Labour responded by dropping Clause IV following steamy meetings with the unions where the repeated question used as a lever against Clause IV, was, "Do you want another decade of Conservative rule?"
The so-called social media, have become the main communications means of promotional networks to co-ordinate dog whistle politics. This was applied effectively by Barak Obama in his election, by Donald Trump and the BREXIT campaign. The case of Cambridge Analytica exposed some of the techniques deployed and which continue to this day. Political parties, worldwide, have not been particularly effective in controlling this abuse largely because those advising them on election strategies advocate the use of these techniques because most parties are beginning to make use of them.
Whereas so-called social profiling appears to be frowned upon, it is the basis of dog whistle politics. It is used effectively with minority and ethnic groups to send messages of intent on issues known to be of interest or benefit to each specific minority group. But, in reality, if one dissects people's interests, it is possible to generate literally thousands of minority interest groupings that cut across more obvious groupings. Thus there will be people from different ethnic backgrounds who, for example, are interested in philosophy or computer programming or work in a specific type of job. Other forms of profiling are based on W3 intelligence collection which by monitoring chats, emails, book purchases and what people look at on the web, to pick up possible political leanings and social interests. Nothing particularly clever here, but these facts are used to design dark posts whose content is intended for specific members of a given profile while the same political party will send out another dark post to another profile group stating something more in line with that groups "weak points" or "propensities" and these can sometimes convey the opposite of the dark posts to the other groups. Dark posts are usually temporary and unrecoverable or traceable. The name of the game here is not honesty it is to exercise a frankly misleading campaign to gather votes from unsuspecting constituents.
This approach is supported by ambiguous statements to the general media which leave room for those in different minority profile groups to interpret the general statement to be consistent with the dark posts received, so nothing is suspected. However, it is fairly obvious that the election strategists using these techniques need to prevent the party they are serving from exposing their dirty tricks. Therefore special advisers and election strategists begin to control the press and media appearances of party leaders to prevent exposure. This is why party leaders have begun to shy away from media interviews while the social media techniques do their job.
It will have been noted that Boris Johnson is one who has become a deft operator on this score and this is why he becomes so flustered and at a loss when asked simple but specific questions and the only escape is to resort to lying, absurd retorts and displacement statements which essentially divert attention from the question. This is to prevent the pack of cards supporting the shaky justifications and lamentable policy outcomes of the government from collapsing completely. With the Covid-19 fiasco "party managers" have become concerned with Johnson's "performance".
It has been stated that Labour, in the last election, did not manage their "social media campaigns" well. If this refers to the completely dishonest and misleading campaigns designed and used by others, then this is true.
On the other hand, Jeremy Corbyn and John McDonnell were entirely consistent in their positions related to the economy and social issues and this was possible because they were not misleading the public with dark posts. McDonnell in particular had organized a sound review of the economy and needed policies but the media bias against Labour prevented constituents from gaining a broader understanding of the proposals.
On the other hand, the use of dark posts in relation to BREXIT undermined the Labour position on BREXIT completely. Here, the dishonesty related, for example, to the strongly implied message that the disastrous outcomes of he government's policy of quantitative easing on real incomes and productivity, were the result of the UK being a member of the EU. The other implied message concerning immigration and asylum seekers again blamed the EU while avoiding acceptance of the reality that the NHS relies heavily on immigrants and the asylum seeking boom is a direct result of the UK's role in supporting illegal wars in the Middle East and chaos in Libya, opening a flood of asylum seekers from North Africa, as a direct result of the Conservative government's decision.
In the meantime printed news media as editorial publications risk a lot if they dabble in such dishonesty; the hacking stories and Leveson enquiry revealed a lot. They can't keep up with social media who are picking up an increasing share of corporate advertising so they have entered a phase of extreme decadence and chasing sensationalism and throwing mud at politicians on the back of directed financial support and paid "advertising". On the other hand the levels of abuse associated with the transition to online media and the presence of UK and other intelligence agencies having transformed the Leveson Love Triangle into a Square, is likely now to be much worse. It is notable that the Conservative government still drags its feet on implementing Leveson 2. It recently paid over £35 million on the Murdoch Group and the smaller independent groups have not been provided any support.
The tragedy associated with social media based campaigning is that political parties are building policies following a Walmart philosophy of buying constituents on the cheap and selling cheap in the sense that they end up with no coherent policies, just a sort of lucky dip for all which, of course, cannot be delivered. Where parties do this the role of constituents becomes ephemeral to decision making because constituents have been sliced and diced into different profiles which are rolled up into election results. As a result, the individual voter counts for nothing. What takes over, in terms of substantive decision making within political parties are the positions promoted by the lobbies from the corporate and financial world and those with leverage over sensitive social questions which the party needs to address. Accordingly large schemes such as HS2 and others like the Northern powerhouse are placed on the ledger in exchange for support, financial or otherwise.
What happens in this system is constituency representation is hollowed out and the media, lobby contributions begin to dominate the agenda from outside the party which haplessly becomes a marionette. The Thatcher, Blair, Brown, Cameron, May and Johnson years are a warning of how compromised political parties and parliaments can lose their obligation to translate constituent interests into national strategies aiming to enhance general wellbeing in economic and social terms. The damaging financial deregulations, rip-off public private partnerships and financing arrangements brought the NHS close to ruination only to be deepened by cutting back NHS funding and staffing. The reductions in police numbers and failure to deliver coordinated social service and mental health resources can be added to this list. This trail of disasters was compounded by the introduction of quantitative easing following the 2008 financial crisis, itself related to deregulation in the Thatcher period, leading to a deepening crisis with falling investment and lower productivity and falling real incomes.
Covid-19 has diverted the government's attention from these fundamental persistent problems, which still need to be addressed. However, Covid-19 has also sensitized the majority of the constituency as to the precarious nature of people's existence in social and economic terms resulting from about 50 years of incompetent governance. Now is a time where the solution requires national strategies and sound national policies to help mould a more stable community, a more general level of satisfaction and happiness on the part of constituents. For this, political leadership needs to set out a particular purpose for government that sees actions to deliver on promises made. As long as the Conservatives continue on their identikit tactics and continue this current shambolic failure to deliver, they will end up, even surviving over the expected life of this parliament, not delivering much benefit to the country. If Labour relapses by trasitioning back towards the à la Blair identity politics this will undermine its ability to resist external extra-constitutional pressures from those who oppose the party and it will weaken their position vis-a-vis external interference in the internal decision making.