaved like this.

:
[redacted]

:
It is on this note that we turn to my second series of questions.

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Question #4 for Leadership Candidates: Is it appropriate in your view to address questions about safeguarding (or anything else) by targeting the person asking the questions with false allegations/insinuations of child rape using an anonymous web account?

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Question #5 for Leadership Candidates: How would you react today if you discovered that people directly involved in your campaign were behaving like this? How would you react if they were merely in a ‘neighbouring constituency’?

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Question #6 for Leadership Candidates: Do you support the notion of an inquiry into how the Conservatives have handled complaints of web-based and real-life bullying in the years prior to the introduction of their Code of Conduct in 2014?

Extract from email to all Conservative leadership candidates, 12 June 2019

Jeremy Hunt didn’t get back to me, but then, neither did any of the other candidates, because that’s how Tories roll.

Here’s where we have to acknowledge that Boris Johnson is far worse as a human being and easily manipulated by those who are even worse than he is, but you should not pretend for a second that Jeremy Hunt is a man of honour, or integrity, or moral standards. If by some miracle Hunt ends up as leader, he will be turning a blind eye to the worst his party has to offer right up until the point that it consumes him, just like May, and just like Cameron before her.

Tories will be voting for a Tory, after all; what should you or I expect but more of the same?

On that note, despite my being silent on social media for months, the same activist has continued to target me with further accounts and wider false allegations of my being a dangerous criminal fixated on the idea of child rape… because that’s what you get when you dare to object to false allegations of child rape in an election campaign, and it just so happens to be the same thing that happens when you raise legitimate questions and concerns about the state of safeguarding in the Conservative Party.

Below is my entire second email to Jeremy Hunt (dated 24 June 2019). A single name has been redacted for personal security reasons.

Dear Jeremy,

:
I heard you calling Boris Johnson a coward, and wanted to check that you were still refusing to comment on the antics of [redacted].

:
If you recall, you are also refusing to answer any questions about Simon Thornton and associated safeguarding* issues in your party.

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In fact, the only answer I have received on Twitter after many months of asking came not from you, but from any anonymous Twitter user posing as my ex-wife while accusing me of being a recently-released criminal with an unhealthy interest in children generally and child rape specifically. The author also went to the trouble of attaching this to my volunteer work in Scouting.

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You may recall we met at a local fundraising event in 2011 soon after I had once again expressed my concern to you about Mr [redacted] seeking to address my criticism of local Tories with false allegations of child rape. You pretended you didn’t even recognise his name.

:

For the record, I am still in Scouting, Mr [redacted] has continued this behaviour since then, this most recent anonymous account sought to attack me in the same way, once again in defence of you specifically, and I can link authorship of this anonymous account directly to [redacted] (thanks to a report from Twitter following a complaint about the account).

:

All of my previous complaints about [redacted] and his behaviour in the name of local Conservative politics went ignored, even those made to you when I was your constituent. This has clearly led Mr [redacted] to believe that he will not be called to account by you or any other Conservative over his use of anonymous accounts attacking me or any other critics.

:

That is why he has continued to behave in this way. For over a decade now.

:

So, to put that main question to you in full: I just wanted to check that you were still refusing to comment on the antics of [redacted], or if maybe you’ve finally come around to understanding how you might have played a role in preventing all of this years ago simply by being the kind of leader you’re pretending to be right now.

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I look forward to your reply.

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Regards,

:

Tim Ireland

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*I thought I should also point out that you are running for leader with no clearly stated view about the state of safeguarding in your party, or how it should handle historical allegations of child sex crimes, and it’s not as if I haven’t been asking you about it.

Part-redacted email to Jeremy Hunt, 24 June 2019

Jeremy Hunt did not reply to this email, either. I expect it is the best way for him to remain impartial on the matter.

So, in closing, some words of caution for you:

  1. Tories will be Tories, and that means ‘party before principle’. Always.
  2. Similarly, the Conservative Party evidently has no safeguarding policy worth mentioning, and none of the leadership candidates ever saw fit to discuss the issue, even when asked about it, despite multiple recent prosecutions for child sex offences in their mayoral ranks inside of a year.
  3. Be careful of who you question in the Tory party, even that nice Mr Hunt; it can lead to all sorts of problems designed to make you wish that you had never bothered questioning your betters in the first place.
  4. Boris Johnson is worse and will be a disaster as PM.

I apologise for the radio silence on social media that has been necessitated by this activist’s behaviour; I hope you understand the extent to which he remains a threat to me and the people I care about. I trust that you can now better appreciate my previously stated position that this man will continue to harass me and the people I care about in the name of almighty Conservatism for as long as Hunt and people like him continue to turn a blind eye to it, especially now that he has been at it for more than a decade.

I further apologise that this radio silence means that I have been unable to campaign any further for a safeguarding inquiry during the leadership debates.

Cheers all. Be well.








Posted in Anne Milton, Tories! Tories! Tories! | Leave a comment

Secrets of Fire: how to make cheap and easy firelighters out of household materials


I’ve been doing a lot of work on teaching fire over the last few years, and over time I’ve developed what I think is a vast improvement on current homemade firelighting technology.

I’m sure you’ve seen cotton balls and make-up remover pads dipped in wax before, maybe even witnessed a few egg cartons being subjected to a hot pour, but once you learn this wax firelighter recipe using cotton balls, wood chips and silicone moulds you will never go back.

I have a lot more to share and have started a Patreon account to fund further episodes, but thought I would kick off by putting this previously-secret recipe in as many hands as possible. It’s not only useful for camping enthusiasts and survivalists; these firelighters are great for starting barbecues and fireplaces at home, and making them is a fun and educational activity for young people (just make sure you invest in some drop sheets and aprons first).

Everything you need is in the video, but I’ve published the full transcript below for reference.

Have fun.. and please support my Patreon!

TRANSCRIPT

Hello. My name is Tim Ireland. I’m a Scout leader and keeper of the secrets of fire. What you are about to see is a shortcut developed by an expert; it is no substitute for expertise. Always be cautious with fire.

This a wax-based firelighter I developed with a soft core of cotton wool and wood chips. It’s cheap and easy to make, it’s stable, clean and water-resistant, and you can light it with a spark.

Today I’m going to show you how to make hundreds of these from a single candle and a few household materials.

First, put some tough cardboard down for spills.

For this batch we’ll be using a single 500g paraffin wax candle, and some waste from the previous batch.

You’ll also need some wood shavings from the pets section, and some balls of cotton wool in either large or small sizes.

For small lighters use small cotton balls and silicone ice cube or confectionary trays with small shapes. Stars are fun, hearts are great, but square shapes are easier to pack in a tin and I have multiple trays, which makes the process faster.

For large lighters use large cotton balls and silicone ice cube or confectionary trays with large shapes. These would let you make hearts, spooky ghost faces, magical unicorns, or a whole bunch of upvotes.

Throw a handful of wood shavings into about half a bag of cotton balls, and shake the whole business until you have a bunch of furry little Ferrero Rochers.

Now you’ll need two hotplates, and two stainless-steel saucepans, ideally with metal handles.

Finally, you will need a working tray, a dipping cup (mine is aluminium) a thick handled spoon, a thin handled spoon and a stainless steel teapot with integrated filter.

Medium for melting, low for cooling, cup for dipping, teapot for filtering, thick-handled metal spoon for when you want to bring the temperature of your wax down by stirring it. Thin spoon for when you don’t.

If you must use gas hobs, you will need a heat-diffusing ‘simmer ring’, and they look like this.

Now – let’s melt some wax.

My hobs go up to 6, ‘low’ is set to a little under 1 and ‘medium’ goes no higher than 3.

In goes the candle… and the waste from the last batch.

We do not hurry melting the wax. Slowly and gently does it. If vapour is coming off your pot, you are coming in too hot. Pull up.

Pour the melted wax into the metal teapot. Then gently strain it into the low-heat saucepan, before leaving it to cool for a bit.

When ready, pour your near-viscous wax into the dipping cup.

