Fringe Box



Opinion: How I Was Motivated By ‘The Donald’

Published on: 5 Jan, 2024
Updated on: 9 Jan, 2024

Donald Trump

By Pete Bennett

Chair of the Residents for Guildford & VillagesParty

Twelve months ago, I was not interested in local government.  Boring people in boring meetings discussing irrelevant things. Skip forward to December just gone, and I found myself the newly elected chair of the local party Residents for Guildford & Villages (R4GV), and married to a councillor.

What changed?  What convinced me to take on this role? And why do I think should you also join a political party?

For me, the deciding factor was Donald Trump.  Despite all the evidence, he has convinced over a third of the American population (and the percentage is currently increasing) that, despite all the evidence, his loss in 2020 was fraudulent.

One US voter who believes the 2020 election was fraudulent

American politics is not driven by policies, competence, facts, truth or integrity.  Instead, it seems to be driven by who is best at lying and manipulating public opinion.  Frankly, that scares me.  And the danger is, as with so many things, wherever America goes, Britain will soon follow.  How long before our political parties stop even pretending that integrity and truth matter?

The Battle for Guildford video

Having now been through a local election, a by-election and the start of the campaign for the impending general election, it is clear that for too many people in politics, getting elected is already more important than integrity. Locally, we have seen the “Battle for Guildford” video that walked a tightrope over the legal definition of slander.

We saw misleading leaflets claiming a congestion charge was planned, a PowerPoint on social media claiming that some parties were against the protection of vulnerable women, graphs that were deliberately misleading, and the list goes on.

Lying may win elections but for me, the cost is too high.  I want politicians of integrity.  Politicians who will tell the truth, whatever the cost.

That’s why I took on the role of chair of R4GV, because it was a party that didn’t want to get involved in “politics”.  They valued getting the job done, supporting our residents and maintaining integrity more than winning the election.  They were prepared to make integrity one of the four pillars of their identity.

That cost them in May, but that was a cause I could believe in.  (They are even fact-checking local issues on the upcoming general election on their web site).

And that is why you should join a political party.  I’m not saying you should join R4GV (although you would be made very welcome) but if you care about the future of democracy, then join the party whose policies you agree with, the one you vote for and insist that they also take on integrity.  Insist that they fight the general election based on truth and honest information, rather than manipulation of the voter.

Together we must save the UK from a local Donald Trump tribute act!

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Responses to Opinion: How I Was Motivated By ‘The Donald’

  1. Jim Allen Reply

    January 5, 2024 at 5:52 pm

    For what my apolitical stance is worth – the American elections were rigged. The refusal to use Voter ID and ‘in person voting’ while demanding ID for political conferences by the very same people, convinced me of that, along with Republications in Jail and Democrats allowing BLM [Black Lives Matter] to destroy the streets. In my view there’s a pattern across the western world, right to jail – left on the path of destruction”.

    But what of the UK? Currently the World Economical Forum seem to have gained control of both our government and elected officials and across the western world. It is said: “we have our students in all countries of the world governments!” and their latest pronouncement was, “We don’t need elections we know what you need!”

    40 percent of the world is up for election this year.

    In the UK, I will not be surprised we find our general election delayed until World events or civil unrest “prevents” voting.

    Perhaps in 2040 my grandson will ask – wasn’t there supposed to be something called an election some years ago? What happened?

    After all, our prime minister, in his PM role, and our foreign minister are both unelected and our borders are door frames without doors. We have no effective government ‘for the people’ by elected representatives carrying out our wishes. I fear we have slept walked into the filming of the block buster Worst Case Scenario!

  2. Jasmine Lloyd-Prentice Reply

    January 6, 2024 at 8:56 am

    So refreshing to read this. Integrity is missing in our politics and I agree that the way America is seems to be where we’re heading. It feels like an insurmountable issue nationally, but I guess the answer is to start somewhere!

  3. Barry Williams Reply

    January 6, 2024 at 10:19 am

    To get into the low down of how a useful idiot such as Trump got elected Mr Bennett might care to read the following books, available at Guildford Library. (My thanks to the Guildford librarians for putting them on prominent display.):

    United States of Distraction – Media Manipulation in Post-Truth America by Nolan Higdon and Mickey Huff

    Mindf*ck by Christopher Wylie

    Wylie was at one time active within Cambridge Analytica and its associated “social research” companies who were involved not only in Trump’s 2016 win but also within the Leave campaigns of the Brexit debate

    The authors demonstrate how Trump – a one time television game show host – was able to convert celebrity to political power and manipulate people’s understanding of key events and debates through the use of hyper-partisan language, framing and posturing. In part due to his own force of personality but with heavy background support of the alt-right.

