by Mark Angelides
Photo credit: wikimedia.org
At the time of writing, a UK petition to refuse President Donald Trump an official state visit with the Queen has hit nearly 2 million signatures. Under British legislation, any petition with this amount of signatures MUST be debated in Parliament. On the surface this seems like a fairly reasonable exercise in the democratic process. But it is not. It’s a fake. And the people behind it are the same people protesting the Trump presidency in the UK and the US.
Every major newspaper (both print and online), has ran articles on this petition. It is being used a propaganda tool to promote the idea that a majority of Brits object to President Trump and his policies. Using information to inform is one thing; using information (especially when that information is concocted) is propaganda. And our governments are complicit.
#1 – The petition has been signed by almost 2 million Brits.
False. If you click on the “get petition data” button, it will give you a breakdown of where each “signature” originated. It’s a lot of information to sift through, but here a few examples:
- British Antarctic Territory = 7
- North Korea = 1
- USA = 10,519
- Canada = 4,327
(Please click the link and check out the true extent of this)
Now of course, these could all be British nationals signing their displeasure from afar. But the statistical likelihood is extremely slim…extremely.
#2 – It’s a popular view that Trump should be barred.
False. Even considering how incredibly easy it is to sign an online petition (literally less than one minute from the comfort of your privileged arm chair); the percentage of UK nationals who have voiced their displeasure is tiny. Less than 2.8%. This is clearly not the popular view.
And in fact, if you check out this map, it will show you that most signatures come from a few key areas. Does that remind you of Clinton’s voting areas?
Photo credit: wikimedia.org
Only 66% of the UK’s registered voters voted the UK’s own general election. To think that they could muster up much concern for a politician on the other side of the world is a stretch.
However, the largest voter turnout in the UK’s history was actually for Brexit. More than 17 million people (out of a population of 65 million), voted to leave the EU. The Trump victory and Brexit came from a similar groundswell. It is not beyond the realms of possibility that there is some common sympathy and support for President Trump on this side of the Atlantic.
#3 – Each signature represents an individual.
Probably false. When signing the petition, you are asked for a name, an email address, and a UK postcode. There are no checks in place to verify if any one piece of information is actually connected to another. It is entirely possible that “activists” are simply using random/disposable email addresses to bump up the numbers. We know for a fact that there are many anti-Trump activists on a payroll. An individual working 8 hours a day and 5 days a week (take out coffee breaks and spontaneous crying jags), could easily submit 2000 per week. One person in each UK constituency and you have the UK total in less than a week.
The only remaining question is why. And unfortunately, this is an easy one to answer:
Because they think they’re better than you. They think you’re ignorant. They think you’re wrong. They think that their opinion is worth more than yours. They think you’re racist, fascist, misogynistic, or homophobic, or xenophobic, or all of these rolled into one. They hate you. And they hate that in the wider world, tour ideas are as valuable as their own.
And more importantly, because they can. No one is stopping them. It’s time to start fighting the information war.