Then, stir occasionally until you hit the sweet spot, when wax sticks to your spoon. Results vary with perfume and pigments, but generally viscosity kicks in just under 60 degrees Celsius, by which time you will see a skin on top of the wax.

Now you dip each cotton ball in turn – 3 times each, then press it into the silicone mould and pinch or wipe the top gently; the wax will start to solidify in your fingers as you finish the tops off, so everything important happens in this moment.

Note I’m using gloves. You can use ordinary washing up gloves if you like. The wax isn’t all that hot, but if you’re going to be doing this hundreds of times you will want to avoid nerve damage to your digits, because like you, they need to feel things.

I’m going to do a short set of ‘waterproof’ lighters here. It uses mostly the same method, but while the wax is still malleable, you fold the waste into the middle from the edge and press and wipe to finish the top and edges.

This is more time-consuming and the resulting lighters are harder to crack open in their finished state, but they are waterproof when done and it’s faster than double-dipping them, which is the alternative path to waterproofing.

Me, I prefer an unfinished and merely water-resistant top because the lighters are easier to break open and start that way.

In a moment we’re going to zoom in and get in a little closer to the action to show how easy it is. The wax forms a seal around the cotton before you’re in for the second dip, meaning the cotton remains soft and wispy on the inside, even while you press it into the mould, so there’s no need to be gentle. Dip-dip-dip shove, pinch, Dip-dip-dip shove, pinch. It’s quite relaxing when you get into a rhythm.

Wait for each tray to cool and then turn over and push them out like you would ice cubes.
Then trim with scissors.

Pour any off-cuts into your waste pile for the next batch.

From that 500 gram candle and some waste, I’ve produced 108 firelighters weighing a total of 470 grams… and some waste.

That’s enough to fill my tobacco-sized tin a dozen times over, all from one candle.

To use the lighters, you just break open the top, pull some of the cotton out and throw a spark into the wispy threads. The wood shavings help to take that reaction to the wax, creating a chain reaction specifically designed to make the pyrolysis process as efficient as possible: from here the cotton heart turns into a wick, drawing the fuel into the reaction, until every last scrap is gone.

Watch the wax around the firelighter as it burns. It doesn’t melt or drip. With the exception of a few minerals and some stray carbon in the smoke, all of the solid matter in the lighter is transformed by heat into gas, generating more heat and continually feeding the reaction until all you are left with is a ball of what used to be cotton that is now an aerated fluff of coal that’s eager to oxidise and still giving off heat.

Heat, of course, is the heart and start of your fire. Flames are just showing off.

So, that’s my firelighter recipe. It’s one of my secrets, but teaching you about fire and its secrets is going to take a little extra effort.

I’ve finally started a Patreon account, and my first intended project is a series of videos teaching the secrets of fire, starting with pyrolysis and the advantage of knowing what’s happening at a molecular level, and what’s powering that at an atomic level.

It sounds complicated, but I can assure it is far easier than diving right in and rubbing two sticks together… and you can help to bring these lessons to life.

Mastery of fire is not only a useful skill, it is a deeply rewarding pursuit with therapeutic properties and even social rewards that pre-date civilisation.

The first time you turn a spark into a flame and your heart goes ‘woof!’, you’ll begin to understand. I’d like to teach you, and I figure we can also make and use some nifty tools and some downright gorgeous firelighters along the way.

On that note what you should do right after you subscribe is leave a note in comments saying if you would like to see hearts, ghosts, unicorns, or upvotes in the next video.

Thanks for your time. Please support my Patreon, and I hope to see you in the next episode.
Cheers all.

END TRANSCRIPT

(Music: ‘Featherlight‘ by Lee Rosevere under a Creative Commons license)








Posted in Scouting | Comments Off on Secrets of Fire: how to make cheap and easy firelighters out of household materials

Elin Krantz: murder and ‘slut shaming’ as propaganda against minorities, Sweden & the EU

Some readers may be here because they have been asked to read and share this important information and help drive it to the top search results for the name ‘Elin Krantz’. Hello and welcome, do use this link to help people find us | http://bit.ly/elinkrantz | and please excuse me while I attend to our other guests.

Hello, new guest. I am hoping that you are here because you have been exposed to information that has shocked you to the core, because if so, you are the most important person in my world right now.

You have probably seen the images. The horrible, haunting images of Elin’s corpse under a pile of heavy stones. I’ve been on the internet since way back in the day and I’ve seen my share of genuine crime scene photos both on and offline, but I can tell you that I was horrified in a way that I have never been before, and that’s why I’m here for you today, when you need me the most.

You’ve likely never seen anything like it, so you have probably arrived here in an elevated state of anger, confusion, and revulsion.

I am here to warn you that someone is deliberately seeking to trigger all of this in your mind so that they can direct your anger according to their needs. To be clear, they are exploiting the murder of an innocent woman and using it as propaganda in order to (a) fool you into sharing their lies, as you (b) unleash your anger in a direction that serves their political purposes, before you go on to (c) develop hate and prejudice against countries, people, populations, or even political policies that are nothing to do with any of this terrible crime of violent assault and murder.

These people even seek to make you angry at Elin – the very murder victim you seek to defend – on the grounds that she was a slut who went asking for it, but before we get to the lies we first need to cover the facts, as established by a successful prosecution in a court of law:

The following is a summary courtesy of Wikipedia and you can read the full entry here, but I have trimmed it below to include the primary facts that are relevant to this conversation:

Elin Krantz was a Swedish woman from Falköping who was murdered in the Länsmansgården district of Gothenburg in Sweden in September 2010. After an evening enjoying the nightlife of Gothenburg on 26th September 2010, she fell asleep on the tram. Security cameras showed that she was followed by 23-year old Ephrem Yohannes, who attempted to rape her and then beat her to death. On arrest, Krantz’ DNA was found on his clothing and Yohannes’ DNA was found on her body. Yohannes is an Ethiopian citizen with a residence permit. He was convicted for murder and attempted rape, and sentenced to 18 years in prison and subsequent deportation.

These are the facts. I draw your attention to the CCTV footage showing Krantz being unaware of Yohannes, and of the ultimate prosecution on a charge of attempted rape.

To be clear, even if Yohannes had succeeded in his attempt to rape Elin Krantz, that would not make her a bad person, but the facts lay out a very clear sequence of events: Krantz did not invite sex from Yohannes – or anyone else, for that matter – and evidently resisted his advances at the expense of her life.

So on that note, let’s get the first necessary unpleasantness out of the way:

1. Elin Krantz was not a slut

The propaganda version of this story describes Elin Krantz as a ‘pro multiculturalist’ who got what was coming to her because she wanted to have sex with black men. One of the most outlandish claims associated with this lie is the entirely false assertion that she appeared in a state-sponsored music video designed to encouraged inter-racial breeding in Sweden.

The video they describe is in fact an unrelated comedy video that isn’t a state-sponsored anything, and does not include Elin Krantz.

The model/actress in the video is not Elin Krantz, but Michaela Eklund, and they are evidently different people.

Elin Krantz is not Michaela Eklund

Here we take our first close look at the shape of the lie, because it is important, and what they invent tells you a lot about the inventors and what they want from you:

– The authors want you to think that a state-run conspiracy exists in Sweden and/or the EU where white women are encouraged to inter-breed with men of a different colour.

– The authors further want you to think that these men of a different colour are coming to your country specifically for ‘our women’, and they conflate this with false and misleading accounts of immigration and asylum in the EU and elsewhere.

– The authors would also have you believe that getting raped and murdered is what you deserve (and pretty much what you should expect) if you are a woman and you sleep with or even flirt with any black men at any point in your life. This narrative relies on a ‘jungle fever’ curse where killer rapists will unfailingly seek out the owners of vaginas that have known the pleasure of a black man’s penis. That seems a little far-fetched to me.

2. Sweden is not the rape capital of anywhere

Claims about ‘no go zones’ are nearly always energised by talk of ‘floods’ of brown and black people ‘invading’ a country and raping ‘our women’ (and sometimes children, a popular theme in the UK, where other genuine rapes have been exploited in a similar fashion to this one, but with child rape victims as the exploited parties). The people who spread these falsehoods also conflate their lies with talk of Sharia Law taking hold in urban ghettos where police fear to enter, under a version of Islam they imagine that allows rape and murder of ‘infidel’ women and children.

