‘Post-truth’ a polite way of defining telling lies

www.theguardian.com/books/2016/nov/15/post-truth-named-word-of-the-year-by-oxford-dictionaries

The Guardian has the story on its web site – see link above

A rather sad reflection on our times me thinks when ‘objective facts are less influential in shaping public opinion than appeals to emotion and personal belief’ or you could say beggar the real facts these are ‘my’ facts.

With thanks to Keith Page for spotting the Guardian article.

Brexit – MP’s seem to be starting to sober up

Whether you voted in or out in the EU Referendum surely you want to know what the outcome and consequences are when the UK has gone through it’s leaving negotiations.

After all we were only asked whether we wanted to leave or not; the consequences of leaving were speculated on during the referendum campaign and have been talked about since but we don’t actually know what they will be with any clarity.

On that basis I have always felt that we need to look at the deal that comes out of the negotiation process to decided whether it is acceptable or not. And talking to some Leavers they seem to think that too.

Yes of course there are leavers who still would want to leave the EU no matter what the consequences are but I don’t think there are many folks with such an extreme view.

So it’s nice to see that MP’s in the Westminister hothouse that is so cut off from the realities of real life have started to say hang on a minute we need to know what the deal looks like before we go any further.

Now that’s what I call common sense. Otherwise it’s like being asked do you want to go on holiday, to which you reply yes. But then you are told that the holiday will be to Siberia in the dead of winter. Well I would guess that the majority would have second thoughts about that holiday as it’s not the warm Mediterranean one we had in our mind.

Yes I want a say in where we are going to not just a say in where we are leaving from.

Why do we allow ourselves to be lied to?

I am sure that the vast majority of folks reading this will say I don’t want to lied to. But…….

And the but is this. We are all lied to on a regular basis by the media, politicians, businesses etc. Some lie openly but most lie in a way that some of us will not detect because the lies told feed our prejudices. So, in my case, if I hear a story slagging off Yorkshire County Cricket Club I will want to believe it as a Notts supporter. Now are you getting my drift?

But what if the lies we are told are about far more important things than a sporting allegiances? Without doubt we have been told lies [unless I am lying to you now of course] about the EU, immigration, the NHS, tuition fees, the Iraq war, taxation etc. etc. etc. in recent years.

Beware someone who tells you something that they know you are likely to want to agree with because it may well not be true, particularly if they are selling you something, trying to get your support or indeed wanting your vote.

Look at it this way newspapers play to the prejudices of their readers. They work on the basis that if we tell our readers something often enough they will believe it and repeat it as fact. Some of the more disreputable politicians do the same thing, but we know that don’t we?

I was once told by a politician that you need to find out what people are most upset about and then keep sending them messages (e-mails, leaflets etc.) that repeat those concerns and that whether those concerns are real or not does not matter.

Our problem is that with our busy lives we do not have the time, or say we don’t have the time, to find out the facts before we take a stance on things. We repeat what our family, friends and neighbours tell us without question at times and that is how falsehoods become ‘facts’ in public mind.

You could say that we are too lazy to check things out when someone we trust gives us an easy answer that fits with our prejudices, but that’s exactly how we are had by newspapers, politicians and businesses. They all put a lot of time and money into how messages are played to us so that we will react as they wish us to.

So if Auntie Mary or Uncle Fred for example is hooked by a dodgy message or ‘fact’ and then repeats it to the rest of his/her gullible family, who take it on board, then that dodgy message is spread just as the originator of it intended or at least hoped.

When polled we say that we hate lying politicians, rip-off business people and that we don’t trust what the media tells us but the fact that we are had quite often indicates that we are not actually very good at knowing when we are being lied to. This is particularly the case when we hear a ‘fact’ that we want to believe but is in fact a lie or a gross distortion of the truth.

Let’s look at few examples:-

* The NHS – we all now seem to take it as fact that we were lied to during the EU Referendum about £350m per week going into the NHS if we voted to leave the EU. Indeed, the very people who told that huge fib have openly now said it is not now going to happen! A big lie indeed.

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* Tuition Fees – This one sunk Nick Clegg (and rightly so) as he negotiated away his pledge not to increase them and indeed to scrap them. Strangely though some of us who were angry with him then voted for alternative politicians in the Labour or Conservative parties who were the instigators and promoters of Tuition Fees! So we were upset that Clegg had said one thing and done the opposite but by our actions we endorsed the policy of tuition fees. Now there’s a odd muddle for you.

