The General Election

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cpunk

LE
Moderator
#1
With a General Election campaign imminent, 'official' Britain is about to enter a period of political 'Purdah' where nothing is to be said or done which appears to favour one party over another. This extends as far as the press, where special rules about equal coverage come into force, amongst other things.

Of course, Arrse is triumphantly unofficial and, despite the occasional claim to the contrary, does not reflect the views of the army, the Ministry of Defence or any particular political party, and as a relatively new medium, it also isn't clear whether the rules which apply to the press apply to internet discussion forums.

So what? The plan is to adopt a position of masterly inactivity for the time being, but please bear the following in mind:

1. With 'official' sources becoming relatively uncommunicative, we can expect to see more journos mining Arrse for stories and comment. As always, think before you post.

2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.

3. We will keep this policy under review and please bear in mind that I remain, as always, open to bribes of five figures and above.

Otherwise, it's business as usual.
 
#2
What follows is a slightly abridged version of my £0.02 on the discussion going on in the moderator's bit of the site:

woopert said:
I wouldn't get too het up about Purdah.

It exists first and foremost to prevent the Government from using the civil service in a political manner. It primarily means:

A prohibition on any new policy announcements, however announcements on the progress of an already publicly announced policy is allowed;

A prohibition on allocating any new funding rounds that have not already been announced;

The dissemination of research findings or statistics that could be open to political interpretation

and finally, Decisions being taken that would bind an incoming government to a policy they oppose

What it doesn't mean is a blanket news blackout. Even when Parliament is dissolved and MP's cease to be MP's the Government is still able to govern and ministers are still able to take decisions "in Councill" as members of the Privvy Council. They cease to be Privvy Councillors when a new Govt takes office.

Once an election is called there is a period in Parliament called "wash up" where essential legislation is agreed between the political parties and goes through unopposed. If it can't be agreed it simply doesn't get through and has to wait until after an election. This gives a sort of temporary mandate to ministers.

Operational matters can be openly reported. The ongoing conflict in AFG isn't a new policy, any ops are military matters and not "political" (in the purdah sense") and so are not, strictly speaking, subject to any form of prohibition. If the MoD are going to the extreme of considering purdah to mandate a newsblackout I have ton wonder if this isn't, in itself, slightly political. Many civil servants are either left-wing or go native. The former are openly hostile to a potential conservative Govt while the latter see it as their job to defend the incumbants (usually because they've spent a long time working on policies they don't want to see abandoned and it stems from self-interest) rather than to serve the govt of the day. Put simply, no news means no criticism for political decisions to send soldiers into conflicts without the right support, numbers, or kit. Meanwhile in the run up to April 8/9 (the last days before a May 6th election can be called) Bastion and Kandahar can stand by for an influx of ministers wanting to show "their" support for "our" boys.

ARRSE shouldn't be affected too drastically. It isn't an official organ of the MoD, and isn't subject to anything other than the same restrictions that the free press have. The fact that some of its members are serving members of HMF is irrelevant insofar as the userbase is anonymous (largely) and soldiers have no less right to free speech as anyone else. They are however subject to restrictions on discussing matters on behalf of HMF/Govt/MoD/Political parties and so purdah may come into play for servicemen acting as official spokesmen, but as far as I am aware there are no official announcements made via this site. If the press want to plunder the site for quotes they are free to do so, as nothing is attributable to the MoD and all opinions voiced are entirely that. Given the anonymity of the site the sourcing policies of most reputable news outlets is to cite the source of the source i.e. "soldiers on ARRSE say......"
 

the_boy_syrup

LE
Book Reviewer
#3
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
 
#4
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
Amusement value
 

cpunk

LE
Moderator
#5
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
Sven is, I believe, a one-man propaganda machine without official party backing; Ashie I'm not too sure about, but both are known quantities, as is, for example, Stacker1 as Adolf Hitler's representative on Arrse. All these we can deal with.
 
#6
cpunk said:
, and as a relatively new medium, it also isn't clear whether the rules which apply to the press apply to internet discussion forums.
.
Going to be a bit hard to enforce even if they do apply as I don't think an ISP farm in Ulan Bator is going to give much of a feck what the rules are.


Of course if you are running this from your bedroom in Surrey then you might have a different viewpoint.
 
#7
Not sure any of the 'official' restrictions will affect Arrse: mainstream meejah yes, blogs and independent websites, no.



Vote Conservative.
 
#8
Sympathetic_Reaction said:
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
Abmusement value
Sorted. :D
 
#9
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
I believe the rules around Purdah are designed with a sense of fair play in mind. Because of that it's widely recognised that the Lib Dems need all the help they can get.
 
#11
woopert said:
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
I believe the rules around Purdah are designed with a sense of fair play in mind. Because of that it's widely recognised that theLib Dems need all the help they can get.
Don't let PTP hear you saying that :p Just kidding. OK now I remembered sven, sorry TK. ;)

I never knew about the whole Purdah thing, it makes sense of course but I didn't know it was official, you live and learn.
 
#12
MrPVRd said:
Does this mean a deluge of political advertising (and revenue) on ARRSE??
I think there should be a prize for the most ridiculous story sourced from ARRSE and printed in a national newspaper. I got a PM with hushmail contact details in response to my post about pi$$ed matelots and nuclear weapons.

Can anybody do better?
 
#13
WARNING: THIS POST CONTAINS HEAVY SARCASM.

The Government seem to have gone into this purdah thing with some gusto and are now choosing to use the BBC News to get the party message across. Apparently we're doing really well and the Government have got this whole economy thing nailed. Phew, I was a bit worried for a minute or two.
 
#15
Sympathetic_Reaction said:
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
Amusement value
They are "Sock Maggots" perhaps?
 
#16
#17
cpunk said:
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
Sven is, I believe, a one-man propaganda machine without official party backing; Ashie I'm not too sure about, but both are known quantities, as is, for example, Stacker1 as Adolf Hitler's representative on Arrse. All these we can deal with.
Is PTP still a limp dick activist ?
 
#19
Drlligaf said:
Sympathetic_Reaction said:
the_boy_syrup said:
cpunk said:
2. All of the major parties employ 'sock-puppets' to trawl internet forums posting rumours and rebuttals. Our advice to these maggots? Fuck off and leave us alone, we aren't interested. Any that are identified will be banned.
.
How have Ashie and Sven lasted so long :p
Abmusement value
Sorted. :D
Sparkling wit and repartee, surely!
 
#20
The Ministry of Defence have just published this on their website:
General Election 2010: Restrictions on Armed Forces and MOD websites
A Defence Policy and Business news article

6 Apr 10

A United Kingdom General Election is being held on 6 May 2010. Like all Government Department websites, the Ministry of Defence's websites will be subject to some restrictions during the pre-election period.
Ministry of Defence

Cabinet Office guidelines require MOD not to publish any new content on our websites which could draw public attention away from the election campaign, call the political impartiality of the Armed Forces or MOD into question, or give rise to the criticism that public resources are being used for party political purposes.

In order to meet these guidelines, the publishing of new material on our websites will be kept to a minimum during the election campaign, and limited to routine business-related updates.

We will continue to publish information about operational events in Afghanistan.

Previously published material will stand.

The same guidelines apply to all official Armed Forces and MOD websites and to our social media presences.

For the detailed guidelines, please see the Cabinet Office website at Related Links.
MOD source
 
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