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Tool-up to Fight Back

By Tim Hardy

Many social media platforms encourage brevity. Critics will sneer that it’s difficult to break the link between the means and the ends in Conservative rhetoric in 140 characters. However it is easy to share links to blogposts and newspaper articles that take the time to do so.

Keeping track of the stories shared by the people you follow can be a full-time job so if you already have a full-time job, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed.

I’ve recently discovered a great tool (thanks to @morelikewater) that can do this for you and email you a link to a daily collection of links formatted like a conventional newspaper: paper.li

Screengrab of online newspaper auto-generated from shared links

Keeping track of stories doesn't have to feel like you're trying to drink from a firehose

Thanks to this tool, I’ve caught two recently shared articles that I missed in the noise both of which deserve close reading.

In one, Hopi Sen makes an astute observation about David Cameron’s debating style. He points out that:

  • The Prime Minister’s instinct is always to will progressive ends with conservative means
  • The conservative means are always firmly in place in the government’s agenda
  • The progressive ends are more honoured in the rhetoric than in the policy
  • Therefore to oppose them effectively, it’s essential to break the link between the means and the ends and expose dishonest claims about progressive ends

A couple of days back I linked in passing to Untellable Truths that makes similar points, warning of ways in which US democrats surrender public political discourse to conservatives. We can learn from both articles.

The other story was from Tim Montgomerie at Conservative Home warning the party he supports:

So far, the government is only associated with one thing – cuts. Only one policy – welfare reform – is really popular according to internal polling. Public opinion wasn’t softened up for tuition fees. Observing the bubbling NHS row it doesn’t seem that lessons have been learnt. 10 Downing Street needs a communications unit that has three or four big goals and works each and every day to achieve those goals – using beautiful images in the broadcast media, working with newspaper commentators, running internet-based campaigns and building relationships with the fifty most important third party actors in the subject area.

This is what we are up against and technology provides us with the tools that can give us the same power as paid political communications units to undermine their attempts to “soften up” public opinion before they take the axe to the NHS.

Let’s keep the cuts and the ugliness of their agenda on the front page.

Forget the lazy arguments of those who dismiss  “slacktivists”: tool-up, and start fighting back.

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