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Most of you will be familiar with the ubiquitous Lolcats. Well, I presume the same enterprising group of students that have taken to spending their afternoons defacing Tory posters on the Rage Against The Election photo wall have put together a website devoted to… Lolcleggz.

If you like Nick Clegg and like the Lolcats humour, there are dozens of Nick Clegg pictures for you to chuckle over at lolcleggz.com.

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Having posted on eagle-eyed web-watchers spotting the Daily Mail manipulating their polls to ensure Cameron won the debate, reports are appearing of The Sun manipulating its polling information by withholding data that contradicts the pro-Cameron political message it wants to send.

View London reports:

“The unpublished poll showed that if people believed the Lib Dems had a significant chance of winning the election they would get 49 per cent of the vote, compared to 25 per cent for the Tories and 19 per cent for Labour.”

i see this as an obvious challenge to Liberal Democrats and their Rage supporters the length and breadth of the country.

Get yourself to a seat with serious Lib Dem prospects, campaign yourself into the ground until polls close on May 6th – and show the electorate exactly how serious Nick Clegg’s Liberal Democrats are about securing fundamental and lasting change.

And in the process thoroughly enjoy watching the Barclays-Murdoch-Rothermere press froth and foam and howl as ordinary people reclaim their election from what Bibi van der Zee describes as “a small collection of white middle-aged men in bunkers in London…”

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Further to my post earlier today on the dark machinations of the Barclays-Murdoch-Rothermere media establishment, it would appear that the media mischief continues.

The Daily Mail has been caught out by sharp-eyed web-watchers, rigging its online debate  poll against Nick Clegg. It appears that as the Mail’s debate poll was showing a colossal lead for Nick Clegg, someone took the decision to pull it and start over.

Check out this blog post here for a more detailed account. Pay particular attention to the screen shots and remember you can never trust a word you read in the papers of these desperate men…

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“He cried in a whisper at some image, at some vision—he cried out twice, a cry that was no more than a breath—‘The horror! The horror!’”

Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness

The sudden surge in support for the Liberal Democrats was accompanied, predictably, and properly, by increased scrutiny of the party and its policies.

However, until the television debates, breaking up the self-serving establishment consensus between Labour and the Tories on the one hand, and Fleet Street’s finest on the other, was not regarded as a real likelihood in any election. The balance of probabilities afforded the mainstream media the opportunity to to relax into complacent clichés about the Liberal Democrats, from gentle teasing about beards and sandals to attempts to portray them as out of touch loonies.

Nick Clegg’s clear and robust presentation of the Liberal Democrats’ key proposals has put paid to both those tired canards – and the likes of the Barclays, Murdoch and Rothermere are now in a blind panic for two reasons. Firstly, Cameron, their favoured son, is not walking it, despite the combined might of their media empires and Labour’s dismal record in Government. Secondly, they have woken up to the fact that they have absolutely no handle on Nick Clegg and the Liberal Democrats, and the grass roots-led political insurgency that is threatening to take this election out of the clutches of the press and hand it back to the voter. (And if anyone believes that rumours of political interference are exaggerated, remember Murdoch’s explicit admission of political editorial control in his newspapers.)

Their panic became very clear in the headlines of the last forty-eight hours.  The Telegraph screamed sleaze in 9/11 point headlines about donations that were properly accounted for and properly spent, insinuating that Clegg had pocketed the cash. (Amusingly, the subsequent debunking of this particular untruth revealed that Clegg actually paid out more money than he received.) At the same time, the Daily Mail attempted, outrageously, to slur Clegg with Nazi allusions. (The hypocrisy of the Mail is breath-taking – you may remember their “outrage” when they attacked Chris Huhne for  condemning William Hague and the Conservative Party for the Tories’ European associations with right-wing homophobes and climate change-deniers.)

To what extent are we to believe Tory denials of involvement in any conspiracy to smear Nick Clegg?

Not at all, if Nick Robinson is to be believed. He wrote on his blog last night:

“I now learn that political reporters from the Tory-backing papers were called in one by one to discuss how Team Cameron would deal with “Cleggmania” and to be offered Tory HQ’s favourite titbits about the Lib Dems – much of which appears in today’s papers.”

Conrad’s Heart of Darkness is a brutal analysis of man’s duality and the conflict between the idealistic projection of civilised values and the savage reality of desperate men. If Nick Clegg on a resurgent Liberal tide is the Barclays-Murdoch-Rothermere Establishment’s nightmare vision, then yesterday’s headlines are the result of his media henchmen attempting to fulfil the political equivalent of Kurtz’s scribbled instruction: “Exterminate the brutes!”

Perhaps this is what lay behind the showdown at the offices of The Independent, when Murdoch’s son, James, and News International stooge Rebekah Brooks (formerly Wade), stormed in carrying copies of the Independent and its wrap-around advert proclaiming “Murdoch won’t decide this election – you will.” One experienced journalist described the episode as being “like a scene out of Dodge City”. Very interestingly, the Guardian reports that the Indy showdown was preceded by a meeting between the Murdoch and Rothermere camps.

They should beware.

Those who remember Conrad’s book, or are familiar with its allegorical Vietnam War reinterpretation Apocalypse Now, will know how this story ends: with Kurtz’s isolation precipitating a descent into a destructive madness of self-obsession and self-aggrandisement, rendering him even more irrelevant to the world around him.

Life in the political wilderness and isolation from political civilisation destroying these faux-mythical beasts of the media Establishment?

As Michael Wolff writes of Murdoch’s flailing around: “this is one way for empires to end”.

Let’s hope.

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Yet another refreshing twist of this election campaign is the way that Twitter has provided a ready platform for creative expression in the moment. Ironic comment has long been the preserve of columnists, writers and the chattering classes. Twitter particularly has also allowed ordinary people to demonstrate they are more than capable of cutting wit and irony – and in a deliciously mischievous twist have sought to parody the attacks of the Tory press.

The Tories may have thought that they were being clever by briefing the Rothermere and Murdoch press to smear Nick Clegg. Reassuringly, however, the backlash against the smears started online almost immediately, with savvy voters seeing straight through an obvious dirty-tricks campaign and starting an ironic hash-tag #nickcleggsfault for Tweets attributing the world’s ills to Nick Clegg.

Here are some of those I liked best that ran with the #nickcleggsfault tag:

“Beethoven and Mahler didn’t complete their 10th symphonies #nickcleggsfault”

“Goose dying in Top Gun #nickcleggsfault”

“Haven’t done any of the work I was supposed to do… It’s #nickcleggsfault”

“Kennedy assassination. New footage confirms hidden gunman on grassy knoll is Nick Clegg. #nickcleggsfault”

And my personal favourite?

“Nick Clegg was seen two weeks ago poking Eyjafjallajokull with a stick #nickcleggsfault”

If you’ve spotted any others you like, please feel free to share… 🙂

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