From the top job to opposition parties, from the ineffectual reporting of “untruths” and “unlawful actions” by the government in a media who, wholesale, sanitise the actions of the inept in power, the United Kingdom suffers from an insidious sickness: political lies. Here, today, a stark reminder that this should not be normal: that we deserve better from politicians, from our media- and from each other.
Rwanda, ‘The migrant problem’ and fundamental falsehoods
Rishi Sunak’s government is currently trying to re-sanitise itself- not quite a return to the norm; for example, the “party of law and order” is pushing, through sub-standard MP’s like Jonathan Gullis or public liabilities like Suella Braverman, to break human rights laws, and the “party of fiscal responsibility” keeps haemorrhaging leaks about misappropriation and misspending from PPE to fraud write-offs to wasted money on a brexit festival: it’s more of a re-branding. The twin forks of lawfulness and lawlessness, fiscal idiocy and fiscal responsibility show a party divided. And even when you legalise disgusting plans like “the Rwanda plan” otherwise known as government sanctioned human trafficking, its legality takes nothing from its repugnance.
Using the perceived face of the public, MP’s like Gullis push the angry, nonsensical and demonstrably false opinions of a British public that simply does not exist: a majority of the British public, contrary to the home secretary’s claims of yesterday, support refugee protections along with broad reforms in the UK’s operation, including opening further migrant processing centres in the UK. Remember also that at last count around 77% of claims were upheld, meaning deporting to Africa will cost much more as those who are approved are eventually settled regardless.
The furthering of this agenda is more unneeded proof of a government in tailspin: a plan grandiose enough to snare headlines and useless enough that the perceived “problem” with migrancy will continue: for those in doubt of this, let us take a moment to ask whether a roulette spin of possible deportation will deter people so desperate to try that they will climb into a half deflated, crowded boat and sail across a choppy sea, running the risk of an incident much like the one which occurred last week leading to death.
The government is lying about this plan. It will not deter migrants. It will not increase safety. It will not prevent people trafficking, and is, in fact, the legalisation of trafficking persons by a government more wrapped around ideological opposition to refugees than invested in border management. And this is by design: the more the government and media demonise migrants, the more the unthinking masses attribute their issues to these migrants rather than a government who has held power for twelve years, has had an overwhelming majority for three.
If the government truly wished to do so, it could prevent migrancy in almost totality: it does not, because migrants are a useful scapegoat: but how many migrants have voted for your taxes to go up and prevented runaway inflation?
And one must stop for a moment to marvel at the not funny but incredulous laughter inspiring parity and parody of a government who declares its most diverse cabinet in history, whilst preventing families like their own from settling peacefully here.
The government continues to spin the pop-culture issues like mass migration, the culture wars (from trying to strip royal titles from those they perceive as inferior despite this flying in the face of “chosen by God” to blaming the actions of sick, perverted men on transgender women and more) because they must, to maintain power, divert blame.
Braverman, when questioned on the fiscal irresponsibility of her Rwanda deportation scheme along with its general success prospects, accused her opponent, an SNP politician, of becoming “ideological”- an irony. Founded evidence shows that the UK has failed to create safe routes for refugees in key areas across the world- and this was shown in a stark and gut-churning select committee in which Braverman, who has aspired to the Home Secretary role for many months, who left in disgrace after leaking privileged information, who was mysteriously reappointed by Sunak despite this- could not provide a single safe and legal route for a high risk refugee. An ideology is a system of beliefs to which you cling even in the face of evidence that it is incorrect- and Braverman clings to the belief that refugees, not tory ineptitude, are the net cause of UK issues. But this is not unique: other areas of the UK in crisis are easily shown to have been failed continually by the tories in the last years and yet the issues in these areas are continually attributed elsewhere.
One must ask at what point the Conservatives do plan to take account for their leadership.
Failing the NHS-a capitalist choice
The NHS is always going to lose money. It’s clear that you must face that fact: healthcare is not, at its core, a money spinner despite the clear necessity of its’ duties. It is not a luxury, but a fundamental right- and in the UK it is currently neither.
The government’s determination to try to wring profit from the NHS is disturbing. There are pragmatic models of healthcare governance which show that fiscal competition can sometimes be a driver of increased health outcomes- but studies like this fail in totality to account for the humanity – and, worryingly, human cost of life or quality of life- behind these studies.
Outsourcing of healthcare may, as Wes Streeting, labour health secretary, says, help the NHS to function if done on a limited and short term basis- but Streeting’s determined positioning of those ideologically opposed to healthcare privatisation as “the real conservatives” misses out on the fundamental reasons behind why the NHS is lauded as a brilliant institution. Healthcare is not and should not be a for profit model, and ensuring that any costed privatised health brought in has no say in the NHS and simply provides the service at minimal taxpayer cost, should be seen as a sign of the utter dereliction the tories have run the service to.
Whilst tory ineptitude may force us, through lack of options, to outsource- one has to ask whether you can call for wholesale reforms whilst also giving temporary control of NHS services to the highest bidder: to fix problems, one needs a holistic approach; outsourcing services is a blocker on long term observance of those services and their issues, which will prevent resolution.
