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MPs issued with guide to conspiracy theories

A chart included in the Antisemitism Policy Trust's report

May 9, 2024 - 11:50am

New guidance for MPs and Parliamentary candidates has been published this week, instructing politicians how to spot and combat conspiracy theories. Yet the report, commissioned by Tory Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt and compiled by the Antisemitism Policy Trust, may not really be the promised silver bullet to the tinfoil hat brigade which supposedly dominates the internet.

The guide aims to inform MPs about the risks of conspiratorial thinking, but ends up drawing some rather tenuous links between various conspiracies. The chart above goes some way in illustrating this complex web of theories, which places antisemitism at the centre of everything.

The collection includes the chemtrails conspiracy theory, which posits that contrails from aircraft deliberately release dangerous chemicals. The report suggests it is associated with antisemitic conspiracy theories, claiming that chemtrail truthers “believe in a clandestine global conspiracy” involving the Rothschild family, among other powerful figures.

The report goes on to highlight how theories regarding the Great Reset, World Economic Forum and the Ukraine war (Volodymyr Zelensky’s family is Jewish) are all also closely tied to antisemitism. This includes the belief that prominent Jewish financiers, most notably the billionaire philanthropist George Soros, control world events. The guide includes memes of Soros dressed as a Nazi and as Dr Evil from the Austin Powers film series.

There is also conflation of Elon Musk’s sharing of a meme with a conspiracy theory. The X and Tesla owner tweeted out an image criticising reflexive supporters of Ukraine, as well as LGBTQ+ advocates, suggesting it was a case of “I support the current thing.” His tweet is cited as a conspiracy theory as it blends “a hostility to international organisations and a tendency to reject any stance with widespread public support”. Does this mean that simply rejecting opinions with widespread support, as well as having a hostility to international organisations, constitutes a conspiracy theory?

Towards the end of the report, MPs are warned that they should be wary not to spread conspiracy theories, as the “victim may also be a public institution or the government, who may lose credibility and trust”. Yet this boundary is not firmly established. It might be argued that governments should be challenged on the information which they lay out, which may correctly result in them losing credibility and trust.

It is a difficult subject from which to draw simplistic conclusions. The goal may be noble, but if one definition of “conspiracy theory” is imagining connections where there are none, this Parliamentary guide could be described as somewhat…conspiratorial.

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El Uro
El Uro
9 days ago

This guidance perfectly illustrates the state of extreme helplessness of modern politicians.
.
PS. Just as example:
Germany’s Green Party Federal Minister for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection Robert Habeck subsequently claimed nobody had warned him shutting down nuclear power during a power crisis was a bad idea – It seems that the principle of negative selection is now at work in politics – the dumber you are, the higher your chances of being at the top of the hierarchical ladder.
PPS. I thought a little and realized that I made a mistake in PS. The minister is not at all such a fool as it seemed to me. He knew his decision was wrong. It’s just that, then and now, it is much more important for him to be righteous (not right, but righteous) in the eyes of his party comrades than to be right in relation to the interests of the nation.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
7 days ago
Reply to  El Uro

Mediocracy.

R Wright
R Wright
8 days ago

George Soros could stop spreading conspiracy theories about himself if he stopped single handedly dominating global affairs by donating billions of dollars to powerful NGOs.

ChilblainEdwardOlmos
ChilblainEdwardOlmos
7 days ago

The term “Conspiracy Theory” was coined by the CIA to discredit people who didn’t buy the official narrative of JFK’s assassination. Make of that what you will


Aidan Twomey
Aidan Twomey
9 days ago

This will definitely work, I now consider this a solved problem.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 days ago
Reply to  Aidan Twomey

Made me chuckle.

David Lindsay
David Lindsay
9 days ago

This itself looks like one. “They all join up round the back” is a classic.

Right-Wing Hippie
Right-Wing Hippie
9 days ago

UK Parliament publishes guide to conspiracy theories
“UK Parliament publishes guide to Left-wing stereotypes of Right-wing conspiracy theories”
FIFY

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
9 days ago

Exactly this because, of course, left-wingers have no conspiracies of their own, except when they claim Russian interference every time something does not go their way.

laurence scaduto
laurence scaduto
9 days ago

Oh, come on. This must be Parliament’s attempt at comedy. You Brits are famous for your wry sense of humor.

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
3 days ago

After listening her response to Andrew’s question, about the jab, didn’t have a sick bucket big enough or to cry laughing! She is actually an MP? What have we become?

David Morley
David Morley
9 days ago

Any truth in the rumour it was funded by George Soros?

R Wright
R Wright
8 days ago
Reply to  David Morley

Suspiciously they do not reveal their sources of funding on their site like most other charities, making me suspect OSF’s input. According to their Charity Commission filings a third of their annual funding is, unsurprisingly, HM Government grants. They have links to the BBC, Media Matters, Hope Not Hate, Carnegie Trust, both major political parties and others.

Catherine Conroy
Catherine Conroy
9 days ago

Penny Mordaunt is a trans activist. I wish I could trust her but I can’t

Karen Arnold
Karen Arnold
9 days ago

Or is she one of those people who will support fashionable causes?

Arthur King
Arthur King
9 days ago

What about those conspiring to promulgate the nonsense that a man can become a woman.

