Monday, 14 September 2009

You can't lie forever

Eventually, the lies will catch up with you. They always do. Lying is all about the creation of a false reality; the trick to being "successful" (if you can call it that) is in ensuring that your false reality meshes perfectly with the real one at the observable edges.

The problem with lying (well, the practical problem) is that over time, reality develops and the observable edge is pushed back. You then need to keep developing your false reality to keep up. Eventually you reach the point where there is an irreconcilable difference or (more commonly) you forget some aspect of the false reality that you invented a while back and utter a new lie that contradicts it.

Mandelson has now fallen into that latter trap. And it is, for someone who has viscerally hated his techniques for the last 12 years, deeply satisfying. On the Today programme this morning, Mandy defended Labour's new line that cuts will be made where possible and prudent without harming services. He denied that this was a change of approach by Labour, saying:

“You know, I did ask [Nick Robinson] recently when exactly the prime minister had defined this simply and crudely as Labour investment versus Tory cuts, and Nick was unable to [put] his finger on such a quote.”
Oh Dear. Big mistake. Not only does half the population distinctly remember Gordon defining the difference as Labour investment versus Tory cuts, Nick Robinson had no difficulty in listing plenty of them. Let's quickly check:

On 17 June 2009:

Prime Minister: "The first thing we are absolutely sure of is that, regardless of economic circumstances, employment, investment and inflation, the Conservatives will cut expenditure by 10%. The right hon. gentleman said it himself last week - Tory cuts versus Labour investment."
And again:

Prime Minister: "The issue is that the Conservatives will cut current expenditure in real and cash terms. It is exactly what I said - Tory cuts, Labour investment."
This, of course, is not enough for the liars. They claim that Gordon was quoting Cameron (believe that if you will). So Nick goes on; also on 17 June was the quote:

"His is the party of cuts; we are the party of investment"
As Nick Robinson points out, this doesn't sound like a quote from the Tory leader. Brown also said:

"We are investing to get ourselves out of the recession; the Opposition would cut, and they would make the recession last longer. That would lead to higher debts and higher deficits that would have to be spent for. As for spending beyond 2011, the right hon. Gentleman knows the truth: he wants to spend less - 10% less in most Departments - whereas we want to spend more."
No use of the magic words, but the meaning "Tory cuts versus Labour investment" could not be clearer.

This, it seems, is all that is left for Labour. Their only hope; lies.

Update: Channel 4 FactCheck says that on a scale of 0 (largely checks out) to 5 (absolutely no basis in fact), Labour are at 4.5...

(with thanks to the Spectator for Mandy's quote and the link to Nick Robinson)

1 comment:

  1. It's farcical! But also a measure of how quickly the debate has changed and how "behind the curve" the government is. I like the way Mandy is quoting the 1997 manifesto as if Labour hadn't been in power doing the exact opposite for twelve years!