As the General Election campaign has proceeded it has become clear that the Tory Party approach has been one of lying and misrepresenting the facts at every possible opportunity.
Things have become so bad that even Google is rejecting Tory Party adverts because of the lies they contain. They appear to have concluded that if you tell enough lies regularly it becomes impossible for people to call you out on all of the lies you tell. So let’s have a look at some of their antics so far.
- During the first election debate, in which they took a drubbing, they changed their Twitter Press account to pretend it was a fact checking service and used it to promote Tory party talking points against what the other parties were saying. When challenged on this dishonesty, Dominic Raab the Foreign Secretary, said that “people don’t give a toss..” what happens on social media and refused to promise not to do it again. Twitter took a different view and warned the Tories about their unacceptable behaviour.
- During Labour’s manifesto launch the Tories set up a separate site, and paid Google to redirect traffic from the official Labour site to their dishonest site which was used solely for pushing their own lines.
- Other Tory adverts, which have not been taken down, claim to lead to “Labour’s Brexit Policy”, “Labour’s Education Policy” and “Labour’s Defence Policy”. In every case they actually link to Tory Party sites.
- Beyond this they have edited footage of the of the BBC’s political correspondents and used it in Tory Party adverts.
- They also edited footage of Keir Starmer to make it look as if he could not answer a question on Brexit policy when in fact he had done so.
- Blamed Labour for the London Bridge stabbing when, in fact, the reasons for the early release of the attacker were all the result of Tory policies.
- Then used the blog post of the “Secret Barrister” which was written to expose the lies of Johnson and Patel to produce a series of tweets in Johnson’s name in an attempt to divert attention from their culpability.
- In his appearance on the Andrew Marr show on 1 December Johnson tried to deflect attention from the fact that the Tories had been in power for 10 years by claiming that he had only been in office for 120 days.
- Claimed that they would not sell off the NHS when they have had 6 meetings over a two year period with officials of the USA, which make clear that the NHS is on the table for a trade deal including, as a priority, an increase in the cost of drugs which would cost the NHS £500 million per week. These meetings started when Johnson was Foreign Secretary in 2017.
- Johnson refused to appear on Channel 4’s proposed leaders debate programme, causing the debate to be cancelled.
- He refused to appear on the Climate Change debate, apparently preferring to attend a drinks party for the unveiling of a statue to the notorious anti-Semite and Hitler loving Tory MP, Nancy Astor.
- Threatening Channel 4’s license for empty chairing Johnson in the climate debate after sending his dad along to argue that Channel 4 should include Michael Gove in his place. Gove had, of course, been rejected as not leadership material by the Tory membership when they elected Johnson.
But it is not just the Tories campaigning in a dishonest manner. Others, in particular the BBC, are doing the same for them.
- The BBC doctored footage of the ceremony at the Cenotaph by splicing in footage of Johnson from 2016 to cover for the fact that he had turned up dishevelled and laid his wreath upside down.
- They edited out the sound of the audience, in one of the leadership debates, laughing at Johnson when he was asked about trust in politics, and replaced it with applause.
- In a Laura Kuenssberg interview they swapped Corbyn’s answers around to different questions to make him look as if he did not understand the issues.
- Told the Labour Party that Johnson had signed up for an interview with Andrew Neil, when they knew this to be untrue, in order to get Corbyn’s agreement to do a similar interview.
Whilst elections have always, to some extent, been about perception, we have never before seen this level of deliberate dishonesty and wholesale misinformation forming the whole substance of a major political party’s general election campaign.
What seems clear is that the Tories decided they would run this campaign by using, lock, stock and barrel, the Trump playbook of lying and then doubling down on the lies whilst concentrating on a single issue, Brexit, to divert attention from the destruction austerity and privatisation have wrought on the country and the way their foreign policy has made all of us less safe.
If the Tories cannot be trusted to be honest with people during an election campaign, when their claims can be scrutinised, imagine what they are doing behind closed doors.
Labour’s manifesto covers a wide range of issues precisely because the Tories have bequeathed the country with a wide range of problems.
The Tories offer no solutions because, from their perspective poverty, homelessness, zero hours contract, Universal Credit, reliance on foodbanks, and the destruction of the planet through climate change are not problems. As long as they and their friends are making money all is well for them.
If you are not comfortable with another 5 years of this, the only option is a vote for Labour on 12 December. But not just your vote, the vote of everybody you know, everybody you meet, is also vital. Don’t miss this chance for change. It will not come again soon.