‘Controlled Spontaneity’: government plan for future psychological manipulation of its people

The march of authoritarianism goes on… resist!

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As we enter into a new year, HART continues to retain faith in ordinary people’s ability to resist – and ultimately reject – the march of authoritarianism, and to frustrate the ‘expert’ technocrats’ systematic attempts to influence our thoughts, speech, and behaviour. Encouragingly, a growing number of the populace are realising the extraordinary levels of censorship, propaganda, and psychological manipulation we have all endured over recent years, a collaborative effort by national governments and unelected elites to promote compliance with poorly evidenced globalist goals – around, for example, health and climate – sold to us as being for the ‘greater good’. However, fewer citizens might be aware that our UK Government has also developed scripts – one might call them well-rehearsed dramas – regarding reactions to future negative events, the aim of which is to convey the state’s desired messages to the rest of the onlooking population; collectively, these contrived, pre-prepared responses are referred to as ‘controlled spontaneity’.

Evidence for this scheme derives from a 2019 report by Ian Cobain – an experienced investigative journalist and former senior reporter for the Guardian newspaper – that incorporates quotes from anonymous contingency planners to support the notion that the UK Government pre-emptively prepares responses to negative societal events in order to convey messages of support and empathy with the victims. According to these whistle blowers, this strategy of ‘controlled spontaneity’ was hatched in anticipation of terrorist incidents at the 2012 London Olympic Games. Should a bombing or other act of mass murder occur, the primary aim was to ensure that, in the immediate aftermath, public responses conveyed empathy for the victims and a sense of unity with strangers, rather than displays of anger and retaliatory violence.

The contingency planners cited in Cobain’s article describe how, in readiness for a terrorist attack, a number of materials and actions are carefully prepared so as to convey the government’s desired messages to the wider public audience. These arrangements include social media hashtags, Instagram images, street posters, vigils and – in the aftermath of the London Bridge terrorist attack of 2017 – the staged appearance of one hundred imams at the crime scene. All these responses are intended to be viewed as spontaneous grassroots expressions of empathy and love. So, not content with manipulating people in real time, our government apparently has pre-prepared plans of how they will control our thoughts and behaviour in the future. (If Boris Johnson was still around he might have referred to it as an ‘oven ready’ plan for the response to the next societal threat).

In this instance, the goal of avoiding escalating violence – or vilification of a minority – in the wake of a terrorist attack is a defensible one. But, given that people are strongly influenced by the actions and beliefs of others (a ‘normative pressure’ nudge, in the parlance of behavioural science) one might reasonably speculate as to other, less altruistic applications of this ‘controlled spontaneity’ tactic. Clearly, a contingency planner quoted in the Cobain article harboured misgivings about this form of government propaganda, referring to it as a type of ‘mind control’. And these synthetically impromptu behavioural reactions and social media campaigns may plausibly have been deployed to reinforce messaging during the covid event. One obvious example is the ‘Clap for Carers’ ritual when, for 10 consecutive Thursday evenings in 2020, people ‘spontaneously’ stood on their doorsteps and applauded our healthcare staff – a powerful display of virtue and togetherness (aka ‘ego’ and ‘normative pressure’ nudges) to encourage us all to follow the government’s pandemic diktats.

And if any readers doubt the existence of this Government policy, it is informative that a FOI request in June 2019, asking for copies of materials relating to the ‘controlled spontaneity’ initiative, was rebuffed; the Office for Security & Counter-Terrorism stated ‘we neither confirm nor deny whether we hold the information’, absolving themselves from the requirement to disclose on the basis that it ‘would make the UK … more vulnerable to a national security threat’. Enough said.

When will the technocrats learn that humankind are generally good and, when left to their own devices, free of interference from powerful state-funded actors, typically chug along together very nicely without the need for the authoritarian imposition of top-down posturing and manufactured shows of virtue?

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