Lies, damned lies and politicians
We can thank Benjamin Disraeli, the 19th century British Prime Minister for coining the phrase, ‘lies damned lies and statistics’ but it could be Boris Johnson who becomes associated with the more updated version.
As a Manchester based public relations professional for over 35 years I have worked in all industry sectors from charity to consumer, from public sector to professional - and believe me when it comes to lies, untruths, fake news and spin, I could tell you tales that would make your toes curl!
And so I like many others, will be watching developments started by Marcus J Ball from Norfolk who could find his way into the history books as the man responsible for making it illegal for politicians to deliberately lie and/or mislead the public.
He argues that Boris Johnson’s Brexit campaign statement that “we send £350 million a week to the EU” was a lie and since Johnson remained an MP during that time, he should be tried for the offence of “misconduct in public office”
Should the case go to crown court and actually be tried remains to be seen – but imagine if it did - and imagine if Boris was found guilty. Politicians around the UK and indeed the world wouldn’t know what had hit them. Talk about unicorns.
Our Manchester public relations team has been thinking about who else could be in the dock.
Some readers may remember back in 2003 the big debate around whether the UK should join the Euro, people like Ken Clarke warned of the collapse of British civilization if we failed to do so. (Guilty)
Tony Blair would have to be first in the dock for his ‘weapons of mass destruction’ claim which actually led to war in Iraq. (Guilty)
Remember Nick Clegg who promised to oppose any increase in students’ tuition fees and ultimately scrap them. (Guilty)
And, David Cameron warned if we did vote leave there would be mass unemployment and even a third world war. (Guilty) He also stated categorically that whatever the result of the Brexit referendum, the result would be implemented. (Send him down!)
It looks like we are going to need more prisons.
Joking aside, with so much going on in politics this is an unwelcome and expensive distraction. It’s no great shock to learn that politicians lie, but the public aren’t stupid. We can work things out for ourselves. No matter how much we would love to see certain politicians behind bars, in the unlikely event this did get to crown court, it could result in closed political debate and argument, which ultimately would lead to less democracy.