Politicians have been lying to us. Yes, I know, you’re hardly going to be surprised by that. But I think they have started lying in a new way.
And this is true of every single one of them. If you know of a zealot who would tell you their party or favourite politician doesn’t do this, tell them to sit down before they hurt themselves.
Politicians have become more and more adept at not answering questions over the past few decades. It hasn’t always been like this, I’m sure I recall Ted Heath and Harold Wilson giving straight answers.
But today’s politicians attack the question as not appropriate, or say they’ve already answered (though they haven’t). Sometimes they start to answer, but don’t finish the answer. Sometimes they tell you what’s not going to happen when they were asked what is going to happen.
Some say “Let me be perfectly clear”, then are anything but clear. They couch answers in such woolly terms that you can’t tell if they have answered or not. Sometimes (and this is my least favourite) they give a quick laugh as if we proles have failed to grasp the nebulous nuances they, with their exalted intellect, must wrestle with.
But several have recently employed a new tactic. I’m going to call it “overviewing”. When asked a question they don’t like, they don’t even try to answer. Instead, they give a recap, an overview of the situation.
Question: “What are you doing about the Covid epidemic?”
Answer: “Well, the epidemic has been with us for several months and it is spreading (insert frightening statistic from some other country). And we have taken steps to counter it (insert description of steps from several months ago). We are indebted to the excellent work of the NHS (insert example that appears to take credit for the excellent work). And we fully appreciate the seriousness of the situation (insert any statistic about testing, tracing, or . . . well, anything really!)”
And then they carry on with the history lesson. They weave this woeful waffle until the interviewer has run out of time in his or her news segment. No doubt they then slope off, congratulating themselves on a job well not done. They are using words to hide truth, not explain truth.
Plain English, in the political sphere, died a long time ago. You don’t believe me? When did you last hear a politician, any politician, say, “I failed”?
Word of the week
Vague, or ill-defined. EG: “The preening politician’s ideals, honour, honesty, and level of alcohol consumption, were nebulous.”
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