Just like fake posts before polling day to discredit true story of little boy with suspected pneumonia on hospital floor, Tories cloning thousands of messages to break ice on NHS charges
During the general election campaign Boris Johnson described claims the Tories are planning to downgrade the NHS principle of universal healthcare free at the point of need as ‘cloud cuckoo land’ and complete fiction.
Less than twenty-four hours after polls closed, the Tories had already mounted a fresh disinformation campaign of cloned social media posts to soften up the public for exactly that.
During the last days of the campaign Boris Johnson was caught on the hook in the shape of four-year-old Jack Williment – the little boy with suspected pneumonia photographed lying on the floor of a hospital because the hospital had to remove the beds from the room in which he had to wait for treatment.
The Yorkshire Post had fully verified the story – and the hospital had already admitted it happened and formally apologised to Jack’s family.
Undeterred, the Tories mounted two shameless fake news campaigns involving thousands of fake Twitter and Facebook accounts all spouting word for word, the same lie: that a friend who works as a nurse at the hospital (which the cloned posts mis-named) had said the photo of Jack was a politically-driven set-up.
The posts was shared tens of thousands of times, both by more fake accounts and by people either eager to discredit the story or who were taken in by the fake news.
But the story was entirely true.
And with the election won on a campaign of lies, the Tories did not even pause for breath before launching a similar, coordinated campaign to start preparing the public for the idea of NHS service charges and rationing.
The message is word for word the same in all cases, apart from the occasional tweak at the beginning – having learned no doubt from the exposure of the Jack Milliment lie campaign:
None of the accounts checked by the SKWAWKBOX showed any signs that the holders – if they exist at all – work in the NHS.
All the posts even repeat the same error in their first line – “status’s” instead of statuses.
All suggest buying medicines and self-diagnosing rather than using the NHS. All suggest sick people are ‘lucky’ if they get a GP appointment.
All blame sick people for being ill or obese, even though around 20% of lung cancer occurs in non-smokers and many poor people can’t afford to eat better food or to join a gym.
Most recklessly, they suggest not calling an ambulance unless a situation is ‘genuinely life threatening’, even though NHS guidance suggests calling an ambulance immediately for, as an example, chest pains – not waiting to see whether it is a heart attack or trying to work it out for yourself.
The post is written in a way that perfectly matches existing Tory narratives used to excuse or introduce treatment rationing – and to blame ‘demand’ for the collapse of the NHS introduced by the record slow-down in funding that the Tories have imposed since 2010.
The Tories didn’t even have the decency to wait until after the weekend to embark on the measures they’ve been planning all along – and they are using the same fake-news tactics they used in the election campaign to soften up the population for the stripping of the rights we and our parents and grandparents paid to build.
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