What happens to truth when its no longer news?
It’s been a difficult couple of weeks for the Goddess Veritas.
Like them or loathe them, you have got to give the Tories some credit for their nerve. They pulled off one of the greatest con-tricks in political history, got away with it, despite our so-called ordinary-man – ‘Call me Dave’ – leader, who never imagined in his dreams being re-elected.
In a new book entitled Cameron at 10: The Inside Story, Sir Anthony Seldon, reveals that on May 7th Cameron “convinced himself that he will not be prime minister in 24 hours”. Apparently, he diverted his anxiety into smartphone rage at his mate Boris the Bully: Johnson had published a list of all the Old Etonians who ended up prime minister, which riled DC and ended up in the following a text: ‘The next PM will be Miliband if you don’t f—ing shut up.’
The Tories subsequent surprising victory was due, I propose, to one cause – and it was not Miliband’s so-called ‘intellectualism’. It was how successful they were in mutilating truth and thereby changing history about the 2008 financial melt-down. They manage to blame it entirely on Gordon Brown and his team and thereby implicated any of his associates with the greatest crime in living memory. So successful was this deception that it became The Truth, in the same way the George Bush and Karl Rove utterly changed reality. Here is what Rove is said to have said to Ron Suskin almost a decade ago now (i.e. no longer news):
“We’re an empire now, and when we act, we create our own reality. And while you’re studying that reality – judiciously, as you will – we’ll act again, creating other new realities, which you can study too, and that’s how things will sort out. We’re history’s actors… and you, all of you, [the public and the press] will be left to just study what we do.”
Back to the Brown lie, which seems to have been largely Osborne’s fabrication: can this kind of hypnotism explain why almost no political commentators seemed able to challenge it?
Finally, in Chris Mullin’s Observer review of Vince Cable’s book, “After the Storm”, we get a reality check. But it’s only a throw-away line on page 287, rather than a headline:
“It is not true that the Labour government grossly mismanaged the public finances in the run-up to the 2008 crisis. There was a small structural deficit, but the Conservative narrative of spendthrift incompetents is simply wrong.”
But neither the public or the media seem interested anymore: it’s no longer news, so who cares?
Well some of us do! My own view that the deceptive lies of the economy and Gordon’s apparent culpability almost render the election a result built on false pretences. And in interviews the BBC – whom the Right accuse of being too lefty – never challenged this awful myth – not even Andrew Marr!
And what is so awful is that you don’t need a Stalin or a Putin to appose this sort of censorship – we do it to ourselves. Where do they learn so seamless duplicity one might ask? Well, you know, don’t you?
Look how we still have to suffer the PR of the boarding industry: The Times Educational Supplement seems to be totally in their pocket. Witness how subtly they manipulate truth:
“Earlier this year, a new book, Boarding School Syndrome, by psychotherapist Joy Schaverien claimed that people who had boarded from an early age suffered long-lasting damage.” Here they briefly allude to the work of decades, and omit to give Joy her Professor status, while effectively dismissing it as psycho-babble by use their Entitlement Illusion authority to put the poor people right again:
“Claims that boarding school pupils will suffer mental health issues and feelings of abandonment are “dangerously inaccurate”, a leading figure in the sector will say today. [in the Headmaster’s Conference] “But to suggest boarding is harmful as an unquestionable fact is simply untrue, inflames opinion rather than raising a legitimate and important issue and simply does not present a full and honest picture of the sector,” said a so-called expert on boarding.
Something similar seems to have happened to Kids Company. It is no secret that the charismatic Camila Batmanghelidjh may have been difficult to work with, but according to writer and ex-employee Nicholas Selby writing in Open Democracy:
“She maintains the intent and stridency of her recent campaigning had been threatening to the government and they responded by briefing the media and instigating a reputational meltdown. No one in the press has taken these claims seriously, and they have now been lost under the deluge of allegations and insinuations against Kids Company.”
Open Democracy, the publishers, of the original piece received a threat of legal action from someone writing for The Spectator so they “had to take it down”. But you may find it somewhere, or I can put you in touch with the author. Here is a summary.
“If her claims are true; however, they reveal a government that is vindictive and more interested in consolidating its power than the plight of the most vulnerable children in our society. They also show a state willing to withdraw government funding and brief the media in order to silence dissent. That ought to be news.”
Agree – but it isn’t anymore, I am afraid and truth gets shoved aside again. Now those who have disowned their vulnerability feel well-empowered to continue on carving up the vulnerable in order to make the country even more friendly to bankers and their chums.
But the ‘truth’ presented in Wounded Leaders suggests that these guys are not what quite they seem. Selby wrote to me recently and added:
“Last year an American psychoanalyst working in Thailand with expats told campaigning journalist Alex Renton, ‘Middle-aged, middle-class Brits who went to your crazy private schools may just about be the most damaged social sub-group I’ve ever come across.’ “
Well then, we should be falling in line and cutting their income benefits, shouldn’t we?