Worse still, those in direct power are determined to stand in the way of NHS improvement: diverting blame, obfuscating stories about medical staff leaving due to exhaustion and a basic reluctance to fairly compensate highly trained workers in literally lifesaving roles have led us to a crucial moment: the UK’s public must decide whether they stand with workers who somehow dragged us to this stage during the pandemic even with its existing systemic issues, or to capitulate to the double headed hydra of governmental malice and a media whose toe-point-switching of support and demonisation of NHS staff can only be described with a term I normally loathe: gaslighting.
The government has even openly resorted to employing bots on social media to spam disinformation:
Governmental think tanks align around certain core ideas and use social media to openly lie to the public’s face whilst wearing the mask of “one of us”. Where exactly are the people who see these tweets and believe them and are then shown evidence of their falsehood? You would think that being lied to on an industrial scale- as we were by Matt Hancock when a child was treated for illness on the floor of my local hospital which I used to work at, would rankle: but instead the public greedily devours the government line even when it’s proven to be from a poisoned pen: why?
Even here though, lying about the causation of issues does not reach the depths to which the conservatives are sinking when it comes to political lying and it’s enabling.
Jacob Rees-Mogg has now been brought so low as to actively lie to his own supporters about the government’s disastrous attempt to wrench us from the European Union, enabled of course by those denizens of internet nonsense who cannot bring themselves to accept their government of choice’s ineptitude. Rees-Mogg was recently seen on Question Time, belaying the worries of a wine import expert, a lifelong conservative voter, of some 30 years and confirming that the man’s founded experiences and factual stories of increased difficulty negatively impacting his business: even going so far as to openly disregard the man’s qualms. He also confirmed that the NHS was given it’s £350 million a week post brexit and yet no figures attesting to this can be found: one suspects that if £19.2 billion had suddenly been injected into the NHS, we would not be quibbling over a pay rise for nursing staff.
Brexit, of course, is the shibboleth for success for both sides of the government as they try to style themselves as moderates: from the conservatives shouting louder and louder that brexit is a success as the UK slides further and further down and to the right of the Overton window and the fiscal charts of success to the leader of the opposition promising that we will “make a success” of brexit, one has to wonder why everyone fails to mention the terms and conditions attached- with fair winds, good economy, no wars, no governmental malfeasance, it would take about 35 to 40 years for the UK to re-establish itself as a world leading economy outside the EU. I will be 70 to 75 when this happens, and I don’t believe the children in my family, some literally toddlers, should have to wait until they are my age or older just to see some parity with pre-brexit economics.
The mainstreaming of governmental lies, despite popular recitation by those like Peter Osborne in his book, “The Assault on Truth”, far predates this conservative iteration: from the Falklands debacle and pitting the government against the miners to the long established roots of the word “tory” (allegedly coming from an old Irish word meaning “thief”), governmental policy has been long shaped by those willing to lie to and mislead the public. It is tacitly accepted by populations globally that we are lied to on an industrial scale by the government and that they are aided and abetted by media like Sky, like supposedly independent channels like GB News (whose shady donor links should make anyone scorn the word independent)- even by the BBC who are constantly lamented by the right as too left wing and too right wing by the left- the fact is, I do not want the BBC to be “more left wing”, I want it to be more honest. Can the right say the same?
Political lying is as in-your-face-obvious as the chaos that suffuses this current government. Division in the tories is sown openly across the pages of the newspapers, divided now themselves amongst what to report to prevent open rebellion by a beleaguered nation.
To begin to restore political trust, one must begin with political honesty- for one does not trust that which is not honest. So if we hope to regain control of the runaway train of British political discourse and progress someone must wrest the wheel from those who would seek to plow us through more obfuscation.
In the far flung recesses of my mind I long for a government who aligns with me on issues like the mass taxation of the hyper rich, the reformation of the NHS in a “post” pandemic Britain, the forging of strong links to our neighbours, the protection of immigrants- on prevention of landlords abusing the populace and assisting the young in being able to afford property, in modernising education and in standing up to the megaphone dullardry of bigotry who complains about cancellation from multiple mainstream media; but for the moment I look at the status quo, at a nation devouring its own tail just to avoid hunger pangs and I’m willing to settle for a government who just doesn’t lie to me every day, a government who doesn’t throw ideological shrapnel into the face of the population- and most of all, a government committed to bettering the lives of the citizens of the UK.
Once upon a time I’ve never lived, governments supposedly did what was right for their people: currently we subsist under a government determined to recycle money amongst themselves, demonise the innocent, divide the nation and scatter our resources amongst themselves as they angrily ask you why you should have to share with strangers.
Until we begin to steadfastly call out mass political lies, like Mark Francois blithely giving out vaccine misinformation in parliament, to our own allies continuing to push the Big Lie of Brexit (as my good friend Aid Thompsin now calls it), the normalisation of lies will continue- and until people realise that politicians, our representatives, lying to us is not “for our own good” but “at our own detriment”, the United Kingdom will continue to be run like a racket by those whose only success is to pillage the nation whilst blaming the innocent for their bulging pockets.