Let us take a brief look at the art of illusion, the creative truth-telling, the smoke and mirrors of being a politician. I take my inspiration from the very heart of Westminster, from the current financial expert, our reigning Chancellor of the Exchequer George (Gideon) Osborne.
It would be easy to highlight a plethora of inconsistencies in his plans that just don’t make sense, but I want to highlight one particular great example of a “smoke and mirror” campaign that is working quite well for the current government. I wonder, have you noticed that the financial key word in recent weeks has become ‘surplus’.
Quite a simple word really, and one that has a ‘well meaning’ definition that every single person, institution and country should aspire to. With that being the case, why do I want to highlight it as being a bad thing?
Let us first establish what a monetary surplus actually is. In it’s simplest terms you would get a surplus when you have more money than you need, you would then stash this money away for a time when the need is great enough to have to dip into the surplus pot. Great idea right? Sure it is, I wish I had a surplus! Now, here lies the issue…the government are talking about building a surplus at a time when they are actually seeing a growing national debt (was upwards of £1.5 Trillion in May 2015 source). A true surplus comes out of a place of solvency, any other kind of surplus us purely banking borrowed money. This is not a ‘surplus’.
We also have the blatant smoke and mirrors in practice with regard to the placement of the word ‘surplus’. We are seeing heinous Tax Credit proposals being made in the name of “seeing a surplus”, surely more than just me can realise that before the ‘surplus’ idea was used, these proposals were going to be made to “cut the deficit”. Deficit being a negative word, surplus a positive one. Therefore the government are attempting to re-brand the unpopular cuts as a positive measure, we are even seeing Conservative opposition to the proposals adopting the ‘surplus’ argument (source), meaning that it has become an established belief (no matter how far from the truth it may be).
For years this method of re-branding of unpopular proposals has been used, many pundits call it ‘spin’. But I call it what it really is, lying. We are not talking little white lies either, these are lies that are crafted to affect a nations thinking, crafted to achieve a goal that will be detrimental to the masses and benefit the few. Just look at the current failing Steel industry, mainly caused by Chinese devaluing of the Steel market – does our government do everything it could to protect British jobs and the people it affects? No, instead it courts the Chinese premier and negotiates closer financial dependence upon them. Another smoke and mirrors example in real time. Steel industry collapses, China signs deal to put approximately £10 billion into a Nuclear power station build (owned by a French energy company)… when will this practice be called for what it really is?
It is important that when these lies are spotted that the government are called out on them, we can do that as individuals right now by letting our local MP know that we see through the smoke and mirrors. Your local MP is supposed to represent you, their constituent in the hallowed halls of power, but they won’t do this without people telling them what they think. When was the last time your local MP asked you about an issue?
So my call to each and every person that reads this is to participate, get involved, speak up for a politics that is based on the well being of every person rather than the health of a balance sheet. Start making a difference to the way our country does politics by being the change.
Do you have any personal experience of ‘smoke and mirrors’, anything that really makes your blood boil? Let me know, we may not agree on every point but true democracy is formed from each individual having and expressing their own opinions. Leave a comment and let me know what you think.