Pontifications on a road less travelled. The bots are alive and well

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One of the problems with the internet is that there is just too much information and a high proportion of it is rubbish. And people deluge you with more.

In fact they’ve even got bots to do it now.

I wrote a blog post on my Tallis Steelyard blog called Garrat Drane and the case of the petty cash.




A few days later I got this message attached to that particular blog post.


“Hello good day am Franklin by name.

Am an crypto exchanger we also mine wallet to start earn every 9.6hrs,

I exchange TBC, ETH to BITCOIN then I exchange BITCOIN to CASH (money) if you have any to cashout or exchange contact me on my Gmail  we are ready to supply all your needs

Remain bless”


The deathless prose tugs at the heart strings doesn’t it?


But it isn’t just rubbish like this; the great propagandists still walk among us. Or at least pour their filth into the web pages we might access.

What people forget is that Propaganda has two purposes. So when Paul Joseph Goebbels put out his propaganda it had two purposes. One was to attract the waverers and bind them more closely to the party. But the other purpose was to ensure the party faithful remained faithful. This was done by demonising the opposition. They were Untermensch or even worse. The purpose of the propaganda was to ensure that it became impossible for somebody to even contemplate leaving the party to join ‘them’.

It was the same with the communist parties and those on the old hard left. The party propaganda mixed some good things to attract those who might join, with a big dose of vilification which was aimed at the lackeys of the Imperialist Yankee running dogs. Plutocrats, kulaks, enemies of the people, counter revolutionary elements, the bourgeoisie, were all to be destroyed so don’t even think of joining them.

We see it now. Hillary Clinton, probably ill advisedly, described Trump supporters as a ‘basket of deplorables.’ The message is obvious, be ‘nice’ people like us, not scum like them.
Stop a minute; these deplorables are your fellow citizens. Unless you live in a bubble of privilege they’re your neighbours, people you actually know and get on with. What she proves is that society needs a good stirring up. In the UK the conscription for two world wars had that sort of effect, but America missed out during the Vietnam War, with the wealthy skipping the draft due to ‘bone spurs’ or moving to Scandinavia for a few years. I remember being at an AGM of the Youth Hostel Association in England. The year after the President granted an amnesty to those who’d dodged the draft, the number of Americans staying in Youth Hostels in the UK fell markedly. The Vietnam War may actually have hardened the stratification of society.

The purpose of propaganda is to control your thinking; it allows politicians to manipulate you. Being the willing victim of propaganda is to succumb to their blandishments, switch off your critical faculties and just allow yourself to be carried along, unthinking and compliant, in the surge.

That, I suspect, is one reason why the remain campaign has held together. Normally in this country, if a political party won 52% of the popular vote, nobody would have any doubt about its legitimacy. It’s a feat that’s rarely achieved. Faced with these numbers, the opposition and the electorate nod wisely and accept the will of the people.




But by painting the opponents of the remain campaign as a bunch of subsentient racist thugs barely incapable of higher thought, whilst the supporters are an educated, cosmopolitan elite, the propagandists have managed to hold the remain campaign largely together. OK so they’ve split the country, but it’s doubtless all for ‘the greater good’, so that’s all right then.

But there have been other waves of vilification as well. Look at the current standing of our PM, Theresa May. I think she’s achieved the impossible by unifying pretty well everybody in opposition to her policy.

But let’s assume she’s not a weak willed spineless moron. Let’s assume that as a woman who has managed to get to the top of the greasy pole, she is cunning, shrewd, and to some extent competent.

Now personally I dislike the plan she put forward and would rather just leave the EU on WTO terms than accept it. But I accept many will not agree with me on that point even if they dislike her plan. So as I’m accepting your little foibles, at this point, for the purposes of the exercise, I’d ask you to do me the courtesy of accepting my little foibles.

Let’s go back to our PM. Assuming she is cunning, shrewd etc (which is every bit as probable as assuming she’s a spineless moron) why is she doing what she is doing?
Let us assume that she is betting that she’ll survive as PM, and that the plan will not get through parliament. Both pretty reasonable bets to be honest, but you’d need metaphorical balls of steel to take that course.

So she’s setting up a plan that she knows will fail, why?
So let’s look at the EU. In today’s paper the Spanish are saying they’ll veto the plan over Gibraltar. Then you have the Italian situation, they’re already at daggers drawn with the Commission over their budget and unlike Greece they’ve called the Commission’s bluff and haven’t backed down.

