No-one seems to be talking about this yet… GE2019 and the use of Social Media Sock Puppets and Psychological Operations, Postal Vote Fraud and Voter Suppression. This wasn’t so much a political event, trading policy ideas on a level playground, but more like a military operation with one side armed to to teeth with tanks and fighter jets with the other with handbags.
The Tories were in a real mess in October 2019 running a minority government. Johnson was goading Corbyn to call for an election. Johnson obviously had a plan for the election and it had nothing to do with policy or a vision of the future for Britain, it was just three words “Get Brexit Done” – whatever that means (as far as I can tell it is just to let Tory Donors off the hook from tax avoidance scams).
The Tories ran a pretty dreadful campaign. Johnson was Boo-ed on many of his public outings and his team were a shambles, offending Greenfeld victims, NHS workers and patients, and dodging any questions regarding climate change or the environment. Johnson was defending a marginal seat with only 4000 odd majority, but did not even attend hustings in his consituency. A similar story can be found in constituencies in the north of England (soon to be won by them in the GE) where there was precious little evidence of a Tory campaign on the ground.
Corbyn was met with huge crowds of supporters, chanting and cheering wherever he went. But this was not reported in the Mainstream Media, prefering, it seems, to attack him personally, and Labour in general, with “weaponised” lines of questioning regarding anti-seminitism (a problem that affected Labour at a rate of 0.01% of its membership). The BBC – supposedly impartial and in “purdah” – went out of its way to edit video to make Johnson look good, covering up on the Jennifer Arcuri scandal, the withholding of the “Russia Report” and the social media manipulations, particulalry the sock puppet accounts, over the boy-on-the-floor in Leeds Hospital. https://www.yorkshireeveningpost.co.uk/news/read-this/general-election-2019-leeds-general-infirmary-fake-news-flooding-social-media-explained-1337095. These sock puppet accounts (as reported by the BBC) demonstrated the immense social media capability available to the Tories.
Various commentators noted that the gap between Conservatives and Labour was narrowing mainly because the polls had not accounted for the Youth Quake, dying Brexit voters and Campaign disasters (such as Fridge Gate). There was the issue of Labour voters moving to the Brexit Party but both the LibDems, Brexit Party and Tories had a dreadful campaign and many people expected a shift to Labour and at least a hung parlaiment.
General Election 12th December 2019
So on the day of the General Election, there were extraordinary queues at polling stations in many consituencies: Young Voters coming out in force. But at 10.30pm the exit polls were announced and the BBC was 99% accurate to the actual result… which is rather strange since the postal votes were at an extraordinary high – double the number in 2017 and not counted towards the exit poll. Did the BBC have other data to work with other than the exit poll information?
According to the official figures, while the registered voter population had grown from 46m to 47m, turned out had dropped slightly from 68.7% to 67.3%. These figures seem to be a bit of puzzle… considering not only the Youth Quake, Polling Booth Queues but also the reported doubling of the postal vote from around 16% in 2017 to 32% in 2019 – these figures are still being collated since official figures will not be fully available until Jun 2020.
The official explanation is that former Labour Voters moved to Conservative (and Brexit Party) and while this story has credibility according to these figures, more striking is the move from Labour to LibDem, Green and SNP. Perhaps the real story is how efficient the Tories had optimised their vote in the very unfair First-Past-The-Post election system, allowing them to pick one seat for every 38264 votes while the LibDems were amazingly less efficient moving from 200,000 in 2017 for each seat to 300,000 in 2019. It seems that the Conservatives with only 100,000 or so paid up party members had out-campaigned Labour, the largest political party in Europe with 500,000 party members, through the use of capital-intensive technology.
Before the EU Referendum, Dominic Cummings had created a system for Vote Leave called the Voter Intentions Collection System (VICS). This is well documented in Dominic Cummings own blog. https://dominiccummings.com/on-the-eu-referendum/ It provides a statistical probability of each and every vote and voter, fed by data sources “conventional and unconventional”.
