Author: Tom Scott

Tom Scott is a freelance writer and editor based in Falmouth, Cornwall, and a lecturer at Falmouth University. He takes a particular interest in political disinformation and in 2019 authored 'Facing Down Facebook: Reclaiming Democracy in the Age of (Anti) Social Media', a report for the European Parliament with policy recommendations on reforming the social media landscape. Tom was the Green Party's candidate for Truro and Falmouth at the 2019 general election.

Trump and ‘Britain Trump’

Tom Scott

The US president’s descent into lunacy and fascistic violence holds a lesson for the UK. It was not so hard to predict that Donald Trump’s rage at having lost the US election would lead inexorably to violence, and I was one of several to do so a few weeks ago. The story is not over […]

The disinformation pandemic

Tom Scott

In the early hours of New Year’s Day, Dr Matthew Lee, a young medic working at St Thomas’ Hospital in London, tweeted a video of the scene that confronted him when he stepped out of the hospital after completing a late shift in A&E. As he described it: “Hundreds of maskless, drunk people in huge […]

The Potemkin hospitals

Tom Scott

With desperate frontline NHS staff warning that the health service is in immediate danger of being overwhelmed by surging Covid-19 admissions, it appears that the government’s much vaunted Nightingale hospitals were built largely for PR purposes – yet another example of government by vacuous gesture. The news that the government’s flagship Nightingale hospital at London’s […]

While hedge funds shorted stocks by night…

Tom Scott

A timely reworking from Tom Scott of ‘While shepherds watched their flocks by night’ for the secular, Brexiter age. While hedge funds shorted stocks by nightAnd bet against the pound,A WhatsApp from BoJo came down,And glory shone around. “Fear not,” said he, for mighty dreadHad seized their troubled mind;“Glad tidings of No Deal I bringTo […]

Brexit blame bingo!

Tom Scott

Get ready to play Brexit Blame Bingo! As millions of British families face a Covid Christmas capped with what looks set to be disastrous end to the Brexit transition period, we’ve devised a fun game for all the family – whether together or apart. All you need is a TV tuned to any news channel […]

Masks in supermarkets: am I a man or a mouse?

Tom Scott
Man shopping in supermarket wearing a mask

A couple of days ago I was doing some Christmas shopping at a local supermarket near my home in Cornwall. As I scoured the shelves for stollen (a favourite festive treat in our household), I couldn’t help noticing that quite a few of the other customers were not making any attempt to socially distance, and […]

John le Carré – prescient chronicler of a nation betrayed

Tom Scott

Obituaries describing John le Carré as a “Cold War spy novelist” are selling him short. More than any other contemporary writer, he had a finger on the dark pulse of our times. It’s not often that the death of a novelist can be described as a national event, but the passing of David Cornwell, better […]

Rule Britannia! Britannia waives the rules!

Tom Scott

With Daily Mail and Daily Express headlines screaming SEND IN THE GUNBOATS, it seemed to Tom Scott that Rule Britannia needed rewriting to reflect Brexit Britain’s proud new status as a banana republic (without the bananas). Rule Britannia! Rule, Britannia! Britannia waives the rules!Keep on voting for the crooks, you utter fools. While Brexit conmen […]

Pilgrim’s shame – the price of cheap meat

Tom Scott

While argument rages over whether Cornwall should have been assigned to Tier 1 of the government’s social distancing regime, little attention has been paid to the US company operating the meat-packing plant in Cornwall which has been at the centre of a major outbreak of Covid-19. Tom Scott lifts the lid on its grim record […]

Priti vicious behaviour

Tom Scott

Priti Patel’s contempt for ethical standards is what put her in her job – it was never going to give Boris Johnson reason to sack her. When Dominic Cummings announced he would be leaving Downing Street, some excited commentators speculated that this might signal a fresh new phase in Boris Johnson’s government. “Will the departure […]

Nigel Farage – an opportunist pathogen

Tom Scott

Nigel Farage’s ‘new’ Reform Party is doing exactly what the far-right has always done: exploiting misery, chaos and toxic conspiracy theories. In 1919, with the world reeling from the impacts of the recently ended Great War and a devastating flu pandemic, Benito Mussolini was contemplating his future. As Denis Mack Smith writes in his History […]

The worst and the best of Cornwall

Tom Scott

The news that every one of Cornwall’s six Conservative MPs had voted against extending help to hungry children came as little surprise to anyone who had studied the parliamentary voting history of Scott Mann (North Cornwall), Derek Thomas (St Ives), Steve Double (St Austell and Newquay), Sheryll Murray (South East Cornwall), Cherilyn Mackrory (Truro and […]

QAnon in Cornwall

Tom Scott

A hotel in Tintagel has been flying the QAnon flag. What on earth is going on at the Camelot Castle? Some of the strangest TripAdvisor reviews ever written are of a hotel dramatically sited on a rugged headland at Tintagel on Cornwall’s north coast, the Camelot Castle Hotel. Among the oddest of these are from […]

Who will protect our democracy from industrialised disinformation?