* Taxation – It probably started under Thatcher but certainly Blair, Brown and Cameron built on it i.e. that we can have low taxation and great public services. And guess what, we can’t! We even had some recent nonsense from the Tories about a law to make it illegal for Parliament to increase some taxes. Their stance is built on the fact that we don’t like paying taxes so we like a message that says we don’t have to. We are also distracted by media messages that tell us that our taxes are wasted by fat-cat public sector bosses – we like that message too. That message may well be true at the margins but those that spread the message intend us to think that public money is wasted by hundreds of billions of Pounds each year. We want to believe it, so many of us do. Of course, this one is difficult for us to check out so the media and politicians who peddle that message are on to a winner.

If we keep believing what media outlets, businesses, politicians etc. tell us without checking things out, whilst trying to keep both an open mind and sceptical inquiring outlook, we will keep getting had! But are we too busy or too lazy to become better informed and less gullible?

Brexit ruling: BBC says Lord Chancellor backs judiciary amid row – Really?

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37883576

The BBC has the story on its web site – see link above

I worry about the BBC and its lack of balls these days. It seems frightened of the right wing of British politics and we should all be concerned about that.

The BBC was a poor if not appalling commentator on the EU Referendum failing to expose lies that were told and often ducking the major issues that the electorate wanted to know the facts about by simply saying one side says this and the other says the opposite.

Now the BBC has this completely misleading headline which gives the impression that the Lord Chancellor is backing the judiciary when she is being little more than a fence sitter in the face a nationalistic and fascist media. Her job is to step in when our independent judiciary is under attack for defending the sovereignty of Parliament. After significant pressure, not least from some Tory MP’s, all she has managed is a vague generalised statement that means little.

“weak statement from a weak cabinet minister”

She and her Government are cowering behind the sofa as our right wing, out of control press tries to undermine the whole basis of our democratic system and the BBC knows that. We fought a civil war to guarantee the sovereignty of Parliament now it is now being undermined by our Government and press!

Admittedly the BBC does qualify somewhat better the actual position further down the piece but you get the impression that our BBC is struggling these days to really tackle big political issues with the tenacity it once did because it fears Government will attack it if it does.

We live in very dangerous times when the sovereignty of Parliament is under threat from Government and the right wing press and when our leading independent broadcaster also seems to be cowering behind the sofa. If this process carries on we are on our way to being a totalitarian fascist state which pretends to be a democracy. What’s even more worrying is that Labour, as the official opposition, seems to be looking for a spot behind the sofa too!

Brexit – the trouble is it means many differing things to the Brexiters

www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-37872899

The BBC has the story of the latest Tory MP to resign over Brexit – see link above.

The trouble is the Brexiters did not and still do not have anything like a common platform via which they can pursue their many, varied and indeed conflicting objectives.

Of course our Prime Minister has told us that ‘Brexit means Brexit’, which is about all she has had to say on the matter in public. She does that because she understands that it means massively differing things but wants to keep all Brexiters on board. However, that’s like trying to keep the supporters of 100 different football teams supporting football generally when the majority of them are actually going to see their beloved team relegated whether it plays well or not.

And what of Her Majesty’s Official Opposition, well they half heartedly supported staying in the EU and now seem to half heartedly support leaving it! Personally I think Corbyn has had a bad press but the poor fellow does not seem to have any idea which way he wants Labour to go with the EU.

So what does Brexit mean? Well that’s like trying to define infinity!

May’s appalling attempt to bypass Parliament is illegal

www.independent.co.uk/voices/high-court-ruling-article-50-brexit-eu-referendum-parliamentary-vote-leaving-european-union-british-a7395966.html

The Independent has the story on its web site – see link above

Telling quote from the article:-

‘The Lord Chief Justice of England has stopped the UK’s Prime Minister from trying to overturn the result of the Civil War. That war, from 1642 to 1646 and which left one in 10 Englishmen dead in muddy fields, established the sovereignty of Parliament, which Theresa May’s Attorney General sought to circumvent by using an arcane power called the Royal Prerogative to trigger Article 50.

As he should have known, this power cannot be used to repeal an existing law’ and neither should any democrat wish it to be!

With thanks to Roy Connell for the lead to this posting