Monday 26 November 2018

Building the lie

There is a key similarity between Trump and May – they are both inveterate liars.  Towards the end of this piece by Ian Dunt on, he brutally and surgically lists a series of lies which she has spun on Brexit ever since taking office.  Another similarity is that the lies they tell are so obvious and blatant, so easy to expose.  And a third is that they both expect us to believe them simply because of the positions that they hold.  There is a key difference as well, however.  I don’t know whether Trump actually believes what he’s saying to be true (can he really be that stupid?), but he gives a pretty good impression of believing it.  Our poor old Prime Minister never looks like she believes a single word of what she is saying but carries on because she can see no alternative that doesn’t bring everything crashing down around her.
Her latest missive is another example.  It is riddled with lies and half-truths, as has been pointed out elsewhere.  It’s hard to find a sentence in the entire letter which meets the standard of being the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth.  Yet some will still believe it.  She is still repeating the nonsense that the extra money for the health service is coming from the payments we would otherwise be making to Brussels for example.
There are perhaps three factors in which people can be persuaded to believe the opposite of the truth.  The first is that the lie is convincingly told, but she has failed miserably on that score.  The second is that the lie agrees with what people want to believe.  For those who believe that Brexit will bring nothing but benefit and that anyone who says anything to the contrary is just refusing to accept the result and engaging in Project Fear, then of course there’s a Brexit dividend.  The third is to start with a small truth; some of the biggest lies of all can be built on just one or two small truths.
In the case of the boost for the NHS, there are two small truths which are indisputable.  The first is that spending on the NHS is going to increase and the second is that we will no longer be making payments to the EU budget.  The lie is in linking the two, because it assumes both that the act of Brexit will in no way reduce government revenues and that nothing which is currently being paid for out of our EU contributions needs to be paid for by another means.  I mean, it’s not as if farmers really need payments, is it, to select just one example?  In the simplistic terms in which some people see the world, if the money in a particular line of the budget is not going to be spent on the EU, then it is ‘obviously’ available for other uses.  Obviously.
To use a simple analogy, a family could one day decide to stop using a particular supermarket for all its groceries.  All the money which they currently spend there is then available for other things – perhaps erecting a tall fence around the garden to keep out the neighbours.  The flaw is obvious to most of us – the family still needs groceries.  It’s less obvious to Brexiteers though, because they can simply demand that the supermarket continues to provide the groceries without being paid – and even threaten not to pay the bill for last months’ supplies unless they agree, on the basis that they’d be getting nothing extra in return for the payment.  The supermarket would probably respond that its business model doesn’t quite work that way: ‘you’re a valued customer, but no payment = no groceries’.  That, according to the Brexiteer would be just a negotiating tactic, because ‘they need us more than we need them’, and in any event, if they haven’t gone to the supermarket by one minute before closing time, the supermarket will be begging them to go and collect their free groceries.  How else will they get the Prosecco off their shelves?  They might even try telling the supermarket that the household held a vote and agreed that it should receive free groceries so free groceries must be provided.  The family has spoken; the will of the family is clear.
A household trying this approach would probably end up starving, but at least they’d be doing so behind a good strong fence.  And they might even have blue passes to get in and out.


dafis said...

watched some of the pathetic posturing on BBC & ITV news broadcasts this evening. About the only truth ever uttered by these morons is that "No Deal" is better than a "Bad Deal". However the old cliche about having their cake, the cherries, and any other trimmings still applies.

Much as I dislike those miserable jokers that run the EU they have acted out this 2+ years of "negotiations" with very little theatricals. The U.K's team have worked their way through a whole array of negotiating "positions" without ever showing real commitment to anything, red lines have been erased only to be drawn elsewhere. If they were going to be that pliable then the last thing they should have contemplated was to depend on the support of a party whose catch phrase is "NO SURRENDER" always bellowed mightily just in case anybody didn't quite catch it.

No doubt we will be subjected to lots more of May twitching violently as she emphasises whatever new script is stuck in front of her. Maybe just maybe it will all crumble into bits on the floor of the House and U.K will be unable to propose anything other than a No Deal. Then the massive irony of EU turning and telling U.K to buzz off, their membership having expired. Is anyone prepared for that outcome ?
Not envisaged because most of the Commons haven't really contemplated a scenario which could accelerate the breakup of their blessed Union.

Spirit of BME said...

SOCK! HORROR! -Hold the press, you have revealed that those in politics lie.
Forget Donald John Trump and Mrs May(-Day) for a minute and look closer to home.
On the first day, Plaid members at Westminster and the Assembly, declare their loyalty and allegiance to the Sovereign Lady the Queen and her descendants and all claim to be republicans. I suspect the majority of the Labour party are also guilty of such an act and it can be extended to those who stand for election to these bodies, even if they do no win – does that ring a bell.