Tom Scott

Several recent events have raised urgent questions about the threat to our democracy from unscrupulous digital operatives. Disturbingly, these questions remain largely unanswered by a report this week from the Information Commissioner’s Office (ICO). Last week, Channel Four reported on a data leak from Trump’s 2016 presidential campaign that revealed how ‘Team Trump’ had worked […]

The abominable hulks

Tom Scott

Priti Patel’s plan to use decommissioned ships as “processing centres” for asylum-seekers recalls one of the darkest chapters of British history. On Wednesday, the Financial Times reported that home secretary Priti Patel had asked officials to explore the construction of a “processing centre” for asylum seekers on Ascension Island, a volcanic outcrop in the South […]

Levelling up to new heights of corruption

Tom Scott

Few towns in the South West will receive funding from the government’s Towns Fund – and now we know why. In September 2019, local government secretary Robert Jenrick published a list of 101 places that would receive help to develop bids for funding from the government’s £3.6 billion Towns Fund. There was suspicion at the […]

Don’t say it couldn’t happen here – it’s happening under our noses

Tom Scott

Events on both sides of the Atlantic this week have heightened fears that the US and the UK are sliding towards autocracy under their right-wing populist leaders. In the US, Trump has hinted heavily that he will not accept an election result that goes against him, prompting an alarmed Pentagon to insist that the US […]

Ancestral voices, prophesying doom

Tom Scott

Why do nations sometimes lurch into spectacular acts of self-destruction? A strange fervour that seized the Xhosa people of South Africa in the 1850s may shed some light on Brexit, writes Tom Scott. The history of southern Africa is not short on plunder, cruelty and betrayal. But as a student of it some years ago, […]

Box set: Tom Scott

Tom Scott

Message from the Editor-in-Chief: We’ve only been going five weeks, but we’ve already built up what we think is a pretty strong back catalogue of articles with a long read-by date. We thought you might like to catch up on a few grouped by author. We kick off with the articles from Tom Scott, the […]

Has Steve Bannon met his Waterloo?

Tom Scott

The arrest of far-right propagandist Steve Bannon in the US on fraud and money-laundering charges has sent shock waves through far-right populist circles around the world. Bannon, who was arrested by agents of the US Postal Service aboard a super-yacht belonging to a Chinese billionaire, is accused of running a fraudulent fundraising scheme. The indictment […]

Silence of the Mann

Tom Scott

Many young people in Cornwall have been bitterly disappointed to find their A-level results unfairly downgraded amid the ongoing exam shambles. Scott Mann MP, parliamentary secretary to education minister Gavin Williamson, has been strangely silent on their plight. Sarah Johnson, the mother of a boy studying at Truro College who had been hoping to go to […]

Gavin Williamson’s A* record of cynical manipulation and deceit

Tom Scott

Trying to justify the chaotic mess around the way A-level students have been graded, Education Secretary Gavin Williamson appeared on multiple media channels and in the pages of the Daily Telegraph to warn of the danger of ‘grade inflation’ – the risk that some students would be awarded grades beyond their actual abilities. The far […]

“Free of income tax, old man, free of income tax”

Tom Scott

The peculiarly modern kind of evil embodied by Harry Lime in The Third Man is also the animating spirit of Boris Johnson’s government. Who is the most memorable villain in the history of cinema? There’s no shortage of strong contenders, from Ernst Stavro Blofeld (he of the fluffy white cat) to the soft-spoken cannibal psychiatrist, […]

If (or How to be Prime Minster)

Tom Scott

Boris Johnson has often boasted of his prodigious memory for poetry. In 2009, he informed readers of the Daily Telegraph: “I could do you a dozen Shakespeare sonnets, the whole of Lycidas (186 lines of the thing) and the first 100 lines of the Iliad in Greek… What is the point of education, what is […]

Useless Eustice? No, he’s much worse than that

Tom Scott

This article references some vile, racist language which we have reproduced, rather than hide just how morally-repulsive some individuals are. Editor George Eustice has risen from obscurity to become the smooth-talking frontman for some of the worst aspects of Brexit. In February, Environment Minister George Eustice was loudly booed by an audience of farmers at […]

Barbarians at the gates? The Russia Report and why it matters

Tom Scott

At long last, we can read the Russia Report prepared last year by the parliamentary Intelligence and Security Committee (ISC). Boris Johnson had gone to extraordinary lengths to prevent this document ever seeing the light of day, and succeeded in blocking its release before the general election in December 2019. Arron Banks of Leave.EU had […]

Digital botulism

Tom Scott

If you spend much time on social media – as most of us do these days –  you’ve probably been struck by the number of people who seem to believe things that are not just untrue, but are wildly and extravagantly bonkers. People who think that Bill Gates wishes to inject microchips into the world’s […]