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Jun 17 44 tweets 17 min read

Master of 'wedge issues', Lynton Crosby, has been attending Boris Johnson’s meetings in No 10.

The political strategist, whose advisory firm has represented tobacco as well as oil & gas interests, is at the heart of Johnson's political strategy.…
Like many senior Tories, Crosby is a master of 'Divide & Rule', & an expert in the 'Dark Arts' of voter manipulation, infamous for his 'dead cat' strategy & the promotion of toxic & deliberately divisive 'wedge issues' - evidence of which is everywhere in Britain at the moment.
A 'wedge issue' - a key component of the classic 'divide & rule' political strategy - is described as a political or social issue, often of a controversial or divisive nature, which splits apart a demographic or population group.

Imho, the #RwandaPlan & culture war rhetoric is part of an intentional 'divide & rule' strategy, used by every authoritarian & totalitarian regime in history to protect them from a united electorate who want a fair society with honest leaders who prioritise everyone's interests.
Wedge issues can be advertised or publicly aired especially in "news" media in an attempt to strengthen the unity of a certain population, with the goal of enticing polarized individuals to give support to an opponent or to withdraw their support entirely out of disillusionment.
The use of wedge issues - also known as hot button issues - gives rise to 'wedge politics'.

A wedge issue may often be a point of internal dissent within an opposing party, which that party attempts to suppress or ignore discussing because it divides "the base".
Typically, wedge issues have a cultural or populist theme, relating to eg crime, national security, migration, gender/sexuality, abortion or race.

A party may introduce a wedge issue to an opposing population, while aligning itself with the dissenting faction of the opposition.
A wedge issue often results in vitriolic debate within the opposing party, giving the public a perception of disarray, & the defection of supporters of the opposing party's minority faction to the other party (or independent parties) if they lose the debate.
Wedge issues can result in the legitimising of sentiment which, while perhaps popularly held, is usually considered inappropriate; criticisms from the opposition then make it appear beholden to special interests or fringe ideology.
In an extreme case, a wedge issue might contribute to the actual fracture of the opposing party as another party spins off, taking voters with it. Were Brexit, the rise & fall of Farage, & the Tories' 'Red Wall' success attributable to an emphasis of the wedge issue of migration?
To prevent these consequences from occurring, the opposing party may attempt to take a "pragmatic" stand & officially endorse the views of its minority faction, risking defection of supporters of the opposing party's majority faction to a third party, should they lose the debate.

Annual number of asylum applications to the UK peaked in 2002 at 84,132.

2010 saw a twenty-year low of 17,916.

It rose again under the Tories, & sharply in 2021, to 48,540 (the highest number since 2003).

In the year to March 2022, there were 55,146 asylum applications.
A case study of the use of wedge issues in practice, which, given the vitriolic debate around the Govt's neofascist #RwandaPlan, has resonance with the current wedge issue of the largely imaginary 'migrant crisis', comes from the 2001 federal election campaign in Australia.
In early 2001, when Crosby served as campaign director for the (right-wing) Liberal party, a great deal of public attention was focused on 'boat people' (asylum seekers arriving on unauthorised vessels), there having been several widely publicised landings of hundreds of people.
On August 24th, 2001, a ship illegally bearing 460 such people became distressed, & its passengers were picked up by the Norwegian cargo vessel MV Tampa. The governing (right-wing) Liberal Party of Australia took the opportunity to appear tough on asylum seekers.

Sound familiar?
The opposition (left-wing) Australian Labor Party had a slight majority of people strongly favouring more sympathetic treatment, & was hence perceived as internally split. This provoked a fierce debate within the Labor Party on the relative merits of siding with national opinion.
With over 90% of some right-wing TV polls supporting the Liberal Govt's stance, the Labor leader chose to silence the majority & agree to the tougher policy, while opposing certain elements of proposed legislation, which the Liberal Party blasted as "weak on border security".
The damage was done, with the party appearing inconsistent & divided. The Liberal Party campaigned largely on a platform of border security & increased its support at the federal election that November despite being the incumbent.

This is why Tories are pushing the #RwandaPlan.
Some who would typically vote Labor voted instead for the Greens & the Democrats in protest against what they saw as Labor's complicity. Campaign strategists Lynton Crosby & Mark Textor had an active role in making the Tampa incident a wedge issue for incumbent Howard to exploit.
A wedge strategy is also described as "below the radar" or 'dog-whistle' campaigning. Throughout his career, Lynton Crosby has combined this with the targeting of marginal constituencies & highly localised campaigning, latching on to local issues & personalities.
In 2002, Crosby established an influential election consulting firm, the Crosby Textor Group (now C|T Group), with an associate, Mark Textor.

Crosby is said to run a tight ship, focus on simple messages & slogans, target marginal constituencies & use lots of opinion polls.
Crosby managed the Tory Party's unsuccessful #GE2005 campaign, but was unable to help leader Michael Howard defeat incumbent Tony Blair.

