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Democracy for Sale: Dark Money and Dirty Politics

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The integrity and trustworthiness of elections is a fundamental requirement for a functioning democracy. The existential threat to liberal democracy comes from the fact that those who have successfully exploited some inadequacies of the current regulatory system – who include Boris Johnson and his current wingman, Cummings – have absolutely no incentive to fix the system from which they have benefited. Praise for Democracy for Sale: ‘Thorough, gripping and vitally important’ Oliver Bullough‘A brilliant description of the dark underbelly of modern democracy. Politicians lie gleefully, making wild claims that can be shared instantly with millions of people on social media. We use Google Analytics to see what pages are most visited, and where in the world visitors are visiting from.

Antiquated electoral laws are broken with impunity, secretive lobbying is bending our politics out of shape and Silicon Valley tech giants collude in selling out democracy. And if that’s true, the key question for us at this moment in history is: how might our current system fail? One of the most striking points the political philosopher David Runciman made in his seminal book How Democracy Ends was that democracies don’t fail backwards: they fail forward. Politicians lie gleefully, making wild claims that can be shared instantly with millions on social media. Peter Geoghegan shows how antiquated electoral laws are broken with impunity, how secretive lobbying bends our politics out of shape, and how Silicon Valley tech giants have colluded in selling out democracy.These threats to democracy have, for decades, been visible to anyone disposed to look for them’: Boris Johnson in 2019. And it has been able to do this in what has turned out to be a regulatory vacuum – with laws, penalties and overseeing authorities that are no longer fit for purpose.

The middle section of the book explores how dark money has amplified the growing influence of the American right on British politics. Geoghegan investigates politicians, fabulously well-funded partisan think tanks, propagandists who know how to game a rigged system, and the campaigners and regulators valiantly trying to stop them. These cookies help provide information on metrics the number of visitors, bounce rate, traffic source, etc. The _ga cookie, installed by Google Analytics, calculates visitor, session and campaign data and also keeps track of site usage for the site's analytics report. He investigates politicians, fabulously well-funded partisan think tanks, propagandists who know how to game a rigged system, and the campaigners and regulators valiantly trying to stop them.Payments made using National Book Tokens are processed by National Book Tokens Ltd, and you can read their Terms and Conditions here. He starts with the Brexit referendum and the various kinds of unsavoury practices that took place during that doomed plebiscite – from the various illegalities of Vote Leave, through Arron Banks’s lavish expenditure to the astonishing tale of the dark money funnelled through the Ulster DUP and a loophole in Northern Ireland’s electoral law. One of the most depressing parts of this narrative is the bland indifference of most mainstream UK media to these scandalous events. And again it leaves one wondering why there was so little media exploration of the origins and financing of that particular little cabal. The final part of the book deals with the transformation of our information ecosystem: the ways in which the automated targeted-advertising machines of social media platforms have been weaponised by rightwing actors to deliver precisely calibrated messages to voters, in ways that are completely opaque to the general public, as well as to regulators.

It is accepted by you that Daunt Books has no control over additional charges in relation to customs clearance. If you're concerned about the health of British democracy, read this book - it is thorough, gripping and vitally important' Oliver Bullough, author of Moneyland. Facebook sets this cookie to show relevant advertisements to users by tracking user behaviour across the web, on sites that have Facebook pixel or Facebook social plugin.

It’s a great case study in how ruling elites can be infected with policy ideas and programmes via those “second-hand traders in ideas” of whom Hayek spoke so eloquently: academics, thinktanks and media commentators. The combination of unaccountable, unreported dark money and its use to create targeted (and contradictory) political messages for individuals and groups means that we have no way of knowing how free and fair our elections have become. He shows how antiquated electoral laws are broken with impunity, how secretive lobbying bends our politics out of shape, and how Silicon Valley tech giants have colluded in selling out democracy. Democracy for Sale is the story of how money, vested interests and digital skulduggery are eroding trust in democracy - and a powerful account of what must be done about it. Photograph: Frank Augstein/Pool/Reuters View image in fullscreen ‘These threats to democracy have, for decades, been visible to anyone disposed to look for them’: Boris Johnson in 2019.

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