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I tend to take almost all politician's talk with a large grain of salt, but what they do can be a lot more instructive. So far De Pfeffle has sacked 17 ministers, many of whom didn't even bother to wait to be sacked, they couldn't stomach working for him. And then he has the gall to announce that he has selected a cabinet of all talents and that his prime goal is to unify the country...

But perhaps his most significant appointment - along with Raab as his deputy - is that of Dominic Cummings as his "senior adviser". As you say it means that he is in permanent campaign mode and that policies and EU negotiations don't matter. Expect to see an outraged De Pfeffle go to the country when the EU refuses to lie down and die, and Parliament fails to support his latest wheeze.

That is when the UK will face the greatest test of its somewhat crude democracy. De Pfeffle will try to crush the Brexit Party but can Labour and the Lib Dems agree an electoral pact where the party in third place in the 2017 election withdraws its candidate in a particular constituency in favour of the party in second place?

An electoral pact doesn't imply complete policy alignment or an attempt at coalition building, but simply an attempt to get over the vagaries of a FPTP system where a party with 25% of the vote can win the seat if the other main parties in a multi-party system share the vote evenly enough to ensure no one reaches 25%.

At the moment based on current opinion polls and discounting the current Tory and Lib Dem new leader bounces, it would not be unreasonable to surmise that the party vote shares in the Next General elections would be something like: Tories, 25%, Labour 25%, Lib Dems 20%, Brexit 15%, Greens 8% and others 7%.

Crazy as it may seem, that could be sufficient for a Labour party overall majority if Labour and Lib Dems didn't run candidates against each other in winnable constituencies and agreed to campaign locally on behalf of the candidate whose party was in second place last time around. The Liberals would also stand a reasonable chance of becoming the largest opposition party. Both would therefore have a powerful incentive to form a pact in order to defeat a no-deal Brexit.

But would they have the vision and organisational cohesion to do so? Would narrow party self-interest and the actions of disgruntled deselected but no hope candidates in particular constituencies be sufficient to hand victory to the default no-deal Brexit option? Is disgust with De Pfeffle and fear of no deal sufficient to unite the opposition? A real test of British politics and democracy awaits...

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 10:23:26 AM EST
As I suggest above, I think Pfeffle's intention is to fuel great outrage re <the EU's arrogant rejection of his sincere proposals>, and thus steal the thunder of the Brexit Party. Tories up to 30% and Brexit P down to 10% would change the picture.

But yes, a Lib-Lab electoral pact is in any case necessary, if only for the sake of a democracy-as-we-know-it on which to base the real fight back against the billionaire wreckers.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 11:56:19 AM EST
[ Parent ]
You know the English psyche better than I, and especially potential Tory voters, but I don't sense any great tactical awareness amongst those I do know. The meme "the EU made me do it" or EU intransigence forced me to call a general election hardly holds much water for De Pfeffle in any case, as his idea of negotiation seems to consist of shouting across the channel.

I can't see many working class Leave voters, especially ex-Labour voters, switching from the Farage to De Pfeffle in any case. A lot depends on how De Pfeffle conducts himself in office, but can a large swathe of the electorate really be convinced he sincerely tried to get a deal?  And if no deal is his pitch, why vote De Pfeffle rather than Farage?

If there is any truth in the meme that a large part of the Leave vote was an anti-establishment, anti austerity, anti immigration vote how can De Pfeffle attract it if he is quintessentially part of the establishment, part of Tory governments which enforced austerity, and doesn't want to set quotas or targets for immigration?

I can see how old Tories might want to vote for him, but everyone else?

Index of Frank's Diaries

by Frank Schnittger (mail Frankschnittger at hot male dotty communists) on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 01:01:00 PM EST
[ Parent ]
can a large swathe of the electorate really be convinced he sincerely tried to get a deal?

A large swathe of the electorate is informed by billionaire-owned media and fakes on social networks, and have shown to date a remarkable propensity for believing any nonsense that is thrown at them.

he is quintessentially part of the establishment

We see him as that, I think large numbers of people don't. He's a dab hand at scrambling his image.

Whether he'll succeed, I don't know. But even today's news confirms my belief that he will seek to get the EU door shut in his face as rapidly as possible. He'll then have three months in which to attempt to swing Brexiteer voters behind him. In which his advantage over Farage is that he's actually in Number 10 and can deliver the wished-for goods.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 01:47:39 PM EST
[ Parent ]
For a summary of the latest in Pfeffle's approach to discussions with the EU, see Oui's post here.

It wouldn't take much malice to see him as trolling them. In fact...

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 02:02:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Battling Boris won't divide us, Barnier warns the Brexiteers - Extra.ie
A phone call between outgoing European Commission President Jean Claude Juncker and Mr Johnson yesterday afternoon offered little in the way of a breakthrough.

An EC statement following the call said Mr Juncker congratulated the new PM on his `appointment' and `reaffirmed his commitment to working together in the best possible way'.

Shorter Juncker: Who's the "unelected leader"?

by Bernard on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 07:11:10 PM EST
[ Parent ]
that Pfeffle knows all about, along with his adviser Dominic Cummings:

Instead of stuffing an ideology down people's throats via TV and radio, a spin doctor has to tailor different messages to different social media groups.

A country of 20 million, the chatty digital director of Vote Leave, Thomas Borwick, told me, needs 70 to 80 types of targeted message. Borwick's job is to connect individual causes to his campaign, even if that connection might feel somewhat tenuous at first.

In the case of the vote to leave the EU, Borwick, who seems to approach such challenges like a Rubik's Cube, claimed that the most successful message in getting people out to vote had been about animal rights. Vote Leave argued that the EU was cruel to animals because, for example, it supported farmers in Spain who raise bulls for bullfighting. And within the "animal rights" segment Borwick could focus even tighter, sending graphic ads featuring mutilated animals to one type of voter and more gentle ads with pictures of cuddly sheep to others.