    A fascinating insight also into the growth of the alt-right media, its financing by billionaires and corporations, hostile state interventions, the manipulation and disinformation techniques that were used via social media tools such as Facebook. Is it believable? You bet.

    Sadly, the majority of the population who are too ready to accept what they see on their computer screen as the truth. We need our own UK and local media to question and challenge but already we can see partisanship at play in the national press and media and the use of “alternative facts”.

    Mr Bennet says save us from a Trump Tribute Act. I regret we have already gone too far in the UK already and are moving along the same path.

    Whatever one’s political persuasion, all that we ask is honesty, clear direction of policy and principle. Disinformation, opinions, propaganda and hard facts are becoming increasingly more difficult to tell apart.

  4. David Roberts Reply

    January 7, 2024 at 5:53 pm

    I’ve already had my say on Pete Bennett’s article (see “All Politicians are Not the Same”, January 6) and find Jim Allen’s comment anything but “apolitical”. In fact, it’s conspiracist tosh – especially the bit about the World Economic Forum, a self-important but powerless talking-shop for the global elite which I knew well when I worked in Switzerland. The alt-right view of it was cooked up by the same American conspiracists who say George Soros, Bill Gates and Hillary Clinton are child-abusing aliens. Interestingly, they echoed much older extreme-left protests against of the WEF, showing that there’s not much difference between right- and left-wing paranoia.

    Anyone who thinks our prime ministers are not elected doesn’t understand that our parliamentary constitution is different from a presidential one. The only qualification for being PM is to be able to command a majority of MPs. I for one don’t want an over-mighty executive head of state who’s directly elected, thanks.

    And it is shameful to restate the right-wing myth that there are no obstacles to immigration. Britain takes far fewer migrants than comparable countries, as you’d expect for an island. Global trends suggest we are going to have to take far more, since borders will always be porous. The question is simply how to manage this.

    Editor’s comment: In terms of net migration, the UK has the highest immigrant total so far recorded for 2023 other than Ukraine, where many returned after the 2022 exodus caused by the war with Russia. (Source: Statista)

    • John Perkins Reply

      January 8, 2024 at 1:05 pm

      I agree that much commentary on US elections is conspiracist, but that does not mean we should not be sceptical. There is some evidence that, without voter ID, free and open elections can be abused, especially here in the UK.

      Sunak did not command a majority of Conservative MPs, far from it. He lost to Truss and then won by default following her resignation because the other candidates withdrew.

  5. David Roberts Reply

    January 8, 2024 at 12:38 pm

    The Statista migration figure is only a passing snapshot. As the Migration Observatory says, “Migration levels fluctuate from year to year, but over long periods, a useful measure of how much immigration a country has experienced is the size of the foreign-born population as a percentage of the population.”

    By this measure, just 14 per cent of the UK population in 2019 were foreign born, 1 per cent more than France and less than Germany, Belgium, Sweden and Canada, let alone Switzerland (30 per cent), New Zealand (27 per cent) or Luxembourg (47 per cent). The truth is that there are very few migrants in Britain.

  6. Alan Judge Reply

    January 9, 2024 at 2:16 pm

    Surely the problem with R4GV was that they originally campaigned on not building high rises in the town and then ditched that key policy as soon as they were voted in.

    I certainly remember their leaflet with the “Do you want this? (showing a picture of the High Street) or this? (showing a picture of high rise buildings)”

    Someone pointed it out and one of their former councillors start screaming “Fake News!”.

    Now that’s very Trumpian indeed.

  7. Aubrey Leahy Reply

    January 11, 2024 at 4:15 pm

    Hello from California. The nub of the problem is not that certain personages are still publicly proclaiming their belief that “The US election was rigged” when in reality they know Trump lost but that they are unwilling to say so publicly. Huge difference in saying what they believe to be true whilst KNOWING they are speaking untruths.

    And I see the same happening now in the UK. People now know and understand Brexit was bad for the UK (did anyone actually believe that there would be £35 million a week for the NHS?) but persist in saying that they swear Britain is better off since leaving. Election year in UK, India, USA etc.

    Does anyone know how I can move into the Anchorites cell in StJames church in Shere until it is all over?

    • John Perkins Reply

      January 12, 2024 at 3:13 pm

      How can anybody be sure that an expressed opinion is the result of deliberate lies?

      Is Mr Leahy’s opinion on Brexit sincerely held? Who can tell other than himself?

      NHS spending in the first year after the UK left, ignoring additional spending on Covid, increased from £162 billion to £181.7 billion or about £379 million per week.

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