But no claim of any specified ‘no go zone’ has ever stood up to scrutiny, and the reason for the statistical anomaly on Sweden’s rape statistics is obvious if you know what you are talking about. It is at this point that we turn to Johanna Olseryd, project leader of the research department at Sweden’s National Council on Crime Prevention:

“In Sweden we count as many crimes as [the victim] can specify. So we’ve had cases with women who had a diary so they can say, ‘I’ve been raped within this marriage 400 times.’ That will result in 400 reported crimes. That also contributes to the difficulties in our statistics with comparing from month to month, or comparing one area to another, because a single case of that sort will turn the statistics upside down. That’s been a problem when some journalists from other countries go into our database. It could be one case with 50 reported crimes.”

Snopes.com – Is Sweden the ‘Rape Capital’ of Europe?

So now we know that the authors of this propaganda want to use the attempted rape and murder of one woman to make you more willing to accept false claims and misleading figures about rape generally… claims that are always tied to a political agenda that is somehow against immigration.

The authors also want you to know that rape and murder of ‘our women’ is the ultimate consequence of giving asylum to refugees. Some variations of this propaganda would go so far as to say that the rape and murder of ‘our women’ is the ultimate consequence of liberal or humane policies generally, but I’m getting ahead of myself.

3. Women are people

They are not ‘our women’, or ‘our’ anything; they are people and you should treat them with the same rights you would afford yourself.

The authors of these lies clearly regard women to be property of theirs somehow (often while simultaneously railing against their cartoonish view of ‘Sharia Law’), but it is my duty to inform you that the colour of your skin doesn’t give you a right to sexual congress with any woman; it doesn’t even get you ‘first dibs’. Sure, there are entire cultures struggling to evolve on this point even today, but that’s no excuse for your sorry behind.

Seriously, you’ll want to get this idea right out of your mind. It serves only to recruit you to a tribe that you do not want to belong to. Women are people and people have rights and no-one should have ‘dibs’ on you or have power over what you do with your body. That’s why Ephrem Yohannes is in prison.

I don’t need to cite any evidence here. Either you only have to think about it, or you don’t agree women are people, demonstrating that you have not thought about it hard enough.

Women are, of course, only one of a series of minorities being targeted here, but I doubt you even suspect how long that list is, so let’s crack on…

4. Someone is trying to use you as a weapon of hate

I’ve been showing you the shape of these lies for a reason: you need to understand the motives of the people who just tried to use you as a weapon in their cause… a weapon against innocent people who had nothing to do with the horrible crime against Elin Krantz.

They want you to go charging in like a white knight so you can unwittingly do their dirty work for them.

These are random screen captures of common variations of this same horror story. Look who’s to blame in this fiction they’ve created: there’s a long list of named and nameless minorities and even Hillary Clinton is to blame somehow.

Screen Captures

It’s important to remember that the people(s) selected here are portrayed as a threat so you might more readily accept them as targets or maybe even target them yourself.

It’s also worth noting that the people who are pushing this lie are so far ‘only’ after the Muslims, the Jews, the gays, the sexually promiscuous, the black, the brown, the left, their alleged enablers, the disabled, and anyone else not up to scratch in their eyes. So, nothing for you to worry about, I’m sure.

You need to learn how this works because the lies will not always be this obvious. The people seeking to use you in their culture war are not done with you by a long shot, and you weren’t merely misdirected in this instance; these bastards tried to herd you. You were being rushed into an action with your best instincts being used against you right up until the moment when you started to ask questions. I am so glad that you did.

It. Is. Very. Important. That. You. Continue. To. Ask. Questions.

This is only one example of many attempts to herd you into becoming part of an angry , ill-informed mob. It is no big secret that there are forces including entire nations that seek to fracture Western democracies by dividing our society and making us turn on each other, while weakening our shared values and institutions along the way. Further, there are parasites living inside our society who do this in pursuit of politics, and others who do it for profit. You need to be wary of all of these people, the new extremes they will go to, the new lows they will stoop to, and the worrying implications of all of this, because the same wave that brought the Nazis to power is back again, and the onus is on all of us to resist and protect our fellow humans from the dark impulses that destroy us.

And now, finally, on to the most important part: where friends don’t let friends slut-shame murder victims.

5. How you can fight Nazis and evil Russians and religious extremists all at the same time!

Step One: Don’t be a Nazi stooge (tick box)

Step Two: Warn your friends: “Don’t be a Nazi stooge!”

At present, one of the top search results for the name ‘Elin Krantz’ is a video on LiveLeak that incorporates all of the lies we discussed AND goes on further into a whole rant about ‘retards’.

All of this is designed to appeal to the same human weaknesses that the Nazis did, which is why I use the word as shorthand for who these people are. ‘Alt’-this or ‘neo’-that is just branding: at the end of the day, they are a bunch of fucking Nazis. They intend to bring you a world where you will have your rights taken away if you are the wrong religion, the wrong colour, the wrong orientation, the wrong inclination, or even if you just happen to be an ‘all-right person’ in the wrong place at the wrong time. They will come after you if you get in the way of what they want, which is everything.

Their lies are designed to make you fear specified minorities so you might turn against them, when they are no threat to you.

In truth, the people who are a threat to you are the ones who are lying to you in order to turn you against other human beings.

That is the epitome of evil.

I’m going to suggest – bold idea here, I know – that you NOT be evil today, and NOT help evil people do evil things.

I am going to further request that you be extra mindful not to be tricked into doing bad things in future, because this wasn’t a one-off, and you will be targeted with lies again. Don’t be an unwitting agent of evil by rushing around in an emotional state doing ‘good things based on facts’ that are in fact bad things based on lies.

And the one last thing I am going to ask of you is to revisit the urgency you felt to warn people of the terrible crime against Elin Krantz, because we’re still going to do that.

Together, we are going to warn everyone about the liars that exploit murder victims to get us to hate on each other, just so they can get what they want. The Nazi fuckers.

If you want to help fight the lies used by rape-shaming Nazi scum, all you have to do is tell your friends about this article using this link | http://bit.ly/elinkrantz | or any of the usual sharing features below.

Try to do so with the same effort you had in mind when you thought poor Elin was a slut who went asking to be murdered: surely, it’s the very least you can do.

Be well, keep asking questions, and try not to feel too bad about having your better nature used against you, because it can and does happen to all of us at the best of times.








Posted in Donald Trump, Humanity, Teh Interwebs, Tolerance | 8 Comments

How to Build a ‘Spider Web’ Obstacle Course with String and Jingle Bells.

As many of you know, I volunteer as a Scout Leader, and as most of you suspect, I pride myself on bringing new ideas to the role. I’ve held back on showing off some of my niftier ideas for far too long, so today I’m going to kick off with my version of the obstacle course: it’s a ‘spider web’ obstacle course made almost entirely out of string.

The following is mainly inspiration for other Scout and youth leaders, but I’m also involved in the youth activity programme at Byline Festival, so if you’d like to come along and bring your kids, myself and other volunteers will be creating and running an ‘Obstacle Course Course’ alongside other events from 24th – 27th August 2018 at Pippingford Park. Tickets are available now.

1. Choosing a site

I typically like to choose a small grove with any boughs that bend or arch toward the ground or grow in any other way that creates potential frames for your webs. So, pine and fir are rubbish, but willow, hawthorn and hazel are ideal. Oak is nearly always too big unless you are building a giant web out of rope, but I’ll get to that soon enough.

Spider Web Obstacle 1

2. Clearing (some) nettles

If you see a big tangle of blackberry or rose, save yourself the trouble if you can and choose a new location. If there are nettles everywhere (common on farmland and campsites because they thrive on phosphates), then this is perfect. Plan your course and only remove nettles from desired pathways. This way you can use existing nettles to prevent people from going in the wrong direction, and/or from blundering into an unplanned and potentially dangerous obstacle beyond the course (e.g. wire fences, ditches, bits of metal sticking out of the ground, and so on).