For Vote Leave this Big Data system was fed from information from facebook: information on 2 billion (yes, 2 billion) people collected by Cambridge Analytica. There is an ongoing case about the fraudulent collection of this data and still further speculation whether this data was available to Dominic Cummings in 2019.
In 2019, Dominic Cummings claimed that voters were persuaded to change their attitudes to people, party and desire to vote by targetted adverts. Facebook allows targetted ads including by location, demographics (age, gender, education, job title), interests, behaviour and connections, include people who are connected to your people or events, or to exclude them. So the Tories had the ability to target people that were likely to be swayed by their ads. Cummings claim they tested the ads on small groups, fine tuned them and then pushed out to larger groups. The ads were largely attack ads against Corbyn or “Get Brexit Done” messages with overtone of racism. The ads were targetted towards football supporters and football supporter mentality… which is largely pretty tribal if not racist…
However to really guage voter intention, VICS needs more than just targetting information it needs, feedback and engagement. Social media, particularly facebook, is the tool of choice. Sock Puppet accounts and bots were enabled to do a number of things:
a) identify a person who was likely to vote for a particular party – if confirmed views, would they be voting?
b) identify people who could possibly be infulenced “floating voters”, and if infulenced would they vote?
c) identify people who were unlikely to vote at all
In particular, besides identifying voter’s political view, the sock puppets and bots could re-inforce tribal behaviour and commitment to vote by either “liking” posts, engaging in chit-chat and obtaining such confirmation. As mentioned above, the Tories had demonstrated a massive capability for its sock puppets and bots but it is unlikely that these were directly controlled by Tory Party operatives but either UK Intelligence Services or Foriegn Intelligence Services – the most likely being, not Russia, but USA and Israel who both have massive capability for such “Pyschological Operations“.
IDOX systems are used to used to manage Postal Votes in around 80% of UK constituencies. It does not count votes but managing the requests, sending out voter packs, verifying the packs and managing the electoral rolls. This is gold dust info into a system like VICS. So was the data passed deliberately to Tory CCHQ? Maybe not necessary – just hacked – Rabid Tory Peter Lilly was a former director of IDOX – he could have passed on details to people that could then easily hack the IDOX systems. We know for instance that each IDOX installation was separated (so no central database) and I’m sure, “good security controls” but each system was also capable of being connected by wi-fi and/or the internet and so, of course, wide open to any determined organisation to hack into it. (See picture). The Institue of Statecraft for example, would easily be able to achieve this.
Postal Vote Fraud
Various efforts are now in play to investigate the postal vote fraud but this is nothing new. There was a postal vote court case in England in September 2019 and suspected postal vote fraud in the Scottish Referendum For GE2019 early information indicates that both Safe Tory Seats and Marginals won by the Conservative, had high Postal Ballot percentages, double the usual figures.
The VICS data would have indentified those people unlikely to vote. These would be the perfect people to impersonate for postal vote ballot stuffing.
Finally there is evidence of voter suppression, particularly of youngsters, people living abroad and new British Citizens, (and there’s more on the way). The evidence for this is available all over Twitter. Another group, confirmed non-Tory voters, could have been identified by VICS data and these voters could have been somehow twarted from voting (by a variety of means).
The different methods to achieve the goal, a conservative landslide, would have been diverse in order to stop any one particular method being fully understood and the fraud exposed. All that really was required was “Situational Awareness” – a military term that is now widely used within business – to provide a complete overall picture of progress towards the goal. In the conversative case, this was provided by Dominic Cummings’ Voter Intention Database. Is that system illegal? No… Well, actually it depends on who paid for it and how it was accounted for in campaign finances… and we won’t know that until June 2020. Oh, and if using Social Media Data it probably broke GDPR rules governed by the Information Commissioner Office. (The ICO seems to be very quiet on this matter).
More information will be written up as it becomes available. This blog will be used to store information and links provided for use on social media…
2017 – 13.63m vote Tory…..Hung Parliament
2019 – 13.96m vote Tory…..Landslide victory
Something is not right.