This is our truth, tell us yours
David Cameron has left Downing Street.
One of the harsher things thatcan be said about him is that he tolerated Grant Shapps.
If you don;t know who Grant Shapps is, don’t worry. Sometimes he didn’t either, and passed himself off as network marketting expert Michael Green.
In what’s being described by more excitable journalists as a post-truth political environment Shapps was the very embodiment of the absence of truth. His business, if it can be described as such, consisted of packaging up a few content and link generation ideas as a marketting system.
I bet Jem that I could get David Cameron and fetish websites into a blog. The link is marketters like Grant Shapps, who treat truth as being irrelevant. Plagiarism was at the heart of Shapps system; there’s a very professional account of his techniques here.
David Cameron often behaved, as PrimeMinister, as if he, too, cared less about the truth than about winning. Plagiarism is the flip side of the ruthless triangulation deployed by Cameron to occupy the ideological spaces that Blair had claimed for Labour. Just as personalized adverts served up by ad farms today will tell you that amillionaire in your town got rich using this marketing secret, so Cameron made politics intensely personal, and intensely fictional.
I first encountered truly corrupt and dishonest marketing in the world of the web, and fetish websites. From about 2002, when I first visited sites like Alt.com, I noticed the way in which they shamelessly used personalized adverts, promising that there were people whoI’d be interested in local to where I lived. Back then the sites often used information supplied in user profiles to drive their advertising offer, but the growing sophistication of location tracking meant that even unsigned visitors could be offered up adverts promising to provide what they were looking for. The adverts were fake, of course; their subjects a fiction.
Those sorts of techniques migrated from the edge of the web to its centre; the idea that content is not truth or facts but a marketing tool managed by algorithms (which was the cornerstone of Grant Shapps technique) is central to the post truth politics that has lurched from David Cameron hugging a husky to Donald Trump without ever passing through honesty.
So farewell David Cameron, a man who could not condemn a friend for being a plagiarist and a liar, and who never knowingly embraced the truth if it did not confer advantage upon him.