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Lies, Damned Lies and Politics

8th Jun 2016
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Regardless of political affiliations, the behaviour of all involved in trying to persuade us to stay in/get out of Europe is disgraceful.

It is hard to believe that any reader can still believe a word that they are hearing from any one of the politicians involved in the referendum farrago as increasingly unlikely statistics are trotted out to support the brand.

As a result, the next two weeks are going to be close to unbearable, although music stations and DVDs could have greater popularity than ever before. Things are so bad that I might even be reduced to watching the football.

As the opposition (i.e. other members of his own party) politely keep pointing out George Osborne’s track record as an economic seer lacks credibility. Therefore the figures that he is trotting out to support the case for staying in Europe need to be taken with a pinch of salt. The same applies to the words of wisdom from that nice Mr Cameron.

However, Boris Johnson, Michael Gove and Nigel Farage can give them more than a run for their money, seemingly unashamedly inventing facts to support their case on the hoof with zero justification.

If it weren’t so sad, this would be funny but these people are playing with the futures of every man woman and child in this country and, some might suggest, across Europe.

When it comes to the Labour Party, Jeremy Corbyn seems to have decided that this debate is one to steer clear of, allowing the Conservative great and good to beat the hell out of each other, while looking cooler than he ever has before.

If the Lib Dems still exist, it hasn’t been apparent in recent weeks, while the Scottish Nationalists seem to be happy to take a back seat and allow the result to present a potential springboard to independence.

Frankly, one might argue that we have reached the point where British politicians have stooped so low that perhaps we are better off being ruled by faceless European bureaucrats, even if they do not have the same mandate.

All of this means that the great British public is being asked to make one of the most significant decisions of their collective lives on a subject that few if any understand and without the full facts or very many facts at all.

Indeed, the garbled information that we do receive is making it harder to decide rather than easier. As an example of democracy in action, this is a disaster that is likely to harm our own prospects but also those of future generations.

Whenever I am asked to make predictions prior to a Budget, there is always a sense of fear that a week later somebody will point out what a fool I have made of myself.

In the same light, it would be fascinating for a major media outlet to keep a detailed record of everything said in the run-up to June 23 and then repeat it back to the eventual winners a couple of years from now. That might forever shake our faith in all dodgy politicians (i.e. all politicians give or take the odd misfit), which would be no bad thing.

As an alternative, perhaps it is time to institute a criminal offence of making falls statements during an election or referendum campaign. The penalty need not be unreasonable - how about death?

Replies (5)

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By Tom Herbert
08th Jun 2016 09:03

Great piece Philip. Having covered and followed the referendum from its inception I agree that the discourse has descended to playground level, and getting any meaningful information is pretty tough for the average voter.

I'm disappointed but not surprised by the lack of intervention from opposition parties. Having seen the damage inflicted by Scottish referendum campaigning last year, they're steering clear and hoping to pick up the pieces at the end of it.

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By Tornado
09th Jun 2016 12:58

Yes, a great piece.

I wonder if the Politicians we have today are just a product of the EU Project.

If the buck really stopped at Westminster (and devolved governments), perhaps our politicians would be of a different breed as they would be more accountable to the voters. I note that Mr Cameron tries to avoid interacting with the Public as much as he can, and clearly struggles to answer straightforward questions.

With a more direct link between locally elected MP's and the decisions being made in Parliament that really affect the direction the UK takes, perhaps our Politicians would have a greater sense of moral and real responsibility to those that elected them. I must say, of course that not all MP's are the same and we already have many MP's who are ready to take on the extra responsibility that would be given to them.

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Out of my mind
By runningmate
10th Jun 2016 11:41

Don't worry!
Now that the genie is out of the bottle we can be sure of another Brexit referendum debate within 2 or 3 years (assuming that Remain win this time).
Far from kicking the Brexit issue into touch, as Cameron may have hoped, the enthusiasm of a significant minority of voters for Brexit has promoted the issue to the top of the political agenda - it's 350 million Christmases at once for UKIP (who are going to be the only party to support at the next General Election for anyone who believes in Brexit).
This has been a giant political miscalculation by Call Me Dave!

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mcleod tartan
By K McLeod
11th Jun 2016 09:05

Did you really expect anything else?

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Stuart Walker Yellow Tomato Copy
By winton50
13th Jun 2016 13:35

A great article that pretty much sums up my frustration with the turn that the debate has taken. All rhetoric and no substance.
I will say one thing though - Tim Farron on one of his rare outings gave the best positive case for staying in the EU. Sadly this was then immediately lost in the media maelstrom of yet another personal slanging match.
I wish that there was more of a positive case being made for both camps but it seems that both sides have bought into 'project fear' as a way of trying to sway voters.

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