Spider Web Obstacle 2

3. Building string webs

The process is very simple. Using ordinary white cotton twine, you tie off a small circle of string with a non-slip knot, and then suspend that circle from a branch or branches. Then you anchor it with eight to ten lines radiating out from this same circle (‘radial threads’), tying your lines to branches above, trunks to the left and right, and – where necessary – small pegs in the ground. By this stage, it should look like a bicycle wheel (i.e. with spokes). Then you finish of the web with some larger circles around your small circle (‘spiral’ threads): you can tie or simply twist these around each radial thread until the string comes around to meet itself.

There’s a knack you pick up after trying and failing for a bit (like running a secondary radial thread here and there to tighten your circles), but other than that, it really is that simple. Just keep thinking like a spider, and following their rules*.

(*No biting!)

Once any young people have the knack, have them show other young people so they can practice their teaching skills.

Spider Web Obstacle 3

4. Turning problems into opportunities

You will find as you build your web that the variations from tree to tree make it difficult to create a ‘perfect’ web. You shouldn’t worry about this too much, as your web needs to have at least one gap big enough for a person (or small person) to pass through, and it is going to have to be near(ish) to the ground, where most of your problems will occur.

(Your little grove of webs will also look spookier if your webs are a bit tatty, so don’t worry about the odd error or bit of broken string… it only adds to the drama.)

Spider Web Obstacle 4

5. The bells! The bells!

Every boot sale I go to, I keep a sharp eye out for the stalls where they’re selling baby toys with jingle bells attached to them. Then I detach the jingle bells and add them to my kit.

I’ve found the easiest way to make bells suitable for traps is to thread a bell onto each arm of a small to medium ‘foldback clip’, but sometimes I will leave large toys intact for immediate attachment to the larger rope webs (see below).

Foldback clips last for ages, you can thread bells right onto the arms once you detach them, and you can buy them in the dozens for next to nothing if you don’t already have a whole bunch of them stinking up your stationery cupboard.

If your web is taut, you can clip bells almost anywhere, and any significant contact with the web will set it off, but to make your obstacle course more challenging, you’ll want to hang at least one set of bells in each gap of your web (i.e. so the person passing through that gap has to be very careful not to touch these bells at all).

Jingle Bells and String Box

6. Whistles

I typically run the course with a referee pacing the runner, keeping an eye on proceedings and letting out a short blast on a whistle whenever a bell (or other alarm) goes off. This makes it easier to keep score from the start/finish line. A penalty of 5 seconds for each alarm set off usually works out best, but you can go to as little as 3 seconds per if you think you can handle the maths. Attach your whistles to lanyards, or they will go missing.

7. Bells & whistles

My kit has been growing over the years, and I’ve accumulated gadgets designed to overcome the usual problems, and you might want to think about getting a couple of the following yourself (assuming you can get them dirt cheap like I did by keeping an eye out at car boots).

If there are gaps that are too wide to string a web, I usually run an infra-red ‘shopkeepers’ beam that they need to jump over or crawl under as best they can without breaking the beam and triggering the doorbell-style alarm. Two of these beams in a row make a great obstacle if the first one is so low you have to jump it and the second is so high you have to crawl under it: just picture how difficult it is to decelerate after the jump before you have to crawl carefully under the second beam.

On a recent camp, we had a problem with stagnant water chewing up valuable real estate, so we ran the course up to its edge and used motion-activated sound players that allow you to record your own warning message. Everybody who reached delicately through the a special web to ‘ring Shrek’s doorbell’ was suddenly surprised by Shrek yelling in their ear (“I said get ooot of mah swamp!”) and again behind them when they ran to the next web (“Yeah, you better run, donkey!”).

I’ve also toyed with Yoda (do the voice I can, hrmm?) and a few Harry Potter references because the concept of giant spiders in the woods triggers something very specific in most young people today (I paraphrase, but “I would like to remind you all that the Forest in the grounds is out-of-bounds to students who do not wish to die a gruesome death”).

Shrek's Swamp - Spider Web Obstacle

8. Added difficulty: McGuffins

I like to add a ‘McGuffin’ to games when things get too easy (i.e. dull): this is an object that exists solely to make the game more interesting and move things along. I have couple of motion-detector toys that go off if they get jiggled around too much, so the course can be made more challenging simply by requiring that every runner carry one (i.e. they have to get through the course without setting it off). There’s also a very common velcro bracelet for babies with jingle bells on it, and I have adjusted several of these for older/larger humans: this essentially requires the runner to take the course on in slow motion, which is extremely tough on your core (you have to engage in a series of contortions and hold them for much longer than you would if simply slipping through a gap at speed). There are also your natural everyday body tremors to deal with. (Ah, you didn’t know about them, did you? You will.)

There’s also a blindfold or two in my kit and one day I hope to own a tambourine, because that would be hilarious to watch.

Obstacle Course McGuffins

9. Rope webs

If you want to build a giant web out of rope or baling twine (pictured) instead of string, you will need to use some old trampoline springs or similar on the anchor points of almost every radial thread, because this is the only way to keep the tension up on this scale. A giant rope web to complement your grove of string webs makes a great centrepiece, and an excellent start and/or finish line that is a challenge in itself.

It is on this point that I will say that – with or without a rope web – you want to build your course in a circuit, so the start line is also the finish line (or only a short distance away).

Rope Spider Web Obstacle

10. This works best as two activities, not just one

If you take a peek at the main box for building webs, you will see multiple balls of twine and multiple pairs of scissors. This is because I prefer to run this activity in two parts:

Part One is building the course in conjunction with young people. I take them onto the site and talk them through any opportunities I see, and where I think the course might run. Then I open it up to ideas, and finally we mark out our agreed course and build. Not only do young people like to build their own webs, but some invest even deeper in the concept to the extent that they are planner/builders, adding difficulty and ingenuity to their own obstacle course concepts as they go. Sometimes this happens with individuals, often it happens in teams; it’s invigorating to watch. Time-permitting, I allow for extra building after we have run the course once or twice, because fine-tuning brings out these same qualities all over again.

Part Two is running the course, and it is here you reward young peoples’ desire to be the grown-up and take charge. You will find plenty of young people volunteering to be referee, mainly because they get to use a whistle. Like a boss.

You’ll also need a stopwatch, and a large ‘blackboard’ (i.e. some old plywood with a few coats of dark-coloured matt or satin paint). This is where you record the fastest time(s), in real time, right on the start/finish line. It adds spice to the feeling of competition in the air.

Rope Spider Web Obstacle 2

That’s about it. I know it’s not a full-on instructable, but you’re a capable person, and I’m sure you’ll work it out in your own way. Do get in touch if you have any questions… or, even better, if you know how I can get myself a job doing this all the time, instead of on occasional weekends.

Cheers all.

A reminder: We will be building and running an obstacle course course just like this one at the Byline Festival from 24th – 27th August 2018 at Pippingford Park. You can buy tickets here.

Detail: Spider Web Obstacle








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Jonathan Lord and the Conservatives’ Code of Conduct

Anne-MiltonIn 2006/7, when managing campaigns for Anne Milton and the Tories in Guildford, Jonathan Lord was made aware of two of his own candidates (Mike Chambers and Dennis Paul) involving themselves in false allegations of paedophilia and child rape against another candidate (more/latest).

This was a crime under the Representation of the People Act, as Lord would have known at the time, being a campaign manager. The event also involved a series of hate crimes to do with homophobia and several offences under the Communications Act, but for now let’s focus on the evident crime demonstrably committed by two Tory candidates: knowingly making a false allegation against another candidate, in this instance in the form of digitally shared false allegations of paedophilia and child rape.

Jonathan Lord did not report this crime to police, and he did not suspend his candidates prior to any party investigation, because there was no party investigation. Years later, Lord explained to me very clearly (‘off the record’) that he chose this path because a campaign was in progress, and he did not want to “give succour to (his) opponents” or critics like myself who he accused of ‘twisting’ “other little things.”

