For all of my stubborn, opinionated, arrogant ravings, you may be shocked to hear that I do tend towards a certain naïveté, not unlike that expressed by Jack Nicholson’s character in Mars Attacks: “Why can’t we all… just get along?”
Following which he was gruesomely dispatched. I await your comments.
Since my earliest political awareness, I have had a bit of a problem with the concept of politicians telling lies. We don’t accept this from other members of society (although we often expect it – I’m not that naïve), so why should we allow our politicians to get away with it?
The greatest of these in recent times was Tony Blair’s foreword to a dossier regarding Iraq and Saddam Hussein’s intentions that claimed, “The document discloses that his military planning allows for some of the WMD to be ready within 45 minutes of an order to use them.”
We all knew then and we still know now that the Weapons of Mass Destruction couldn’t be ready in forty-five minutes. Because they didn’t exist. But Blair got what he (as Bush’s Little Helper) wanted. And much of the awfulness that’s happened in the Middle East since is a direct consequence of that one lie.
A few days ago a friend of mine received the following document in the post. Note the heading: OFFICIAL INFORMATION ABOUT THE REFERENDUM… a lie so big and in your face it beggars belief.
I expect you know where I’m going with this… but you’d be wrong. Apart of course from listing a few untruths of Johnson’s, Gove’s, Farage’s and the rest of the unprincipled right-wing ego-monkeys currently bollixing up the entire continent in their lust for political power in a fifties theme park:
- 350 Million Quid
- Immigrants raping our women (and probably men)
- Undemocratic ‘Brussels’
- 60% of of our laws come from ‘Brussels’
- Open door for terrorists
- The Institute for Fiscal Studies backs us up
- Half a trillion pounds paid to the EU
- Turkey is about to join the EU
- Britain bailed out Greece
And so on and horribly on…
But I’m not going to waste your time with pointing out exactly how almost everything Nigel Homage (aka BoJo) and his shameless cronies say is a blatant lie. I want to do more than that.
Suggestions for the future development of democratic politics
Pants on Fire: a game show
Politicians are summoned to appear on this game show on a strict rotation/self-aggrandising basis (that is, everyone gets a go, but their appearance frequency increases, the higher their profile across all media).
Questions are asked by a panel of experts, relating directly to that particular politician’s verbal output for the previous… ooh… two years should do it. Should the panel of experts – with input from a live studio audience (screened to keep out wazzocks, natch) – deem the answers to be evasive, obtuse or just plain lies, a jet of super-heated plasma gas is aimed directly at the orifice where one would expect such balderdash and piffle to come from, leaving the interviewee with… Pants On Fire! Yay!
Fun in the Sun: keeping the media honest
If the EU is good for anything, it’s making laws that press barons don’t like, and this one’s dead simple:
Should any media outlet of any kind publish anything that constitutes lies, malicious rumours, encouragement to victimise or any other utter bollocks, they will be compelled to publish a retraction… in exactly the same place and at exactly the same size in the next iteration of that publication.
Yesterday’s News Today: what we really, really need
It is an accepted ‘fact’ that no one wants to read yesterday’s news today. Well I’m stupid enough to challenge that assumption, and I reckon there is a genuine need for exactly that: a victory of the zeitgeist over fashion if you will.
The Brexit campaign is largely based on lies and the idea that if you repeat something often enough, it will stick. This is simple stuff and advertising execs, politicians and various ‘influencers’ have known this since Shgrumf and his band of homo sapiens chanted “You’re shit and you know you are,” at the Neanderthals.
Of course, it wasn’t just the repeating that counted: the time lapse between hearing the phrase and finding the truth has always allowed the little worm of ‘fact’ to bury itself in the ‘This Is What I Know’ area of the human (and Neanderthal) brain.
Given the technology available, we are, for the first time in history, able to reduce the lies/truth gap to a very short time indeed. The problem though is that we still rely on old methods of information distribution, allowing plenty of time for the worm to establish itself. So what’s needed is a new kind of news service, whereby all other channels are monitored for exaggeration, hyperbole and outright lies – and wrongs put right. The content could be listed (and searchable) by publication, date, author and subject, and displayed in a way that is similar to the original. Reference links to actual facts would be listed, plus links to data and content that shows the thought, associations and possible reasoning behind the… there you see? I’ve gone all Floppy Fantasy Land.
As if we could – or would want to – have access to a dependable news source, so that we could base our political decisions on verifiable knowledge, rather than unverifiable data. That’s just silly. No no no: politics should be all about egos and personalities and who can shout the loudest and who can come up with the jauntiest strap line.
Because lies are reality, aren’t they? Well I certainly hope so, because our entire democratic system is based on them.
You don’t agree? Come and tell me all about it on June 24th.