Pulling Together

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Lies — the modern currency of politics

There is much to be worried about in our modern world. One of the worst is the difficulty many now have in distinguishing truth from falsehood. That is not made easier when governments themselves lie to their populations.

Lies abound in modern politics and truth is hard to find. On one hand we have misinformation being spread by social media, where ignorant opinions can carry more weight than informed ones. On another we have political campaigns based not on hard evidence but on wishful thinking. Identity Politics is often based on manufactured identities which have little to do with provable facts as artificial divisions pit one group of people against another. Then there are the mainstream news media, who sometimes misinform by mistake, or because their staff have fallen victim to the Identity Political culture. Finally, we have politicians who deliberately set out to misrepresent or exaggerate their achievements.

People might associate that latter trend with Donald Trump or Vladimir Putin, men who have set out to generate a mythology of national persecution and themselves as saviours. It suited both of these to alienate other countries and spread among their compatriots the idea they stood between their supporters and a hostile outside world seeking their nation’s doom.

Less obvious, but noticeable to those who have observed politics for a few decades, is how much this has crept into UK politics. From John Major onwards, governments have called slogans policies, sought popularity rather than the genuine good of all, appealed to special-interest groups, and claimed things were working which clearly aren’t.

So, during the current COVID age, our government has claimed it kept vulnerable children and those with special needs at school throughout two of the three lockdowns. Yet I have a vulnerable step-son with an EHCP who lost six months’ schooling in the first lockdown and can only attend three shortened days out of five in the current one. The government’s claim is simply untrue. He has not been allowed to stay in school and his development, trust, and understanding of the world have all been damaged by strictures he cannot understand. He might never reach his full potential, as a year of his childhood has passed without the proper provision he needs.

Now there are the invitations for vaccination. Now, no doubt the number of first vaccinations people have received so far is an astounding achievement and I would not wish to detract from the success of those who have worked on it. However, there is a difference, as I have discovered in the last few days, between being invited to be vaccinated and actually being permitted to receive the jab.

A few days ago I received a text from my GP inviting me to book a vaccination and giving a URL to visit to do so. I have bookmarked the page. From that, you will discern I have not actually been able to book a vaccination. I am instructed to visit the page every day until slots become available. I have been invited to attend, but cannot actually do so. I can imagine a minister trumpeting to the media how many people have now been invited, even though most cannot actually get the jab because no appointments have been made available for them. As the days go by, how many will simply give up and never be vaccinated? One can understand inviting a few more people than available appointments to allow for those who are slow to respond, but to invite millions when only a few hudred places are available is not impressive and only serves to disillusion those whose support is needed if we are ever to get out of the mess we’re currently in.

The cynic in me wants to see this as yet another lie from a government which has lied and exaggerated so often in the last year it’s difficult to believe anything it claims.

Why can’t they just trust the people with the truth?

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