Earlier, Lord had claimed that he could not process my emailed complaint unless I wrote him a letter and gave him my home address. I was worried that this sensitive data would be misused or leaked, especially after someone from an earlier Milton campaign came knocking on one poor bloke’s door uninvited after that person had the temerity to mock her in the letters page of the local newspaper. My email complaint was valid in any case (as were those of others who also used email to complain and inform about Something Happening on the Internets), but he persisted with this excuse that ‘no-one submitted a complain in writing’ for years.

Later, my home address was discovered and leaked by one of the local Conservative fundraising executives (who sought to manipulate a third party into publishing it alongside the false allegation that *I* was a child rapist), so I feel my concerns about data misuse from this quarter were extremely well-placed, and I make no apologies for wanting to protect my privacy then or now, especially given how some of Mr Lord’s party political associates continue to behave today.

The latest position of the Conservative Party on this matter is that I should report my concerns to police, which I take to be an extremely disingenuous position, not least because:

(a) The cover-up is as much of an issue as the crimes involved

(b) the statute of limitations is a thing, as they damn well know

(c) it has passed here in large part because of the cover-up they won’t acknowledge

(d) Worse, Jonathan Lord failed to report crimes committed by his candidates when he became aware of them; he didn’t even suspend them as candidates or look into the matter himself.

(e) All of this sets the formal Tory position (for any matter prior to any Code of Conduct) as: ‘anything short of a prosecutable criminal offence is/was none of our business’

But that’s how the party deal with the issue.

Jonathan Lord likes to deal with the issue by avoiding any contact with the issue.

Lord is now the MP for Woking, and his constituency office like to avoid any discussion of the issue on the basis that it all happened before he became their MP, so therefore is none of their concern. His Parliamentary office in turn refuses to answer any question not issued by a constituent, but last week, while everybody was dancing and diving about trying to give their man plausibly deniability, something wonderful happened… a minor kerfuffle ensued over the possibility that someone might have said ‘no comment’ instead of keeping their mouth shut, and in the panic, Jonathan Lord was openly CCed on his personal address.

So, two things here:

– I would respectfully request that in future Mr Lord conduct his business using his official Parliamentary address, as it would not do to have him dodge his responsibilities under data protection/access and freedom of information laws.

– Mr Lord can no longer deny having seen the following questions, and by now it can be demonstrated that he chooses to avoid them rather than answer them.

Here are the questions that Jonathan Lord the Conservative MP for Woking refuses to answer.

1.
In your role as campaign leader, you must have known that both Dennis Paul and Mike Chambers violated the law, even if they spoke the truth when they denied authorship of the relevant anonymous website. Why did you not report this to police yourself?
:
2.
Are you aware of any Code of Conduct for the Conservative Party and any/all of its members that pre-dates the ‘voluntary’ code introduced in 2014? If so, please provide copies for the years covering our dispute.
:
3.
Kindly cite the Tory party policy that existed at the time that required me to disclose my home address to you via a letter before you would process my complaint.
:
4.
Do you have any personal regrets about the way this was handled by you and how it subsequently escalated to the point where a Guildford-based fundraising executive later took it upon himself to ‘down’ me on Anne Milton’s behalf with yet another false allegation of child rape?
:
5.
Dennis Paul and Mike Chambers both denied authorship of the anonymous sites targeting me and their opposing candidate. [REDACTED] Do you as a serving MP recognise the value in determining the truth of the matter after all these years, and are you willing to cooperate?
:
6.
David Cameron’s office stated at the time that he was confident that the matter was being ‘investigated at a local level’, but I can demonstrate that it was not. If it had been investigated, both Chambers and Paul would have been suspended. Are you aware if David Cameron ever came to know that it had not been investigated at a local level, and if so, what did he have to say about that to you, the person who should have investigated it?

For the record, Jonathan Lord isn’t the only Tory having difficulty with this issue, or those questions about what Code(s) of Conduct existed for volunteers and candidates prior to now:

Any respectable person would have been horrified by the actions of these candidates/fundraisers. I am of the view that it should have been bigger and more important than any personal difference or political dispute then, and should be now.

You may not be concerned about it or the years-long cover-up that followed… but surely you have some questions about how the Tories got by without a Code of Conduct before now, and what formal party-wide policy (if any) applied to past complaints. I’ve raised it with dozens of Conservative MPs, and none of them have any answers to this simple question:

What is the current Code of Conduct worth if it is laid on a foundation of lies? How can MPs like Jonathan Lord credibly claim to stand by it in principle when they demonstrably do not stand by its principles?








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BAD SEO: eSales Hub faking local relevance (transcript and updates)

I’m blogging about SEO for the first time in a long time, and yes, seeing as you ask, I do happen to be wearing my old arse-kicking boots today, thank you for noticing.

There were so many screen captures involved in this article that I had no choice but to run it as a video, available below. A full transcript of the audio follows, but you’ll want to watch the video for the full experience. Any follow-ups or updates will be posted here.

BAD SEO: eSales Hub and the art of faking local relevance

TRANSCRIPT

SEO stands for ‘Search Engine Optimisation’ which is all about the appearance of relevance in search engines. ‘White Hat’ SEO deals with actual relevance, ‘Black Hat’ SEO focuses mainly on appearances, and by that I mean faking relevance.

And when I say ‘BAD SEO’, I mean not only is this example ‘Black Hat’ SEO, but it has also been done very, very badly.

We’re about to take a close look at the Gasway site, but please keep in mind that while they are likely to have gone into this venture with open eyes, the actual development work you will see is that of an agency called ‘eSalesHub’, and we’ll get to them soon enough.

But first, the site where I first found out all of this because eSalesHub were so unbelievably lazy about their cheating methods that they also exposed clients and partners to a pronounced risk of discovery.

Gasway are a plumbed heating installation, service and repair company who have a single office based in Norwich. Understandably, they would like to be relevant for queries related to boiler replacement not only in Norwich, but in other towns nearby.

It’s a common problem and I’ve advised on it many times. There are many ways of approaching the issue of making a local presence apparent, but I can guarantee you that this is the wrong way:

On their site, Gasway appear to indicate a physical address in nearby Cambridge, with some guy called Oliver in charge. Ditto Peterborough. But there’s no Gasway office or outlet or depot or anything in either location, and the Peterborough location is a residential address.

Gasway also appear to have a phantom office or location or outlet or whatever in Fakenham with an ‘Andrew’ in charge. Fakenham is a real place, but there’s no Gasway office there. There’s also an ‘Andrew’ in charge of local Gasway outlets that do not exist in 25 other locations.

All of these locations, by the way, carry the indication of a five-star review for Gasway on TrustPilot, yet when you check with the TrustPilot site, gasway.co.uk lies unclaimed with only four reviews, all of which are single-star. A neat trick.

Back to these localised gateway pages, starting with Norwich where Gasway DO have an office, here’s a ‘Mrs Jenny Edwards’ with a gushing testimonial and Gasway telling us how their local status means they treat customers like family. One of their own.

60 miles away, and here’s the same Jenny Edwards claiming to be a Legal Secretary based in Cambridge, where Gasway are based (apparently) and therefore treat local customers like family. One of their own.

And here’s the same Jenny Edwards claiming to be a Legal Secretary based in Peterborough, a further 40 miles away from Cambridge, where Gasway are based (apparently) and therefore treat local customers like family. One of their own.

And so on and so forth again and again and again; town after town, village after village across the Gasway site.

If you are thinking that it would be difficult for one woman to live or work in all of those locations, you would be right, and it is especially hard for this woman to give a credible testimonial for a gas boiler installation or repair anywhere in the UK, because she’s an American named Jessica Fertitta, who died in fire 7 years ago.

I mentioned laziness being a further issue here beyond the dishonesty, and this is but one example: a quick Reverse Image Search betrays appearances of this same picture on the websites of Go Restore & Repair as an Accountant, on Go Plumber as a ‘Stay at Home Mum from Hull’ and on Go Carpet Cleaner as a police officer from Kent.

