Tag Archives: politicians

Getting beyond “All politicians are liars”

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The most dangerous of political myths in a still functioning democracy is  “They’re all the same”.  It goes hand in hand with “All politicians are liars”. I believe that we have to be explicit in insisting that in our country a small number of our politicians really do tell lies but most do not. There are plenty whose ideas, values and political aims we can disagree with but that does not mean they are liars. Someone’s interpretation of an issue may appear to be false but that is not about telling lies.

There is of course a grey area between truth and deceit. If people are to be equipped to make democratic choices there is inevitably going to be a place for the simplification of some issues. In a representative democracy people make their choices in the ballot box and the people who get elected carry on the debate in more detail. That’s why we pay them and give them really good research facilities.

There is even a limited case to be made for seeing “spin” as a positive so long as there are competing spins. But that is not lying. Tom Barney in the latest Liberator rightly questions the extent to which our campaigning depends on a PR model. We need to clean up our act but we cannot get away from deliberately shaping messages than can communicate clearly and effectively.

Posted in Op-eds | 17 Comments
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