During the first leaders debate on ITV on Tuesday evening the Conservative Party press office rebranded their twitter feed to ‘factcheckuk’ and used it to rebut Corbyn’s claims.
They did so using the programme’s hashtag so those following the debate on twitter would see a seemingly independent body critiquing the Labour leader. CCHQ even posted a video featuring the factchecuk branding announcing Johnson as the winner.
It’s a classic bit of trolling of the “liberal establishment”.
For the Conservative Party at this election, this move upsets all the right the people and will confirm to their core vote that the ‘other side’ are joyless snowflakes who can’t take a joke.
The number of voters taken in by it is likely very small and it was almost certainly done to move the media narrative on from the debate (rather than to directly influence undecided voters).
But that doesn’t make it ok.
Deliberately misleading voters – however small in number – to gain an edge is unacceptable.
It is a huge shame that the governing party of the UK see it as acceptable to erode democratic norms in order to keep their base amused and make minuscule gains.
It’s as juvenile as it is dangerous.
If only everyone could have agreed to ignore this foolishness they might not have bothered to do it again.
However, news coverage in the subsequent 24 hours was dominated by the story and it gave legions of Conservative MPs the excuse to speak to the media about how Labour is lying when they say the NHS isn’t safe in the hands of the Tories.