A petition on the Government website demanding the revocation of Article 50, and that Britain should then remain in the EU, had garnered little more than 15,000 signatories yesterday evening - until Theresa May made her highly unfortunate intervention, blaming everyone but herself for her own failure to get her Brexit deal through the Commons.
From the point she gave her address, though, the petition went viral, and as I type is almost up to 900,000 signatories. As a result, the Government must consider debating the matter. But out there on the Europhobic right, this is causing considerable concern, undermining the oft-chanted mantra that leaving the EU is the settled and irrevocable “Will of the people”, whoever he is. So a dirty tricks operation has been ordered.
And there is no finer purveyor of dirty tricks than the perpetually thirsty Paul Staines and his rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, who have decided to serve up a total pack of lies about the petition and then have the brass neck to claim an “Exclusive” for it. I kid you not; the resulting freshly excreted turd is the work of new teaboy Tom Harwood.
“Foreign Actors Hijack Article 50 Petition With Fake Signatures” tells the headline, with Harwood sneering “A petition backed by all of the faces who had been pretending to care about holding another referendum for the sake of ‘democracy’ have been sharing a new petition entitled ‘Revoke Article 50 and remain in the EU.’ They’re not even bothering to pretend to be democrats any more”. He’ll be OK when Staines gets him house trained.
There was more. “The petition saw a suspicious jump in signatures last night, with blatantly fake signatures arising everywhere from Russia, to Afghanistan, to North Korea. Tens of thousands of signatures have also come from EU states including Jean Claude Juncker’s tiny Luxembourg … Remainers are using sham numbers, dodgy foreign actors, and disinformation”. Sounds dramatic. And it’s total bullshit.
As Andy Clegg has pointed out, “It's hardly a 'hijack' with 4% of the signatures coming from outside the UK, which will include British citizens abroad for work/holidays”. Also, there are hundreds of thousands of Brits who live in other EU member states, and are as entitled as Staines to their views - if not moreso, as The Great Guido is an Irish citizen.
Not surprisingly, Harwood fails to give even one example of a “dodgy foreign actor”, or “disinformation”. Brits work and live in Russia, Afghanistan, and yes, North Korea. The idea that a Government petition has been hijacked by a troll farm is fanciful in the extreme - but just what the Fawkes rabble’s press masters want to tell their readers tomorrow.
Fortunately for those of us who live in the real world, and accept reality as we find it, this characteristically despicable bout of disinformation has been rumbled.
The Fawkes massive can’t even do dirty tricks properly nowadays. Another fine mess.
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