When David Miliband told the media the other day that there had been “no quote-unquote deal” to obtain the release of Peter Moore, one could almost see his claymation hands making the inverted commas sign: he is, truly, that naff. But chiefly, he is so utterly lacking in credibility that I doubt anyone beyond his wife and mum believes a word he says.
After the Iraq War, troops ‘did not at any time’ land on British soil on their way to Guantanamo. Until somebody found an email proving they did. There were ‘absolutely no grounds at all for suspecting torture of POWs’ by Britain. Until a judge suggested we hear such cases in public; ever since when, this banana-chomping Mr Bean-Nerd has tried (amid increasing horror among libertarians) to stop the truth coming out.
This curious mixture of naïve cynicism is probably what historians will remember the new century’s first decade for. It has been a decade in which – above anything else – all trust in government statements has been liquidated.
“The truth lies in there somewhere” a great QC once said. Take out ‘truth’, stick an apostrophe in ‘lie’s’, and you have every citizen’s reaction to trends, rises, falls, cuts, investments and any other form of statistic issued by the Establishment today: ‘Where’s the whopper this time?’ people think.
It is of course what every feather-bedded elite does: issue Good News that nobody believes. But the unique thing, historically speaking, about the UK’s slide into bored disbelief is that ours is not a One Party State.
The problem exists, I think, at three levels. What Marx would’ve called the Uberbau lie about everything. Beneath them is a dumbed-down Fourth Estate too ignorant or idle to catch them at it regularly. And further down the food-chain still is the demos: fixated by money and fame, obsessed for years by shopping, terrified by the debt it now has, and distracted by talent shows where the overriding entry visa is a dearth of even competence, let alone talent.
Nor are these levels mutually exclusive: the Establishment uses – and if necessary, bullies – the media into slavish reproduction of its altered reality as truth; while both leaders and media affect a genuine interest in the circuses laid on for the entertainment of those too busy or ignorant to know the genuine article when they see it. The entire celeb-mag sector is based on gaping at the ersatz creatures they themselves have created. Gordon Brown pulls a mournful face to suggest that he really cares about the demise of Jade Goody. These two things were manufactured for money and power respectively, but they are no different for all that.
The central dilemma for all those with insight and foresight is that despite this being a multi-Party system, the UK has a unitary Establishment. There is no challenger of any influence opposing that elite….or threatening to displace it. And the situation has reached that stage where those of a truly pernicious bent persuade the gullible that alternatives are in fact threats.
My own bitter experience at the hands of Mandelson, Bradshaw, Balls, the Guardian and Channel Four was for me the great lesson of the story about Brown’s health problems I ran at the end of September 2009. One after another, they repeated blatant lies about my site being an ‘extreme right-wing’ hotbed of complete falsehood. In the end, even Andrew Marr dared not ask the Prime Minister about anti-depressants, choosing to ask him (for reasons that remain unclear) about ‘prescription painkillers’ instead. Not one media commentator had the cojones to demand a straight denial of either blindness or depression.
This is a profoundly dangerous and disturbing state of affairs: it is as near as damn it the exact scenario outlined by Plato as the inevitable precursor to dictatorship….and Plato’s despots didn’t have cameras, phone taps or internet monitors.
As for the years 2000-2010, they will be written off by future analysts as The Counterfeit Decade, The Age of Unreality, or some other such term. Government and all its works have indeed been a forgery – and not even a very good one. But forgery will escape discovery when people’s attention is elsewhere. We badly need an internet coalition to put aside differences of outlook and emphasis, and print a relentless currency of Truth before that liberty is taken away from us.
A million blogs – too easily dismissed by Mandelsod as ‘the fantasies of extreme right-wingers’ – will not be enough. Only a form of online Solidanarsk will stop them now.
Copyright John Ward 2010