UKIP and Leave. eu, as far as I’m concerned, are the same thing. The same group of people, the same ideas, the same funding.
Which is why it’s totally unsurprising that UKIP choose to post fake race-baiting viral videos designed to deceive and cause anger.
Because Farage’s colleagues at leave. eu follow the same playbook and are essentially the same group of people.
Leave. eu’s 2016 Viral Success
A few weeks before the referendum in 2016, Leave. eu posted a fake video of a “rape” in Germany, that was actually in Africa, as a reason to vote leave. We wrote an article about it, proving it was fake. An MP and a few journalists like Peter Jukes, Carole Cadwalladr and a few others, tweeted about it; but no one really cared and the video is still live.
It went viral in 2016, 1.5 million potential voters watched the fake video in the run up to the referendum.
Thousands of voters furiously raged in the comments announcing their commitment to vote Leave.
UKIP: Swindon’s fake video
With success like that, as well as absolutely zero repercussions for spreading fake campaign material during a referendum, of course they’ll carry on repeating it.
That’s why “UKIP Swindon” posted this video, last week, with the title:
“The latest batch of doctors and scientists have arrived in Barcelona.
As usual, no women or children – just well dressed young men of fighting age abaondoning their homes.”
The sarcastic tone feels more like something a young 4chan/infowars ideologue would write, rather than Farage’s rotary club warm beer and cricket fascism-lite. Perhaps the Nazi dog salute man or the pompous Sargon of Argos guy are helping UKIP develop a more snide trolling social media tone of voice. Who knows.
1.The video is not a video of people “arriving” in Barcelona. They are street traders.
The video shows street traders in Barcelona, carrying the goods they have been selling. They are being moved on by the police, not ushered into Europe as the video implies.
The Barcelona police (or los Mossos) have been doing this for a long time, if street traders become a nuisance or, for example, try sell illegal alcohol on the beach.
This is not new, there have been street traders from around the world in Barcelona, for decades.
The white sheets they are carrying are not bags full of possessions from their “arrival”.
They are white sheets that the traders lay on the ground, to put the stuff they sell on and make a quick entry/exit. You can google “Barcelona street traders” to see 100s of images of this.
There is even a word in Spanish, that Barcelona locals use, to refer to street traders. They call them “manteros” which comes from the word “manta” (blanket).
Barcelona’s mayor has taken a progressive attitude towards “manteros” and has started a program to train them to work other professions. As of 2017, the city had signed up 54 sellers for training, to become fishmongers, translators or mediators.
So perhaps some of these street vendors really will become “doctors and scientists”.
Well, fishmongers and translators, at least.
Barcelona’s mayor has also helped setup co-operatives, e.g. Diomcoop. Setup with Senagalese manteros/street sellers to showcase traditional african art and recycled goods:
2. Barcelona is in Northern Spain.
Why on earth would people be “arriving” in Barcelona?
They aren’t and weren’t.
Barcelona in Northern Spain, nearer to France than Africa.
That did not stop the UKIP crazies getting fired up into a fury
You might be inclined to say “So what?”
The video was viewed 500,000 times.
Objectively, that is a scary prospect for truth and even society. That we as a country and even as a species are letting this kind of fakery and anger spread across the world in such a way that 500,000 people can watch a UKIP lie, before the truth has even got it’s shoes on.
The comments give an insight into how people are being radicalised into conspiracy theory, anti semitism, fascism and detachment from reality, by this kind of social media fakery.
The comments that this fake video provoked look like a descent into extremism:
A Soros army
The “great replacement” and “New world order” conspiracy theory
Marlene celebrates our young men in World War 1
Janet’s spotted the “canvas bags” and has worked it out
A bit of of old school racism
It’s not a joke
From a certain point of view, to some people, it might be funny to see people get angry and be provoked by this kind of fakery.
Or perhaps there’s a temptation to think “Who cares”.
But ask yourself, if this was broadcast on TV, to an audience of 500,000 people, would the producers and TV channel executives be prosecuted and banned from television?
I think they might be.
So why is it OK for Facebook to host this material and make money by charging advertisers to show their ads next to it?
Facebook might typically sell ad inventory for £15 per thousand impressions. 500,000 impressions on this video could have easily made Facebook £7,500 in advertising.
How is that acceptable?
If we allow fakery and lies to spread unchecked, because Facebook say it’s “too hard” to stop, or because of some bogus “free speech” or “we’re just a platform” argument, then truth will become just another theory lost in the noise.
No one will know what’s real and anger will become political currency.
The world will become a very confusing and dangerous place indeed if we allow this to continue.