A Story by Peter Rogerson

An essay concerning truth in politics


Like quite a lot of people, I get the distinct feeling that our politics might be in the doldrums, and that’s no place for politics to be. There’s no imagination, no real progress, in the doldrums, just stagnation and eventual death.

So politics is dying.

The main reason is obvious, of course. Our system (not a bad one when the populace is represented by one of two political parties) starts to disintegrate when more than two concepts of the future are put into the mix, and eventual results, unbeatable when two parties are involved, suddenly stops reflecting the will of the populace and becomes the sort of mathematical mess that schoolboys might snigger about behind the bike sheds when they’re not gasping on a purloined cigarette.

So there’s an imbalance and those wishing to purify British politics never tire of providing us with graphs and anecdotes to prove it, but that’s not quite as important as the most horrible monster in the cage.

And that is the essence of truth. In fact, commentators seem quite happy to describe ours as a “post-truth age”. What a load of baloney! People have always told lies because it’s a convenient way of converting the ignorant (remember that … the ignorant). The thing is, what with the multiplicity of communication (rolling news on the television, social media until it congeals into a thesaurus of meaningless gobbledegook blogs, the press for what it’s worth and all the rest), lies that once took a respectable amount of time to permeate society until they are proved to be what they were and could be chuckled at and then ignored by most now take microseconds to be on everyone’s laptop or television set. So lies get spread so quickly they’re hard to stop.

And bearing in mind the fact that quite a lot of people take a tabloid newspaper (for the sudoku, for the crossword, for the pretty pictures of sweet young ladies, but never for the news) and have been unwittingly subjected to the drip-drip-drip of |Murdoch’s Sun prejudices or the Mail’s xenophobia or the Express’s fascinating attitude to the word news over as many years as they can remember, a large sector of the population is pre-prepared to believe the political lies churned out on that corner of the mass media.

There are clever people in charge of politics. They’re the creator of lies, the fabricators of falsehoods, the artists in charge of deceit. Boris “bananas” Johnson is one of them. Remember his account in the Telegraph about straight bananas which entered the lexicon of what the masses believe. You know, the EU was going to insist on straight bananas? Remember at the now hated Referendum of not much more than a year ago how £350 million was going to be channelled every week into the NHS instead of to Brussels? And can you recall how it was asserted that the nasty EU insisted that we took in an endless stream of immigrants and we weren’t told it was actually our own government that refused to implement rules that other member states did implement? Rules that did precisely what the liars suggested the EU wouldn’t allow? And sovereignty … that word was used a huge number of times because we’ve lost it. Pardon me? We never did! But the billionaires behind the Tory party were afraid that they’d lost influence because it’s harder to convince cynical foreigners that black is the same as white or puce the same as emerald (there’re no racial undertones intended here) than the puppets in your own party, in Westminster.

All you have to do is tell lies. Look what it did in America during their presidential campaign! And if lies need an undercurrent of a threat, mention Putin and Russia.

What’s to be done, then?

That’s easy. If a politician tells a lie in an election campaign, even unwittingly, then it should be ten years hard labour when he’s caught out, and he will be because just about everything a politician says will turn up on YouTube sooner or later, and when it’s in an undoctored video clip it’s got to be true, hasn’t it? And if he (or she) goes on to tell another lie, what’s wrong with life in the chokey?

All this might sound draconian, but the lying’s got to be stopped. We stop children from lying, don’t we? So why do we accept that Nigel Farage can say what the hell he likes, twisting and warping the truth until it fits his prejudices? And the press. I believe in the freedom of an honest press to tell it as it is, not as it isn’t, and the three aforementioned newspapers are quite happy to print huge lies in a disproportionately enormous font and when challenged, print a teensy-weensy little correction somewhere nobody looks. That must be stopped too. Just as I believe it is the duty of politicians to tell the truth, so must our informers, the press, the television news stations, be obliged to help us make our choices by providing us with facts rather than fiction. And I include reporting all, not part, of the news. Not leaving out opposing points of view or editing the truth until it’s just about a lie.

It would be a better world, wouldn’t it, if, when we nip into the polling booth to put our cross on the voting form, we do it in an informed way. Then, maybe we could start to address the other frailties in our democratic system.

© Peter Rogerson 16.07.17

© 2017 Peter Rogerson

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I agree Peter.
"Just as I believe it is the duty of politicians to tell the truth, so must our informers, the press, the television news stations, be obliged to help us make our choices by providing us with facts rather than fiction. "
Media control the world and rich men control the media. Hard to know the truth from a lie. Here in my home state of Michigan. I'm told. The state is doing good. This year. Half of the businesses closed down near me. Thank you for sharing your thoughts and words.

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Added on July 16, 2017
Last Updated on July 16, 2017
Tags: truth, lies, politics


Peter Rogerson
Peter Rogerson

Forest Town, Nottinghamshire, United Kingdom

I am 74 years old, but as a single dad with four children that I had sole responsibility for I found myself driving insanity away by writing. At first it was short stories (all lost now, unfortunately.. more..