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Brown and lying

“Brown’s claim that he’d increase public service spending year after year is not an exaggeration, it is a lie. I cannot think of any modern Prime Minister who has based his strategy on a demonstrable lie – but Brown thinks no one can add up enough to expose him. After all, he got away with it as Chancellor. Why not now? As I have said before I believe the internet will hound him. We have infinite space to print the tables, the data, the proof. The table above spells it out, and we will keep reprinting it every time Brown repeats his lie. He is going for broke – in every way.”

Fraser Nelson, continuing his relentless and admirable campaign to track the sheer, barefaced dishonesty of Gordon Brown.

Of course, politicians have always, with varying degrees, told lies or only partial truths, and Brown is hardly an original in this regard. Arguably the greatest lie, or set of lies, told to the UK electorate were told in the period leading up to the UK’s entry into the-then EEC, later European Union: namely, that our entry into the Community was in no way a loss of national sovereignty. In fact I am sure that I recall reading – sorry, cannot find the source – such pro-EEC journalists as Hugo Young saying that it was admirable and necessary for the likes of the late Edward Heath (curses be upon him) to bullshit the public.

Even so, Brown’s denial of his own budget arithmetic, when it can be so easily checked, is a jaw-dropper. But what is encouraging is that parts of the media, even the fairly lefty bits, are not buying the line that there will be no cuts in spending over the next few years.

Of course, if Brown is refusing to make spending cuts, then I guess that fits with the whole “scortched earth” idea that he has: he knows Labour will lose the next election, probably quite badly, but out of a mixture of low cunning and sheer evil, he wants to bequeath a terrible inheritance upon the next government.

Yes, I said evil. Mr Brown is an evil man. In fact his invocation of his puritanical Scottish religion is part proof of that.

9 comments to Brown and lying

  • thefrollickingmole

    Im still appalled that Brown appear to be able to muster about 30% of the votes cast in the last elections (much less in many areas of course).

    Just what would he have to do for that drooling core vote to finally fall away?
    Bugger an altar boy on live TV?
    Declare himself Lord high Poobah?
    Stick undies on his head and go Wibble?

    How in the name of all thats holy could anyone vote for a person as demostably incompitent as Brown?

  • guy herbert

    I fear Fraser is wrong. The internet makes little difference, because to read tables in infinite space takes motivation, that no one not already skeptical of Brown’s honesty will have. Brown’s bet that the general population (and the mass media) is too innumerate and too happy to delude itself with ‘good news’ to be willing to do the minimal intellectual work required able to get clear that he’s lying. We had the internet for the whole of Brown’s Chancellorship, too.

    The reason Guido’s muckracking made a difference and broke the expenses and McBride scandals that were then taken on by the press, and the reason he successfully popularised the Prime-mentalist meme, was because the stories were simple, personal and gossipy. He wisely makes little attempt to be highbrow, and when he raises his brows a little above the level of personal attack, as in his cogent attacks on the hidden deficits, there are no ripples.

  • mike

    Almost spot on Guy. I doubt that innumeracy is the be all and end of all of it; people are not incapable of checking the facts, it’s just that they are not interested to do so. After all, for those votists acting within the constraints of political norms, the major (if not the only) output of action corresponding to the input of all such political information is a simple choice of red or blue – a decision which can be made with far less information, not all (or perhaps any) of which need be factual.

    With that said, I’m not quite sure what the likes of Guido think there is left to be saved.

  • Cleanthes

    Quite so.

    “Politician proved to be lying” is up there with “Bears sh*t …” etc.
    Even if the public at large could be arsed to read and understand the table, most will still shrug and say “so what?”

    The problem is not just the politician-lying non-news – it is that it is not relevant. It is doesn’t show what this actually means for the man in the street.

    In order for your average punter to be really stirred into action you have to get him to understand that this table means the actual certain closure of his local hospital, the sale of his wife and children into slavery and possibly even the cessation of his giro.

    Anything less and he’ll just walk on by – it’s just not relevant to him – the numbers are too big and the concepts too abstract.

  • Help me compile a list of NuLabour’s cuts.

    Are they cutting or deceiving in the marginals?

  • Paul Marks

    Prime Minister Gordon Brown had already put Britain in a terrible financial position even before he followed the advice of the establishment and refused to allow bankrupt banks to go bankrupt (“too big to fail” – “systemic risk” and so on) – instead deciding to produce endless credit money and debt.

    The truth can, perhaps, be kept from the public (in much the way the “Economist” chooses to review every book on the current crises – accept Thomas Wood’s “Meltdown” and Thomas Sowell’s “Housing Bubble: Boom and Bust”, these two works do not support the collectivism of the establishment).

    However, the CONSEQUENCES of the truth can not be avoided – these consequences being that the debt is “unsustainable” (to use Barack Obama’s new favourate word) and that government “public services” spending will have to be dramatically cut or the nation will collapse.

    By the way J.P.

    I am no Calivinist Church of Scotland man – but neither is Gordon Brown.

    The old Church of Scotland (forget the modern P.C. version) hated lying – and Mr Brown is a shameless liar.

    The old Church of Scotland hated borrowing – and Mr Brown borrows money more than any other previous Prime Minister.

    And the old Church of Scotland despised those who boasted of their own virtue and paticularly those who boasted of their own good works.

    Which is what Mr Brown does whenever he opens his mouth.

  • Rich

    Great article.

    I was somewhat appalled by the bigotry of the last statement, but I guess it’s normal to think ill of those who choose the wrong imaginary friend, if you like that sort of thing.

  • Laird

    I don’t really understand the purpose of the article (or, frankly, of this post). Nelson believes that in real (i.e., inflation-adjusted) terms UK Department spending* will decline over the next four years. I presume that most of us on this site would agree that this is a Good Thing. So we’re all in a tizzy because Brown “lies” about this for political purposes? He’s doing (for whatever reason) a Good Thing, but some of his constituency don’t agree with it and so he lies to them about it, and we’re supposed to be upset by this?

    And I don’t see that it’s even a “lie”. Accepting as true the numbers given in Mr. Nelson’s table, it shows an average annual decline in “real” Department budgets of 2.3%, but the deflator seems to be about 2.5% annually. So while real spending is down, “nominal” (non-inflation-adjusted) spending is actually slightly up. They really are spending more actual Pounds. Sure it’s a classic politician’s ploy, using a measuring stick which suits his purposes, but if this is the best you can do for a “lie” you’re in far better shape politically than I had thought.

    Nelson makes the following statement: “I suspect it [a Spending Review] would show that Labour would cut the NHS budget while the Tories would not.” Brown is suppressing the Budget Review because if people saw it they’d vote Tory? Because the Tories won’t cut the NHS budget? Pardon my confusion, but it seems to me that the sort of person who wants larger NHS budgets wouldn’t be voting Tory whatever some arcane financial table contained.

    OK, Brown is an inveterate liar and Evil Incarnate; I get it. But what does this article do to advance the cause?

    * I presume this is equivalent to what we in the US call “discretionary spending”.

  • Johnathan Pearce

    Laird, public spending, in real terms, is projected to drop, and yet Brown has gone on as if this is not going to happen. That’s the point here.