Twisting Facts with a £5M Spin Budget – Crazy!
Twisting facts and a budget for lying
Fact means truth, right? It stands to reason that our politicians’ communications with citizens should be honest and accurate. How else can we make informed choices?
Why, then, do our elected leaders lie and mislead? Clearly, spinning and twisting facts are dishonest and potentially criminal. Yet our government spends over £5 million a year on spin doctors, in other words, distorting and/or ignoring the truth for their own ends.
Without strong watchdog institutions, impunity becomes the very foundation upon which systems of corruption are built. And if impunity is not demolished, all efforts to bring an end to corruption are in vain. — Rigoberta Menchú, Nobel Prize laureate
Theresa May spins away
A few days ago, Theresa May received intense criticism for twisting facts about police funding, and a senior government statistician challenged her. There she was at Prime Minister’s Question Time, misleading people or, to coin a phrase, telling porkies.
Bubble trouble – twisting facts is routine
It’s astonishing that leaders inside the Westminster Bubble present untruths as factual information. It’s a sort of dishonest day’s work, by people insensitive to their fraudulent culture, trapped like flies in amber.
People’s indifference is the best breeding ground for corruption to grow — Delia Ferreira, chair of Transparency International
We know politicians and officials are expected to abide by the highest standards. Spin is an acceptable alternative to the truth, at least in parliament. Yet, there are dishonourable exceptions.
For instance, why did Damian Green fall on his sword? He departed “after an investigation found he misled both Parliament and the public.” It appears there are rules and standards (even if only sometimes applied). Some of these tenets brought the expenses fiasco back to mind.
A petition bites the dust
How did I come to find out about these parliamentary tablets of stone? Simple, I signed a petition to “make it illegal for any UK political figure to knowingly lie or mislead.”
Only 78,468 people signed the petition, and therefore it did not qualify for a parliamentary debate. On, 27 July 2016, the petition ended, and the Cabinet Office emailed me.
The 7 Principles of Public Life – silver bullets. Really?
I was informed in somewhat haughty language that “the seven principles of public life apply to those who hold public office”. Furthermore, “the principles also form the basis of ethical standards expected of holders of public office” (poor old Damian).
We’ve seen over time that countries that have the best economic growth are those that have good governance, and good governance comes from freedom of communication. It comes from ending corruption. It comes from a populace that can go online and say, This politician is corrupt, this administrator or this public official is corrupt. – Ramez Naam
We’ve got a little list
The Cabinet Office affirmed the Seven Principles of Public life, namely:
What a great list. How seldom lived by.
Twisting facts, Jim, but not as we know it
If you look at great human civilizations, from the Roman Empire to the Soviet Union, you will see that most do not fail simply due to external threats but because of internal weakness, corruption, or a failure to manifest the values and ideals they espouse – Cory Booker
As a result of Damian Green’s departure and the reasons for it, I’m wondering if our PM should be confronted for twisting facts and resign.
Boris Johnson should follow suit with his financial claims on the Brexit bus. Gove too.
Then there’s Liam Fox and his unfortunate tweet.
Is such contempt acceptable, never mind the dishonesty? UK citizens deserve better. How confident are you that we’ll get the truth?
© Mac Logan