In a shock development this evening, the UK government has announced that the referendum to decide whether or not to stay in the European Union has been DELAYED until August 2018 at the earliest because of ‘severe concerns’ over the ability of the British public to understand what is true (news) and what isn’t true (satire). According to a spokesperson for the Electoral Commission, the deciding moment came a few days ago when Southend News Network published a story about Southend Pier being sold to a Chinese shipping company – this story prompted a number of phone calls and emails from members of the public who were genuinely concerned about a business that had been called Xi Ping Shipping being allowed to take a prized local asset away from the general public.
A spokesperson for the Electoral Commission said: ‘It’s bad enough that thousands of people were convinced that Southend Pier had been sold off for immediate dismantling and scrapping, but to make matters worse even more people seemed to believe that the M25 will be closed for a whole week over the summer so that ‘The Ultimate Endurance Race’ can take place. These are the same people who are legally entitled to vote in the United Kingdom, and the prospect of giving them actual power in the democratic process is genuinely mortifying. With members of the extreme right up in arms about Hot Cross Buns losing their crosses because of fundamentalist maths teachers, and residents of Kent protesting because the Dartford Tunnel has been supposedly closed to stop their migration across the border to Essex, there really is very little hope left for humanity. Between now and the summer of 2018, we are going to allocate £75m towards running an information campaign so that people in the United Kingdom can read articles on Southend News Network, The Suffolk Gazette, The Daily Mash, Newsthump and other non-true news websites and not take them as gospel on the same level as the Holy Bible – this will include a leaflet campaign with the full backing of the current Conservative government.’
Garold Clench, a Southend-based office worker, admits that this was probably the right decision by the Electoral Commission. He said: ‘To be honest, I get most of my local and national information from Southend News Network articles, and I find it very hard to pay attention to the little clues that are left all over the site and the various Google results that come up when I type in ‘Southend News Network’ and additional terms like ‘spoof’ and ‘satire’ and ‘hoax’. I do have some friends on Facebook who have made it their life’s mission to post comments on every Southend News Network link about how it isn’t true, but I don’t know whether it is some kind of double bluff or something like that and it makes me very worried. If I had to vote in the referendum in June as it stands right now, I may not even be able to mark the right side of the voting paper after shaking with rage about the latest SNN story, and that wouldn’t be very democratic now would it?’