During the campaign the Tories used attention grabbing slogans such as "It's Not Racist to Impose Limits on Immigration".
Crosby was also appointed to run Boris Johnson's successful 2008 London mayoral election campaign - at a cost to the party of £140,000 for four months of work - when he is said to have urged Johnson "not to get hung up on seeking support from 'fucking Muslims'."
In 2013, following the Govt's rejection of a plan to remove branding from cigarette packets, David Cameron was urged by Liberal Democrat members of the governing coalition to sack Crosby as his chief election strategist because of Crosby's connection to the tobacco industry.
'Coincidentally' (NOT) Priti Patel worked at PR firm Weber Shandwick from 2000 to 2003. In her role as Policy, Media & Campaigns Adviser, she worked, among others, & the focus of this #THREAD, British American Tobacco.

In July 2013 it was reported in The Guardian and elsewhere that Crosby Textor, the company which he co-founded (which is known as CTF Partners in the UK) had advised private healthcare providers on how to exploit perceived "failings" in the #NHS in 2010.
In 2014 it was revealed that having been hired in 2012 by Philip Morris International, Crosby lobbied Lord Marland, then parliamentary undersecretary for intellectual property and a former Conservative party treasurer, to oppose the introduction of plain packaging on cigarettes.
During the 2015 Sri Lankan parliamentary election, Crosby was an advisor to incumbent PM Ranil Wickremesinghe, whose United National Front captured a plurality of seats & formed a governing coalition along with President Maithripala Sirisena's Sri Lanka Freedom Party.
The campaign featured widespread adverts that contrasted "good governance" offered by the incumbent PM with the "jungle law" of former President Mahinda Rajapaksa, whose ten-year rule was marked by corruption & strident nationalism after the 2009 defeat of the Tamil Tigers.
In September, Canadian press linked Crosby to the Canadian Conservative Party, with reports suggesting he was working as a strategist during the election.

Both Crosby and his partner rejected claims Crosby or anyone at CT Group was involved in the Canadian election.
In December 2015, it was announced that Crosby was to be included in the Queen's New Year Honours list and would receive his knighthood for his political services. Opposition leader Jeremy Corbyn even threatening to overhaul the British honours system if he was ever elected.
In April 2017 PM Theresa May announced that Crosby would play a leading role in the Conservatives' campaign for the #GE2017 May failed to secure an outright Conservative majority & author Hannah Jane described Crosby as running a "disastrous, horrendously negative campaign".
In 2018, Crosby allegedly contacted Boris Johnson in an attempt to force a leadership battle against May in order to "destroy" her flagship #Brexit policy, which he viewed as a betrayal. His opposition may have been "revenge" for Theresa May blaming her losses at #GE2017 on him.
In 2019, The Guardian announced it had seen documents revealing that multiple outwardly independent 'astroturf' (fake grass roots) groups behind adverts on Facebook promoting a hard Brexit were administrated by employees of Lynton Crosby's lobbying firm, CTF Partners.
Crosby is strongly associated with the now pretty well known 'dead cat' strategy, also known as 'deadcatting' - the political strategy of deliberately making a shocking announcement to divert media attention away from problems or failures in other areas.
While he was mayor of London, in 2013 Boris Johnson wrote a column for The Telegraph in which he described the "dead cat" as a piece of Australian political strategy about what to do in a situation in which the argument is being lost & "the facts are overwhelmingly against you".
As I've already said, Boris Johnson employed the Australian Lynton Crosby as his campaign manager during the 2008 & 2012 London mayoral elections, leading to press speculation that he was the "Australian friend" in the 2013 article for The Daily Telegraph.
The Tories spent more than £16 MILLION on #GE2019, including £6m on unsolicited material, £1.6m on Lynton Crosby's polling firm C|T Group, & £0.5m on Twitter graphics & videos, including rebranding the Tories' main Twitter account as #FactCheckUK during the leaders’ debate.
Last year, @BylineTimes revealed how Crosby's polling firm C|T Group had been helping GB "News" by getting questionable stories, from questionable polls, implanted in Britain's right-wing press, including the non-dom billionaire-owned ex-Boris Johnson employer, the Telegraph.
At the time, GB "News" was deeply concerned about the advertising boycott organised by #StopFundingHate, so they commissioned a poll about the boycott – from their own strategy advisors – & then planted the findings in friendly newspapers.…
The poll data revealed GB "News" stacking the cards in its own favour, with a mysteriously weighted pool of respondents subjected to manipulative questions - & even then many of the findings not mentioned in the press were very bad news for the failing television channel.
It was in August 2021 that the right-wing Telegraph & the Express told their readers about an opinion poll which, they falsely claimed, showed that the boycott actually made people more likely to tune in to the channel & also that the @BBC was seen as more biased than GB News.
It was buried far down the Telegraph & Express articles that the poll was commissioned by GB "News" itself & the poll wasn't from YouGov or IPSOS-Mori or some other familiar polling brand, but from Lynton Crosby's C|T Group.

Hope this #Thread has shed light on HOW IT WORKS. 🙏
If you want crystal clear & compelling evidence of how provocative, misleading, deliberately divisive & entirely fabricated culture war stories saturate our news media, here's a near perfect example featuring Diane Abbott:

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The opposite of Britain then.🇬🇧

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