Announcing the ARG (The Arsehole Research Group): Think-tanks and 'research' groups are a cheap trick for getting media attention... and it works every time

CC: GB News, TalkRadio, The Spectator, Robert ‘Bobby’ Peston...

Here’s one weird trick to get you into tabloid newspapers, on to talk radio, and given respect by BBC News reporters without you having to actually know about anything, care about anything, or have anything valid to say on a given topic — start a think-tank or pressure group.

I founded my own think-tank in the early days of this newsletter and the Centre for Understanding News Technologies has been chugging along nicely. However, in the era of ‘The Covid Recovery Group’, ‘The Common Sense Group’, ‘The Northern Research Group’ (“What is the ‘North’?”) and ‘parent power’ pressure group ‘UsForThem’, I realised I needed to start my own special interest group too.

Now, I’m not an MP nor a mother* so I have to lean on my area expertise: Identifying and analysing arseholes in the media.

That’s why I’m proud to announce the ARG — the Arsehole Research Group — a special interest organisation designed to get me on radio and television… I mean, put forward strongly-held views by our important constituency — people who don’t really like complete arseholes running everything.

I will, of course, be the General Secretary of the ARG, having learned from Toby Young and the Free Speech Union (your free speech costs £5/month and may be at risk if you fail to keep up payments) that words mean nothing.

I had previously understood General Secretary to be an elected role in unions and other representative organisations, but Toby taught me it’s a title any yahoo can award themselves so chyrons during their TV appearances don’t have to read “Unpopular local man (gobshite)”.

The ‘Research’ element of the ARG’s name is similarly inspired by those pioneers at the European Research Group, the gaggle of self-interested, self-satisfied, self-pleasuring Brexit fanboys who are still wafting around like a fart in a confined space despite getting all the awful things they ever wanted.

The ERG doesn’t actually do much proper research unless you count Google searches for such terms as ‘What is inappropriate touching?’ and ‘What are the best Latin words to butcher in order to name your fourteenth child?”, and hiring people to write things that support what it’s already been banging on about.

Taking the ERG’s lead, the ARG will use the time-honoured technique of pulling ideas and proposals out of our arseholes, which has the dual benefit of a) giving the name a double meaning and b) ensuring we don’t actually have to waste time providing evidence. If we think it then it is immediately true.

There are lots of other pioneering groups of complete pricks we can look to as well. The Covid Recovery Group was spun up in November by Steve Baker who, for some reason, must always be referred to as “ERG veteran Steve Baker” as though he fought in some forgotten war against a zombie army of Theresa Mays, rather than toured TV studios talking abject shite for years.

The CRG’s aim — like the ERG’s before it — is to bang on about its obsessions until the government concedes, regardless of whether its ideas are bolstered by facts, logic, or absurd notions like ‘democracy’ or ‘public safety’.

Having considered the CRG too cerebral for them and being giant children who still require books that can be chewed and taken in the bath when nanny tells them they absolutely have to clean the swan’s blood off, a further 50 MPs have joined the Common Sense Group.

They are led by Sir John Hayes, a bilious old windbag who is both anti-abortion and pro-death penalty; his logic seems to be that all life is sacred until it makes its way out of the womb, at which point it becomes markedly less sacred as if the vaginal canal is some kind of sin luge.

In November, the CSG got itself a front-page story in The Daily Telegraph railing against the National Trust, which it claimed had been “coloured by cultural Marxist dogma” and was now in the grip of “elite bourgeois liberals”. The trigger for this explosion in an antisemitic buzzword factory was… a report that acknowledged that some National Properties were either built or owned by people who made money through slavery or benefited from it.

The great lesson that the ARG has learned from those brain geniuses in the CRG and CSG is that you’ve got to be wildly reactionary to get attention from the newspapers but what you’re saying doesn’t actually have to make any sense. So, with that in mind, I’ve cut up a month’s worth of tabloid news stories, attached the words to magnets and catapulted them at the fridge. That’s why our first ARG campaign is going to challenge the… woke… Rod Liddles… ruining… Britain’s… ponds. Yeah, I can sell that.

But to help me as General Secretary of the ARG, I obviously need to be able to call on a group of supporters and boast about their number to the media. Here I’ve learned from parental pressure group UsforThem, which has got acres of print and hours of broadcast coverage by campaigning for schools to reopen. Just yesterday they were all over The Sun’s ‘exclusive’ that some parents are quite angry about schools being closed, which was written by Harry Cole.

When I first read about UsForThem in December 2020, its founder was on record claiming that it had 25,000 members, but even now the UsforThem Facebook group has just over 9,000 and the group’s Twitter account has around 8,500 followers. But who cares about real numbers!

I have 22800 odd (and occasionally very odd) followers on Twitter and will now simply tell the media that they are all members of the ARG. Instantly we are a pressure group of similar size and importance as UsForThem. Obviously, we don’t have access to the entire toolkit available to UsForThem.

One of their biggest tools is Ed Barker, a former Conservative Party parliamentary candidate, and experienced Westminster PR man who worked on Boris Johnson’s leadership campaign. He also happens to be a paid advisor to the Covid Recovery Group. Still, UsForThem says it’s not political and is just an organically-occurring group of people who care about kids. Who are we at the ARG to suggest otherwise?

Well, we’re over 25,000 — I’ve added in newsletter subscribers and rounded up, okay? — concerned citizens who want to put the issue of arseholes infesting every corner of public life onto the front pages and in the running orders of news programmes. We have done our research*** and we know that this is a cause that the Great British Public, the Common Sense Majority, and very probably Our Boys care about deeply.

Now talkRadio, LBC, Sky News, Robert Peston, Laura Kuenssberg, GB News, we await your call. Our rates are reasonable and we stand ready to talk shit about arseholes whenever and wherever there is a microphone.

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*I am a step-dad but that’s not going to be enough to get The Sun’s Harry Cole to write about me, he prefers ‘daddies’ who nick his girlfriends.

**For legal reasons I am required to note here that Jacob Rees-Mogg has never masturbated and in fact only looks at his genitals using a mirror on a stick.

***Translation: We had a little think while eating a packet of biscuits.