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.

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, […]

Boxed sets!

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 […]