I'd heard of similarly varied messaging used by spin doctors across the world. The challenge with this sort of micro-targeting is that it requires some big, empty identity to unite all these different groups, something so broad these voters can project themselves on to it - a category such as "the people" or "the many". The "populism" that is thus created is not a sign of "the people" coming together in a great groundswell of unity, but is actually a consequence of the people being more fractured than ever, of their barely existing as one nation. When people have less in common than before, you have to create a new version of "the people" for every election. As too many concrete policies and coherent ideologies would risk alienating parts, these pop-up people need to be united around a leader's personality and a vague feeling, such as "take back control" or "optimism". Facts are a hindrance rather than a help: you are not trying to win a rational debate with floating voters; you want to say whatever gets more attention in fragmented social media groups, where the more outrageous you are the more likes you'll get. Indeed there is something of a rush in throwing a middle finger up to facts, farting at glum reality. Trump and Johnson are both products of this environment.

Identify the hot buttons (animal rights, climate "scepticism", ecologists are fascists, etc) of different groups of people, hook them into a larger narrative around some vague aspiration unconnected with reality : this was always to some extent the MO of politicians on the hustings. But it's now a cyberworld-scale industry that really works. Which Pfeffle has reason to know.


Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sat Jul 27th, 2019 at 03:20:55 PM EST
[ Parent ]
is an Advertising 101, channel placement and value proposition solution for economic waste. Y'all like efficiency, dontcha.

When I started out in the '80s, a large agency (national or global footprint) could easily commission focus group assays in "major markets" (say, metro-areas > 1M) to estimate preferences on any topic ("hot button" a/k/a pain-point a/k/a value proposition) among representative respondents (src = census data, periodical and newspaper circulation, NIELSEN feedback, proprietary market intelligence, etc). Agency compiles data, recommends media mssg and buys to advertiser, collects vig.

The only thing that has changed in the methodology over the past 30+ years is (1) sample size (n) response speed provided by internet telecom (2) redundancy and (3) names of the players --agencies, advertisers, market segment a/k/a target market a/k/a social media group. A "5000 data point" claim for each and every person with a phone is vainglorious reach for "value added."

I tried to watch Netflix documentary "The Big Hack" but fell asleep repeatedly. This ...material purports to reveal the nefarious objectives (revenue) and clientele (advertiser) of Cambridge Analytica (agency)  operations in the UK and USA. But the only news (to me) in the director's nominee for anti-hero, Brittany KAISER. Kaiser reportedly learned everything she knows in the last decade, from internship with the Obama campaign. She ascribes to herself kudos for identifying a NEW! segment "persuadables." Now she's appalled with herself having taken the $$ to support her infirm parents.

Communication isn't a problem. The message isn't even a problem. Isn't the problem more likely than not the people who don't know what they want, whether shoe or government?


Diversity is the key to economic and political evolution.

by Cat on Sat Jul 27th, 2019 at 04:17:11 PM EST
[ Parent ]
The point seems to me to be that social media groups are identified who do know what they want, or at least who hold a strong belief that they know what they want. Animal rights, for example, can unleash passionate violence in people. The trick then is to persuade those people, by fine-grained delivery of ads, that what they want is part of some more general scheme. Force-feeding geese and bull-fighting are evil, they are permitted in Europe, therefore the EU is evil, I am going to vote for Brexit.

Otherwise, you're right that the methods used are fundamentally those the advertising industry has been using for over half a century. The difference in speed and fine-grained delivery doesn't create a new paradigm, it does, however, up the game enormously. To the point where one may fairly say, this is a whole new ball game.

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Sun Jul 28th, 2019 at 07:41:31 AM EST
[ Parent ]
More on how this works in this interesting article about a close friend of Pfeffle's:

Revealed: Johnson ally's firm secretly ran Facebook propaganda network

Things are going to slide, slide in all directions
Won't be nothing
Nothing you can measure anymore
L. Cohen

by john_evans (john(dot)evans(dot)et(at)gmail(dot)com) on Fri Aug 2nd, 2019 at 08:55:14 AM EST
[ Parent ]
A Lib-Lab pact is extremely unlikely as, philosophically, they no longer have much in common.

The Lib-Dems have been on a rightward track ever since the OrangeBook tendency emerged 15-20 years ago. Nowadays they are really a version of the Tory-left rather than the Labour right. A Labour right which has itelf been serially humilated in its attempts to unseat Corbyn.

Labour themselves have also moved away fromh thethe historic LibDems position, let alone where they are these days, and Jo Swinson, the new LDP leader, has made it clear that she will have no talks of pacts or agreements whilst Corbyn, or any likely repacement, are in charge.

Indeed, as Boris pushes the Tories increasingly into brexit party territory, it's likely that there will be a series of break points that will push those few sensible conservative MPs to consider jumping ship into an idealogically satisfactory berths in the LibDems. Rory Stewart, who ran a well regarded, if quickly ended, tilt at the Tory leadership himself seems to have gone off walking in the Lake District for consultation with his electorate and consideration of his options, which I think is code for thinking about jumping ship. His leaving would be a huge coup for the LibDems.

there is nothing for either party in a pact. The LibDems electoral pitch is to the sensible right, trade and manfacturing rather than finance. Labour are pushing hard for the precariat. They are on different planets and ther are few points of contact.

keep to the Fen Causeway

by Helen (lareinagal at yahoo dot co dot uk) on Fri Jul 26th, 2019 at 05:27:59 PM EST
[ Parent ]

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