Tessa B
Tessa B
8 days ago

Thank you UnHerd staff for alerting the electorate. Please are you able to message me, to advise which staff were involved with the writing of this article …….on 8th May I wrote to Freddie Sayers about academics and their pontifications about conspiracy theories….it may have gone into junk. Many thanks again.
https://www.kcl.ac.uk/policy-institute/assets/conspiracy-belief-among-the-uk-public.pdf
I wrote directly to the authors and challenged them on some points including the need for more scientific and public discussion regarding the World Economic Forum’s Strategic Intelligence.
The Report page 14 states “In 2020, the WEF’s work began to focus on the changes that the Covid-19 pandemic was causing to the world and how best to respond to them. The campaign, launched by then-Prince Charles,43 was called the Great Reset. The Great Reset promoted a shift to greener industry, and finding positive opportunities to rebuild better after the havoc of the pandemic.”
This is an over simplification and UnHerd are right to raise a discussion about the Report. 
2019
https:www.babymilkaction.org/archives///23661
“‘This agreement between the UN and WEF formalises a disturbing corporate capture of the UN. It moves the world dangerously towards a privatised and undemocratic global governance’, says Gonzalo BerrĂłn of Transnational Institute, one of the key organisers of the open letter.”
https://www.tni.org/en/profile/gonzalo-berron
Keep talking.

Jim Veenbaas
Jim Veenbaas
9 days ago

Clowns. All of them are clowns. Fill in a frickin pothole. Whet a complete waste of time and money.

Rocky Martiano
Rocky Martiano
9 days ago
Reply to  Jim Veenbaas

Jim, get off the fence, mate. Tell us what you really think.

Ian_S
Ian_S
9 days ago

Systemic racism is a conspiracy theory. In America, founders conspired to set up a nation based on the hidden motive of oppressing blacks (the overt religiosity was just a ruse). In Canada, missionaries conspired to kill and secretly bury thousands of indigenous children. In Australia, Captain Cook had secret instructions to release lethal bioweapons on Aborigines (who weren’t actually known about at that stage), then later, early settlers conspired to remove all traces of previously continent-wide broadacre agriculture and large towns. All these conspiracies are believed in by every woke leftist on the planet. So where is systemic racism on the chart?

David Morley
David Morley
9 days ago
Reply to  Ian_S

Not to mention patriarchy theory!

UnHerd Reader
UnHerd Reader
9 days ago

Where’s Brexit?

Mike Doyle
Mike Doyle
8 days ago
Reply to  UnHerd Reader

Brexit is a right-wing conspiracy theory. Remain won with 106.66% of the vote. These figures were independantly verified by Putin, Putin & Blair Electoral Services. So there!

j watson
j watson
9 days ago

Narcissists prone to paranoia, need to dominate, need to feel unique, and often gullible – because they fall into the trap of believing something that makes them feel special.
Would there be a proportion of MPs or potential MPs with narcissist tendencies? So an endeavour to get them to think a bit more before being played no bad thing perhaps?
Cross party bit of guidance too.

Peter B
Peter B
9 days ago

So let’s get this straight – apparently our MPs are now so thick they can’t recognise this stuff for themselves ?
Haven’t these people got real problems to solve ?

David Morley
David Morley
9 days ago
Reply to  Peter B

Of course – just not real problems they can solve.

Simon S
Simon S
9 days ago

Rather than constituting a purported network of conspiracy theories, this in fact is a weaponization of anti-semitism to undermine all the rest of them / any narrative that runs against the mainstream and jeopardizes trust in our hallowed government institutions.

David Morley
David Morley
9 days ago
Reply to  Simon S

Spot on of course. It’s a propaganda piece.

Oliver Gover
Oliver Gover
9 days ago

I support this article-whatever it is.

Saul D
Saul D
9 days ago

When anyone talks about conspiracy theories the first place to look is who funds them…
And, at first glance, since I haven’t heard of APT before, this looks like a small private charity mostly funded by property billionaire Trevor Pears, who is also a trustee. Funding is through his business, plus one third from a government grant (which breaks an integrity rule that the government should not pay people who lobby them). Perhaps there is wider public involvement I missed, but it comes across as a small (ÂŁ300k) self-funded pressure group representing one person’s views. Too small to be a conspiracy, but odd that it has the ear of ministers.

Mark HumanMode
Mark HumanMode
9 days ago

It’s not even a noble goal. It’s stupid. So, what should the word in the middle be? My offer: governing elite

Tessa B
Tessa B
8 days ago

https://antisemitism.org.uk/group-members/
Interesting. Hmmmmm.
“New guidance for MPs and Parliamentary candidates has been published this week, instructing politicians how to spot and combat conspiracy theories. Yet the report, commissioned by Tory Cabinet minister Penny Mordaunt and compiled by the Antisemitism Policy Trust, may not really be the promised silver bullet to the tinfoil hat brigade which supposedly dominates the internet.”
December 2023
https://www.telegraph.co.uk/politics2/023/12/02/mps-will-be-helped-to-spot-conspiracy-theories/
Hmmm, don’t have a subscription, but hope to come back to this.
“MPs are to be given resources to help spot conspiracy theories amid a warning from Penny Mordaunt that people are being “bombarded with deliberate misinformation”, The Telegraph can reveal…”
“MPs will be helped to spot conspiracy theoriesCommons Library tells Telegraph it will be providing help under umbrella of its ‘confidential research service for MPs and staff’”
https://commonslibrary.parliament.uk/research-briefings/cdp-2024-0003/
https://www.ohchr.org/en/special-procedures/sr-freedom-of-opinion-and-expression

Tessa B
Tessa B
6 days ago

Whilst we are on the subject of conspiracies, fantasy and misinformation…..just realised that UnHerd themselves are part of a conspiracy theory because of Paul Marshall. Please who is left to debunk this one. I need a drink.
https://www.theguardian.com/media/2023/oct/28/loud-and-uncowed-how-unherd-owner-paul-marshall-became-britains-newest-media-mogul
“Perhaps the most intriguing person involved with UnHerd is its founder and publisher, Sir Paul Marshall.” Guardian article.
https://www.opendemocracy.net/en/dark-money-investigations/meet-think-tank-shaping-future-of-britains-food-and-countryside/
Now it’s just getting silly. Running round in circles. ;-).