And she’s some poor woman who died tragically young in a fire. Now Jessica Fertitta’s face is currency in an unseemly scheme to fake popular support for local business outlets that don’t even exist. This is both unpleasant, and far too reminiscent of what is going wrong with politics these days.

Looking at the eSalesHub website, we see a lot of talk about their focus on local search, where they explain how they ‘sell on’ leads from a series of self-made ‘Go’-branded sites, and how they ‘solve the local search problem’ for clients like ‘Mr Electric’ using their “patent-pending local search technology”.

A quick visit to the Mr Electric site shows exactly the same thing going on as at the Gasway site, and ooh look, here’s that same photo of Jessica Fertitta, this time as a ‘Michelle Lewis’ describing an event including great service and a free product from Mr Electric that almost definitely happened for realsies. Believe me.

This is bad SEO in that it is dishonest, but it is also so poorly executed as to be laughable. You shouldn’t do this, or anything like it, and you should show someone the door the moment they suggest this or anything like it as a viable option.

If you want to succeed in search engines in the long term you need to radiate relevance from the inside of your organisation out, not have it attached to your website after the fact, and certainly not as a full-blown facade to the extent that your first contact with customers is an outright lie at the expense of genuine local businesses in their community.

eSalesHub were invited to comment on the matter of phantom premises and bogus testimonials and the legitimacy of ‘chasing leads’ this way at the expense of genuine local businesses. I didn’t hear back from them, so here we are looking at the material they published and seeing what you think about it all.

Me, I think every marketing relationship begins with an act of trust, and you betray that at your peril.

Thanks for watching. Please subscribe and all that.

If you feel bad about what happened to Jessica Fertitta, there’s an endowment fund in her name at the University of Texas, and you can donate by visiting this URL [http://endowments.giving.utexas.edu/page/fertitta-jessica-exc-fnd-stud-advoc-civ/5996/], or the bitly link which will take you to the same location: [bit.ly/fertitta]

Cheers all.

ENDS

A sample of eSales Hub testimonials

Updates to follow.

15 March – Rolling updates in this twitter thread this morning. A summary so far: eSalesHub have not replied to my email, but have chosen to block me on Twitter. Jessica Fertitta’s image is still being used without permission on the Gasway site, but eSalesHub have been very busy removing ALL testimonial photos from the servers of the Mr Electric and ‘Go’ sites. Not the testimonials, you understand… just the photos that demonstrate that the testimonials are likely faked.

16 March – This from Mr Electric’s HQ in the US of A:

17 March – The original thread is still going, and this latest update is worth embedding:








Posted in Search Engine Optimisation, Teh Interwebs | 5 Comments

Page 3: the book… at last!

Long-time readers of this blog will be familiar with my regular articles back in the day about the 2003 reinvention of Page 3 as a ‘political platform’ under that famously law-abiding editor, Rebekah Wade/Brooks.

Well, recently, I decided to finally go through my faded and dusty binders of tabloid wretchedness and do something useful with the hundreds of examples I’ve collected/documented over the years. The result is a new book of over 300 Page 3 ‘News in Briefs’ editorials purportedly in the name of a series of topless models, complete with the context in which they were printed.

Because some are bound to ask: yes, there are tits inside, but only very briefly (I put them on page 2 just to be awkward), so it is a very SFW book containing very little nudity and many, many examples of the alleged views of topless models on the subject of welfare, crime, the economy, health, education, the hated EU, the so-called Human Rights Act, MP’s expenses, terrorism, immigration, and more.

It’s a tidy little 100-page volume that will do you nicely on a long train ride, or over several weeks in the toilet… though you will want to be careful about laughing grimly to yourself in either situation (and I can assure you it is a grim book in places, dealing with several rum dos).

Looking at noughties Britain through the lens of The Sun’s Page 3, it is very easy to understand how we got where we are today… and you’re invited to try it for yourself as soon as your payment is processed and shipping can be arranged.

Cheers, all!

Page 3 book
Buy it now from Amazon UK or Amazon US








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Analysis of @UKLabour/@Conservatives Twitter output during #GE2017

(EARLIER: Word Clouds for Labour/Conservative party Twitter accounts during #GE2017)

I write about politics and corruption and what have you, but when I’m not wearing my cape, I also do data analysis on keyword search data for SEO purposes and have done so for years and years and years and years (and years and years and years and y). My job is to recognise significant patterns, particularly those that represent potential real-world opportunities; behind every keyword query is a real person who wants something, and seeing/appreciating this data appropriately, you learn to gauge the intent and mindset of entire crowds, what their desires are, and how they go about getting their hands on what they think they want.

What we are going to do today is look at the text output from the Twitter accounts of the two biggest parties during the 2017 General Election and try to gain a similar understanding of the tribes behind them; basically, how they each pitched their message to a nation of 65 million people, and how some of the 16 million Twitter users in this country responded.

Now, I know some of you have a pretty good idea of what just happened, but trust me: the devil is in the detail.

(Declaration of Interest: I was one of hundreds engaging in the sport of replying to the @Conservatives’ account during one of the worst-run campaigns in living memory, but as busy as I was, my input is a blip on the radar and nowhere near the numbers I would need to skew Replies data in any meaningful way.)

All figures relate to Tweets and Retweets by @UKLabour and @Conservatives throughout the formal/traditional campaign period for the 2017 General Election. The relevant tweets start at 18 April 2017 and end at midnight on 7 June 2017, when all tweets/figures were captured. There was a final burst of activity from both accounts on election day itself because loopholes in social media are a thing, but there was nothing out of the ordinary beyond the predictable focus on mobilising voters on a national and local level, so I saved a copy of these cheeky extras and put them in a drawer somewhere to forget about later.

TOAP (‘Text On a Picture’) is not included in the figures for word counts or any analysis, and I make no apologies for that. It’s so labour-intensive that I’d need an obsessive intern on performance-enhancing drugs just to extract the data, and I can’t afford the amphetamines, even if I go off-brand or generic.

The captured text was edited ONLY to distinguish between the person May and other uses of the verb ‘may’ or the month ‘May’ for reasons that should be obvious.

I am also blocked on Twitter by @CCHQPress (for complaining about bullying) and by @grantshapps (ditto), so any RTs of tweets from these accounts will be missing from my data set, if they occurred at all.

Material retweeted from accounts with many followers (e.g. those of the respective leaders) and accounts with few followers (e.g. first-time candidates) can arguably boost/drag totals and skew averages, but while we will be taking a quick peek at the likely extent of any distortion in this analysis, I don’t think there’s much in it, and in any case I would argue that the robustness of these leader or ‘soldier’ accounts is just as relevant to the final picture.

Finally, before we go into the data, if you are new to Twitter you need to know about something called ‘The Ratio’:

The Ratio refers to an unofficial Twitter law which states that if the amount of replies to a tweet greatly outnumbers the amount of retweets and likes, then the tweet is bad. – source | relevant article

In this context, retweets are being artificially inflated through legitimate but atypically overt promotion through party/membership networks and (sometimes) media interest, but there’s no hiding The Ratio, and you’re going to see it again and again.

Obviously, there are exceptions to The Ratio that include unusual outpourings of sympathy and/or solidarity, but you’re going to see that, too.

And so, without further fuss or ado, let’s get onto that beautiful data and the Magic Eye pictures lurking behind it…

BIG NUMBERS

Follower/Following totals for each account at 7 June 2017:
|__ @Conservatives: 265K Followers (while Following 1.6K)
|_____ @UKLabour: 447K Followers (while Following 14.1K)

Total number of tweets and retweets published during election:
|__ @Conservatives: 1,507 – (903 Tweets, 604 Retweets)
|_____ @UKLabour: 1,007 – (757 Tweets, 250 Retweets)

Feedback Totals (All Tweets) : Replies | Retweets | Likes
|__ @Conservatives: 252,848 | 260,347 | 385,534
|_____ @UKLabour: 54,775 | 643,378 | 865,129

First appearance of The Ratio, and comparison shows Tories getting 5 times as many ‘Replies’ as Labour over time, but with less than half the number of ‘Retweets’ and even fewer ‘Likes’.

