WHILE THE EU sets aside two-million Euros for paying faceless euro-trolls to infiltrate online debating forums and influence their discussions, Nigel Farage has this week taken to the streets and halls of numerous British towns to debate with their citizens directly.
With almost 33 million over 40s predicted by 2015, from a population of 64.8 million, it is difficult to understand why the infantile Twitter trolls have latched upon this particular demographic’s representation in Farage’s packed audiences. Is it perhaps an attempt to paint the grey-haired majority as mere imbeciles with less wisdom and worldly understanding than that exhibited by the young, drug-consuming, celebrity-worshipping, chavs that the LibLabCons have nurtured to eagerly elect anyone whom will promise to defend their right to a life of irresponsibility and debauchery?
It certainly seems an attempt to divide opinion along ageist lines (perhaps because the racist slur has been unable to find any traction).
Of course, all modern politics are founded upon the idea of ‘divide and conquer’ to strengthen divisions as a means of gaining power, so it will be particularly interesting to see just how far UKIP can advance by restoring the traditional political objective of ‘uniting opinion.’ As far as I know, that particular objective has not been attempted since Churchill’s time.
I wrote numerous pieces about political trolls when I published the Canvey Beat (in both its WordPress and BlogSpot forms) highlighting how Canvey’s ‘independent’ councillors were spinning public opinion by adopting various aliases in online forums to take-over the thread and leave the impression that their views represented the majority. But, for all my efforts, the CIIP was still able to retain their Canvey seats – by simply stepping up their online contributions and traditional leafleting. Trolling is a powerful political tool, as witnessed by the EU’s two-million Euros investment, that voters, and newspaper editors, ignore at their peril.
Most people believe what they read, and, when a genuine commenter is ‘shouted down’ by numerous (apparent) ‘individuals,’ readers are subconsciously programmed to not repeat those views lest they receive the same response from their colleagues. We humans are a gregarious breed that does not like to offend, and the political trolls tap into that need to be accepted so as to control the way we think. Even if we personally hold the opposite opinion, we are programmed not to repeat those views, and thus we encourage, and unintentionally spread, the illusion that the trolls represent majority opinion.
These are just some of the tactics used by the political trolls for which you should be prepared.
- Creating additional ‘sock-puppet’ accounts with which to hold a ‘discussion’ or create an impression of others sharing similar views.
- Complaining that their comments have been rejected by the moderator as proof that the host site is biased. (Surprisingly, such comments are published – just like their original would have been; had it actually been made).
- Quoting figures or statistics to prove their case, without providing their source.
- Quoting figures or statistics to prove their case, and providing a link to some obscure web site or political blog from where the spin was extracted.
- Accusing regular commenters of trolling – mainly because they contribute regularly, and have done so for many years.
- Voting-up their own comments by using a proxy server that provides numerous IP addresses to fool the forum’s moderators – or by constantly removing the cookie placed on their machine to prevent them from voting twice.
- Resorting to personal attacks, quoting others out of context, and shedding doubt on perfectly legitimate figures or statistics mentioned that do not include a link.
- Discarding a discussion account after it has served its purpose, and popping-up again on another page, under another alias (often because they cannot remember the identity they previously used).
Do not believe all that you read on the internet, where anyone can purport to be anyone else, and where anonymity prevents anyone from knowing anything about the real person behind a comment or an anonymous Blog.
If Farage’s audiences are anything to go by, this May’s council elections may serve to completely confound the pundits and the pollsters, because wise grey hairs believe in true democracy where one does not discuss one’s vote. Ask any grey-hair their intention, and they will either tell you the opposite (to piss you off) or suffer your ill-mannered ignorance (with a smile) and then reply ‘undecided.’
And there could be a big awakening for the political trolls as well, because few grey-hairs believe anything espoused by someone they do not know. And that goes double for anyone whom attempts to hide their true identity.
For too long, the LibLabCons have abused the grey-haired majority, taken away their pensions, their savings, humiliated them in their hospitalised thousands, decimated their communities, and ignored the Nation’s enduring wisdom that is granted to those of many years.
But, if the UKIP photo coverage is anything to go by, it may not be that way for much longer; because the grey-haired majority are listening; considering; talking – and apparently on the march…