We’ve had a letter published in The Times today. For those without a subscription you can read it below.
Daniel Finkelstein’s article “Divisive political ads are just getting started” (Apr 19) was a heart-warming read for those of us who have spent years campaigning for the regulation of electoral advertising. Regular trawling of these muddy waters reveals that all the major political parties transgress as a matter of course. For every high-profile Conservative or Labour example there is a dodgy Lib Dem bar chart in Sheffield or Cambridgeshire, or a local “news” website in Tyneside that is actually run by a councillor.
In June 2020 a cross-party House of Lords committee unanimously recommended that “fundamentally inaccurate” content should be subject to a code of conduct agreed by political parties and administered by an independent panel including the ASA. The government’s response was evasive, patronising and misleading. As Finkelstein points out, this mess is going to get messier because of advances in technology, including AI.
The only real obstacle to regulation is the lack of political will to close down a channel of communication in which elected representatives can lie without interruption from an interviewer. We urgently need leadership from the main political parties to support a code of conduct before this disinformation arms race escalates further.
Co-founder, Reform Political Advertising “