In three or four month’s time who will be Chancellor of Germany?
Macron in France isn’t looking particularly strong at the moment, he struts on the European stage and at home the demonstrations are getting larger.

So at some point after Christmas, when we cannot get the plan through, the Commission find to their embarrassment that they cannot either.
At this point, with the clock ticking, the time pressure will be starting to impact of both sides. The old plan, the ‘backstop’ and suchlike will be discredited and they’ll have a couple of months to come up with something new. The pain will be spread more evenly. Suddenly the Spanish have to face up to the fact that if we go out on WTO terms (remember we trade successfully on WTO terms with our largest customer the USA) Spanish produce runs the risk of being priced out of the UK market. Over the last year there have been acrimonious discussions in the various EU agriculture forums, because they have to work out how to support EU agriculture without UK money. Things have been patched up because under ‘the plan’ we were going to keep paying some money in, and that’s sort of filled the gap. But if we leave under WTO, that gap opens up again and member states who have been net recipients since they joined will have to become net contributors.
At that point Theresa might come back with the deal she wanted in the first place.


But there again, what the hell do I know?

Only that I got a rather nice review of a book


Excellent follow up to his first collection of bloggage – Sometimes I Sits and Thinks – this is another collection of gentle reflections on life on a small sheep farm in Cumbria. This could so easily be a rant about inconsiderate drivers on country lanes and an incessant moaning about the financial uncertainties of life on a farm. Instead, despite the rain, this is full of wise asides on modern living that will leave you feeling better about the world. Think Zen and the Art of Sheep Management (except he’s clearly CofE…) Highly recommended, and worth several times the asking price!

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7 thoughts on “Pontifications on a road less travelled. The bots are alive and well

  1. Alicia Butcher Ehrhardt November 21, 2018 at 5:07 pm Reply

    Always nice to hear your intelligent ramblings on British politics.

    And I remember thinking at the time that the ‘deplorables’ comment wasn’t a good idea, now matter how frustrated she had become. My mother always said to not say things you couldn’t take back; you might be able to apologize – but the hearer could never un-hear the words.

    • jwebster2 November 21, 2018 at 10:36 pm Reply

      I think your mother was entirely correct. If Hillary had become president she would have been duty bound to serve the ‘deplorables’ with the same care as she served any other citizens, but would the deplorables have trusted her?
      As you say, she could well have been frustrated, she’s also human, but there again, she was running for one of the most responsible positions open for election anywhere in the world.

  2. M T McGuire November 25, 2018 at 9:24 am Reply

    I kind of sympathise with Hilary though I agree that add my mum says, ‘just because other people fling mud you don’t drop to their level.’ But she was looking at a guy who was following Hitler’s playbook to power step by step (And still does).

    And likewise the leave campaign set themselves up to be thought of as Nazis by basing a lot of their rhetoric around immigration and courting the far right vote.

    I’m sorry I know I keep saying that but I have relatives in Vichy France who disappeared during the war so I have a bit of a blind spot on extremism and I’m afraid that I do tend to equate it with evil.

    Love your thoughts in the rest of the argument though. It’s a pity we don’t have the war cabinet you suggested somewhere. The idea that Brexit is the alt right option persists because the high profile conservativs involved clearly are exceedingly right wing in many cases (obviously as a woman fascism impacts more on me than on men because it paints me as a second class citizen and subject to the wills and whims of the menfolk round me). If there were middle ground or labour politicians in the group making the most noise about leave the division between the two camps would reduce a lot I reckon. I think a big part of the battle for remainers, they part about which they are not necessarily conscious, is that once we do live our country is going to be run by people who, whilst they may not be Nigel Farage, illegals views that are just as vile and see the world the same way.

    It’s so lovely to read your posts and see someone talking rationally and normally about it rather than just ner-diddly-er-der! We won! Suck it up! Or people propounding the rheese mogg/boris ‘let’s become the 51st state and change our health care system like the moral travesty they use in America’ approach. Also not keen on that as I’m uninsurable due to pre-existing conditions.

    Btw excuse typos. I did this on my phone and while I can see none now, tonnes will leap out when I press post!



  3. M T McGuire November 25, 2018 at 9:29 am Reply

    Gah …I meant a big part of THE battle for remainers and I meant to say, The people who aren’t garage but area like him HOLD views that are just as vile.

  4. M T McGuire November 25, 2018 at 9:30 am Reply

    Aren’t farage! Aaaaaaargh I hate this bloody phone! It’s like wearing a chuffing gag! 😬😬😬😬😂😂😂😂

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