Feedback Average (Per tweet/RT) : Replies | Retweets | Likes
|__ @Conservatives: 167.8 | 172.8 | 255.8
|_____ @UKLabour: 54.4 | 638.9 | 859.1

Labour were getting maybe 50 replies on the average tweet/RT, but over 600 retweets and near to 900 likes. Conservatives, by comparison, were getting over 150 replies with near the same number of retweets, and just over 250 likes.

The numbers clearly show the Conservatives enjoying far less support than Labour on Twitter and more of what one might kindly refer to as feedback, but you’ll get your chance to make your own mind up about that soon.

A closer look at the data shows just over 100 tweets/RTs through @UKLabour exceeding 1,000 retweets, but only 28 through @Conservatives. There was one tweet from @Theresa_May that we’ll get to in a moment that got far more RTs than anything else from them (over 17,000). If I take the figures out for that tweet and re-calculate averages without it, you’ll see a dip of 5 points in Replies and 10 in Retweets (see revised set below):
|__ @Conservatives: 162.7 | 163.4 | 241.3

This is by far the largest potential skew in the set, and there’s no meaningful dent in what the numbers are telling us. It might be different if one party or the other were repeatedly retweeting from more popular tweets/accounts for the sheer hell of it in order to distort their figures somehow, but nothing like that was going on.

While we’re on this subject, let’s swing to the other end of the scale briefly to visit some of the less ‘popular’ tweets that are letting the rest of the class down, before moving on to a closer look at the top performers:

SMALL NUMBERS

The lowest performing tweet/RT by @UKLabour (with 4 replies, 22 retweets and 61 Likes) was this RT from a Labour candidate who later retained her seat in Westminster North.

The lowest performing tweet/RT by @Conservatives (with 5 replies, 9 retweets 19 likes) was this RT from Eric Pickles, during one of the occasional short barrages that happened when the @Conservatives were busy shouting at the telly.

(Eric, if you’re reading this, we need to have words about Tory fundraising executives who make false allegations of child rape, and why you think that’s something to joke about, and not something to be alarmed about.)

MOST REPLIES

The tweet/RT by @Conservatives with the most replies was an RT of this tweet by Boris Johnson, and you’re welcome to browse through the replies that I have dared to tag as ‘mostly negative’:

The tweet above had 7,828 replies by midnight 7 June. The tweet below was in a distant third with 6,121 replies at the time, but it has gained many more replies since the election for some reason (again, mostly negative in my view, but you’re welcome to look):

The tweet/RT by @UKLabour with the most replies was an RT of this tweet by Jeremy Corbyn (1,753 replies by midnight 7 June), and you’re welcome to browse through the replies that I have dared to tag as ‘mixed’:

Sure, some people under that tweet are alleging or implying that Corbyn is soft on terrorism (as per the Tory/tabloid campaign against him), but this is the most-replied-to example from @UKLabour by far for the entire campaign, and even if you were to wrongly determine that all of the replies were negative, you would have to accept that vocal anger against Corbyn (legit or not) was totally overshadowed by vocal anger against the Tories, even when the former was at its most intense.

This is also the most-retweeted and most-liked of all tweets that appeared via the @UKLabour account.

The second-most-replied-to Tweet was also an RT from Corbyn, from the very beginning of the campaign. Replies are tagged ‘mixed’ again, but for different reasons, and you’re welcome to check them out for yourself:

MOST RETWEETS/LIKES

The tweet/RT by @Conservatives with the most retweets was an RT of this tweet by Theresa May, which one might describe as ‘newsy’ and perhaps a bit controversial to boot. It had 14,230 retweets by midnight on 7 June, it was only just in 2nd place for ‘Most Replies’ (7,759) and it smashed any competition for ‘Most Likes’ (22,155).

‘Likes’ aren’t always good, by the way. The same could be said of retweets, especially in this context:

The 2nd-most-retweeted tweet through @UKLabour – with 15,753 retweets at close of play – is another RT from Corbyn, this one involving voter registration (an issue which will come up again in this analysis):

The 2nd-most-liked tweet through @UKLabour was this one with 50,728 likes during the campaign.

Here I choose to also include the 3rd-most-retweeted tweet shared through @UKLabour, not least because they had FIVE top tweets with RTs in 5 figures compared to only ONE from the Tories, and May had to wind up the whole country about human rights to get that.

TWEETS ONLY

So far, it’s been all RTs, so let me also note this…

The most-retweeted tweet from the core @UKLabour account starred AJ Tracey…

… and it was the 6th-most-retweeted tweet overall, with 8,758 retweets.

The most-retweeted tweet from the core @Conservatives account starred Jeremy Corbyn…

… and it was 2nd-most retweeted tweet of the @Conservatives campaign.

Further, the second-most-retweeted tweet of the @Conservatives campaign had a mere 5,461 retweets, and the highest they went was with a controversial pledge to change human rights laws, earning them 14,230. Quite a drop-off.

This 2nd-most retweeted tweet is more representative of @Conservatives’ peak performance overall, and it just so happens to feature the kind of material their campaign was famous for.

THE ISSUES

@UKLabour mentioned tax 61 times, mainly when guaranteeing ‘no rise in Income Tax for 95% of taxpayers, and no rise in VAT or National Insurance for anyone’.
@Conservatives mentioned tax 114 times, in part by predicting ‘huge inheritance tax bills’ (aka a ‘death tax’) under Corbyn, but mainly with arguments centering on corporation tax and how Corbyn increasing it puts families at risk somehow. More on families shortly.

@UKLabour mentioned the economy 18 times.
@Conservatives mentioned the economy 89 times, mainly to lay claim to a strong economy and/or to warn people that Corbyn would wreck it. More on this shortly, too.

@UKLabour mentioned defence 4 times.
@Conservatives mentioned defence 18 times, mainly to lay claim to a strong defence capability and/or to warn people that Corbyn would dismantle it (or sit around singing Kumbaya… no, seriously).

@UKLabour mentioned Trident and/or our nuclear deterrent 0 times.
@Conservatives mentioned Trident and/or our nuclear deterrent nearly 50 times, and each and every time, it was to call upon Corbyn to talk about it, or remark upon the fact that he hadn’t talked about it enough.

@UKLabour mentioned terror/terrorism and extremism 7 times, with a clear pattern of Corbyn personally denouncing violence and calling for unity and a revised approach to extremism.
@Conservatives mentioned terror/terrorism and extremism 36 times. The vast majority of these tweets allege that Corbyn is soft/weak on terrorism or even associated with terrorists, but one or two do take the time to brag about May’s record/approach (example: “Theresa May as Home Secretary excluded more extremist preachers than any other Home Secretary before her”) and a few even promise a stepped-up version of this same approach, but the less said about that ‘human rights’ tweet, the better. There’s so much more to be upset about…

@UKLabour mentioned homes, houses and housing 91 times.
@Conservatives mentioned homes, houses and housing 21 times.

@UKLabour mentioned jobs 42 times.
@Conservatives mentioned jobs 34 times.

@UKLabour mentioned wages 49 times.
@Conservatives mentioned wages 5 times.

@UKLabour mentioned railways/transport 26 times.
@Conservatives mentioned railways/transport 0 times.

@UKLabour mentioned the NHS 196 times.
@Conservatives mentioned the NHS 25 times.

@UKLabour mentioned education 64 times.
@Conservatives mentioned education 7 times.

@UKLabour mentioned young people 75 times.
@Conservatives mentioned young people 6 times.

@UKLabour mentioned family or families 19 times.
@Conservatives mentioned family or families 95 times.

Well done, families, but before you get ahead of yourselves: you were used to defend corporation tax and as a pawn in further attacks on Jeremy Corbyn predicting “#chaos for families across the UK”. Further, of the 95 tweets that mention family or families, 55 used the word to stoke fear of economic chaos or hardship under Corbyn (example), a further dozen merely implied danger (including an increased danger of terror attack under Corbyn), and the rest was May begging for votes to ‘strengthen her hand’ (example). I believe I mentioned a certain Mr Devil would be found in that detail, and here’s a prime example of something that looks a bit good for the Tories until you take a closer look at it and see that their use of the word ‘family’ is as much of a sham as anything else. Back to the list…

@UKLabour mentioned pensions or pensioners 79 times.
@Conservatives mentioned pensions or pensioners 8 times.

