The Tories have been publishing fake newspapers to try and fool voters

Lincoln Chronicle is a fake newspaper as Byline found
Support us and go ad-free

Byline Times has revealed that the Conservative Party has continued to publish fake newspapers in a bid to trick voters – after the independent media outlet previously called them out over the tactic. Moreover, this news about fake news comes at a time when Tory MPs have also been ‘green washing’ their leaflets – quite literally.

Politicians’ dodgy ads littering our democracy

Chief reporter at Byline Josiah Mortimer has been following the story. You can read his latest report here.

Back in May, Byline wrote about a report by campaign group Reform Political Advertising. It criticised the Tories, Labour, and the Lib Dems over they way they all used campaign materials. One example was the Lib Dem’s dodgy bar charts – the below, for example, failed to mention the Green Party had 14 councillors:

Lib Dem leaflet

As the report stated, the Lib Dems did this to:

turn the vote into a two-horse race; any means by which Green votes can be reduced, including misleading by omission, similarly reduces the chance of a Labour/ Green alliance and controlling position.

Labour didn’t fair much better, with the report slamming the party’s “attack” ads on Rishi Sunak and Johnny Mercer. However, it was the Tories that came off worse. One example was, as Byline reported:

Read on...

Support us and go ad-free

sending a ‘newspaper’ style A4 political leaflet to voters’ homes in Herefordshire, resembling the local Herefordshire Times publication. The Chair of the North Herefordshire Conservative Association defended the literature, saying that it “clearly identifies” it as being from the Conservatives. While there is a legal requirement for parties to include the name and address of origin, the Reform Political Advertising report notes that in this case it was done in “type so small as to be essentially invisible”.

Moreover, the article also noted that the Tories in North Tyneside had set up a Facebook page posing as a news outlet. It seems that the Tories are unconcerned with coming across as literal fake news – as Byline found they’d been up to these tricks again.

In the three by-elections held recently, the Tories repeated their fake news tactics:

  • In Selby and Ainsty they distributed election propaganda posing as the “North Yorkshire Chronicle”.
  • Over in Somerset, it was the “Somerton and Frome Chronicle”.
  • In Uxbridge, the Tories published the “Uxbridge and South Ruislip People”.

A fake Tory newspaper

But if you’re a Tory, why stop there?

Byline: the ‘Lincoln Chronicle’ is not all that it seems

On Wednesday 16 August, Mortimer reported via Byline that:

Lincoln Conservative MP Karl McCartney has issued a leaflet to residents branded as the ‘Lincoln Chronicle’ – the same name as a weekly newspaper in the seat that was closed 15 years ago, and which many residents remember.

Tories fake newspaper in Lincolnshire

Of course, none of this is new – as Mortimer and Byline noted that the Tories, Labour, and the Lib Dems also used fake newspapers during the 2019 general election.

However, this also comes at a time when Tory MPs are dressing up their constituency leaflets in green:

As the Canary previously wrote:

Now, we don’t know about you, but when it comes to political branding, the party we associate with the colour green is the Green Party. Initially, we weren’t sure why that was, but when we had a good, hard think about it, we realised that it’s literally in the fucking name.

Broken democracy, thanks to politicians

So, it seems there’s no level of manipulation to which the three main parties won’t stoop to try and dupe people into voting for them. The Tories are, of course, the worst offenders. However, it seems the public aren’t daft – which poses a huge problem in itself. This century, voter turnout at general elections has been the lowest since 1918.

This shows just how the political class has disenfranchised many of us – little wonder when all three parties are quite happy to manipulate the public without shame.

Featured image and additional images via Byline Times, with an additional image via Reform Political Advertising

Support us and go ad-free

We know everyone is suffering under the Tories - but the Canary is a vital weapon in our fight back, and we need your support

The Canary Workers’ Co-op knows life is hard. The Tories are waging a class war against us we’re all having to fight. But like trade unions and community organising, truly independent working-class media is a vital weapon in our armoury.

The Canary doesn’t have the budget of the corporate media. In fact, our income is over 1,000 times less than the Guardian’s. What we do have is a radical agenda that disrupts power and amplifies marginalised communities. But we can only do this with our readers’ support.

So please, help us continue to spread messages of resistance and hope. Even the smallest donation would mean the world to us.

Support us