@UKLabour mentioned immigrants or immigration 0 times
@Conservatives mentioned immigrants or immigration 33 times

@UKLabour mentioned Brexit 38 times.
@Conservatives mentioned Brexit 454 times.

@UKLabour promoted voter registration 149 times.
@Conservatives promoted voter registration 0 times.

Raise your hand if you arrived at this boring-looking list expecting it to be a long way from interesting and certainly not utterly fucking devastating.

Well, we’re not done yet…

THE LEADERS/THE OPPOSITION

@UKLabour mentioned Theresa May by name, surname or username 39 times out of 1007 tweets and RTs.

The vast majority of these messages referred to her fox-hunting position or called on May to provide answers to questions about social/pensioner care arising from her manifesto.

@Conservatives mentioned Jeremy Corbyn by name, surname or username 536 times out of 1,507 tweets and RTs; more than a third of the time.

The vast majority of these messages condemned Corbyn or called on him to condemn things himself, so it’s pretty clear what the Tories were doing instead of talking about the issues, and in any case the word clouds I published at the height of the campaign tell this exact same story.

There were 83 Retweets from @jeremycorbyn published by @UKLabour.
There were 62 Retweets from @theresa_may published by @Conservatives.

@Conservatives mentioned their own leader Theresa May by name another 300 times besides this, compared to @UKLabour heralding their leader only 10 times.

Ten. Times.

For the rest of the campaign they allowed him to speak for himself, almost as if he were a real leader, leading people. Quite a novel approach in this election, as it turns out.

Figures also indicate that there is some balance in reference to the opposition, just not so focused on the leader where Labour is concerned:

@UKLabour mentioned the word ‘Tory’ 111 times, ‘Tories’ 189 times and ‘Conservatives’ 10 times, totalling 310 mentions of the Conservative party (compared to 39 mentions of May by name).

That’s an 8:1 ratio in favour of party over personality from @UKLabour

Now, consider the number of times @Conservatives mentioned ‘Labour’ by name: 90 times (compared to 536 mentions of Corbyn by name).

That’s a 6:1 ratio in favour of personality over party from @Conservatives

This alone shows how fundamentally different the two campaigns were, and it really bears mentioning that it was Labour and not the Conservatives who had a leader with a personality worth focusing on.

CONCLUSIONS

The Twitter facet of the Tory campaign failed so completely and so thoroughly on its own merits that the only thing that really bears mentioning about @UKLabour in any short conclusion is its comparative normality and evident popularity.

@Conservatives failed to focus on issues and instead focused on personalities, to their evident detriment. The Twitter public was clearly upset by their campaign and expressing specific concerns about it, but no-one was listening, presumably because Mummy knew best. The Tories were deaf to public anger to such an extent that they recycled widely derided and even previously-discredited material throughout the campaign. They also released a notoriously callous and over-confident manifesto into the wider storm of upset and thought nothing of it.

Even if Tories were so paranoid as to ignore the specifics of negative feedback, the numbers alone (that were blindingly obvious very early in the campaign) would have screamed ‘Change direction!’ to any social media manager worth their salt. I can only speculate why no-one changed direction, but my best guess is the kind of raw hubris that comes with never having to face up to responsibility even once in your life.








Posted in Geekage, Teh Interwebs, Tories! Tories! Tories!, UK General Election 2017 | 2 Comments

Plan your vote… and get your pencils ready! #votingpencil

And lo, the Electoral Commission did convey their wisdom, saying unto the keepers of ballots:

:
3.18 A ballot paper marked by means other than a pencil should not be rejected simply because of that.
:
source: http://www.electoralcommission.org.uk/__data/assets/pdf_file/0012/87699/UKPE-doubtfuls-booklet.pdf

It is clear from this and the surrounding guidance that we in this country are free to use pens or markers or Sharpies or anything we please other than the usual pencil-on-a-string to mark our ballots, but there are many reasons to stick with convention, so with that in mind I am here today to ask two things of you:

1. I ask that you plan to use a pencil when you vote.

2. I ask that you vote with your very own special #votingpencil.

Here is a picture of mine. I’m a sucker for puns, so I’ve gone for a proper groaner*, and I have plenty of room left over to mark it with the names/years of future elections, assuming we all live that long:

voting pencil

(*HINT: Mine is the very first #votingpencil. )

There’s all sorts of easy and safe ways to personalise a pencil and some of you are already thinking about them, I am sure; I went old-skool in my example because I’m a nostalgist and I think this method has a certain ease and charm.

I will say to mind anything sharp if you’re a novice, as we wouldn’t want blood on the carpet. Always carve away from the body, people, and this includes fingers! Sandpaper has pencil paint off in a few strokes, so maybe try that.

Now, I will also remind everybody, because there are a lot of a new people here; we are each bound to express ourselves within the law, and further, we will be going out of our way to avoid being a pain in the arse, because my vote and your vote is as valuable as anybody else’s.

So, be sensible and respectful: if you feel that the design/slogan of your pencil is overtly political, and I really hope that it will be for some people, then by all means show it off whenever you please in everyday life… but be mindful to have it tucked away in a safe pocket when you enter a polling station to vote.

Of course, once you’re alone inside the booth, it’s just you, the ballot paper(s) and your #votingpencil, so you’re golden.

That’s the wider plan, but I am beginning today by asking you to (a) get a HB or 2B pencil that won’t let you down, (b) think about the statement you wish to make on your pencil, then (c) think about how you want to go about expressing it on a pencil. Then commit.

Remember: not only is this the pencil that you will be carrying with you during this election campaign (like an analog fidget spinner), but this will also be the pencil that you will hold in your hands when you look back and remember the day that we decided what kind of country we were going to be.

That’s a pretty big deal not matter which way the vote goes, so either way I know you’re probably going to want to be keeping your #votingpencil. That being the case, you might want to knock it out in the moment like I so obviously did, but you might instead choose to invest some time in it and make it real pretty, much to the annoyance of others.

Take the whole week if you like, or publish your personalised pencil porn today. If it’s not too forward of me, any time between now and the election, I’d very much like to see what puts lead in your pencil.

I’m on @bloggerheads on Twitter, and the appropriate hashtag is #votingpencil.

Cheers all.








Posted in UK General Election 2017 | 2 Comments

Word Clouds for Labour/Conservative party Twitter accounts during #GE2017

I thought it would be interesting to have a summary of what the major parties are saying on Twitter during #GE2017, so here’s what I did:

For both @Conservatives and @UKLabour, I took all tweets & replies from every day for the entire month of May 2017, and pasted them into a spreadsheet. I then removed all of the Twitter fittings & furniture and usernames and what have you, so the only words that remained were from the body of tweets.

(Obviously, words that were displayed in image or video files were not detected or counted.)

I then entered each set of words into a .TXT file for upload to wordclouds.com, gave each resulting text cloud the same font, shape, size and pattern, and the results are what you see below: a visual summary of what each campaign has had to say so far, as expressed through Twitter.

word cloud of @uklabour tweets

Word Cloud of tweets by @Conservatives during May 2017

Word cloud of @Conservatives tweets

Word Cloud of tweets by @Conservatives during May 2017

I’ll leave any analysis to others. Personally, I think the data speaks for itself.

Do feel free to use these images to make your point out there, just be sure to link back to the little black duck who did all of the hard work.

Cheers all.

Psst! Look for me in Replies to the @Conservatives, and check out the tag #TheyLie on Twitter, especially if you’re a fan of kicking ass and chewing bubblegum.

(MINI-UPDATE – I should be clear that I gave each set the same instructions. While both data sets are trying to form a circle, one data set clearly looks more organic than the other, and that’s because that data set has more variety in the text.)

UPDATE – Full analysis of @UKLabour/@Conservatives Twitter output during #GE2017








Posted in Inneresting, Tories! Tories! Tories!, UK General Election 2017 | 1 Comment