On Why Politicians Shouldn't Lie In The Age Of The Internet. That Means You Nick Clegg - and you Maria Miller...

One of my favourite games when I have an idle hour or so to spare is to imagine which of all the world's politicians I would most like to see cast into a pit of rancid entrails, cockroaches, toe nail jam and fresh meconium.

For the last few weeks, the hands down winner has been the deputy prime minister, Nick Clegg.
Granted there are many more evil, loathsome or dangerous candidates: Kim Jong Un; Nicolas Maduro; Barack Obama.

But I don't think there's another politician on earth who embodies quite so perfectly the smugness, the remoteness, the preening arrogance, the chutzpah and the casual mendacity of the global political elite. 

These people are supposed to represent us, to serve us, even, and they just don't for they are so far removed from the realities the world they might just as well inhabit a different planet.

Consider, for example, Nick Clegg's position on the European Union. Now there may well, for all I know, be numerous cogent arguments for the ongoing existence of the EU. But definitely not among them are the following:

So what kind of idiot would you have to be to go into a high profile TV debate and attempt to advance these total lies as evidence to support your cause? Nick Clegg, that's who. Except I'm not sure it's idiocy at stake here (he had a perfectly good education, after all, at the highly competitive and selective Westminster School) so much as a mix of epic complacency and dishonesty so ingrained it comes as second nature.

Nick Clegg, like so many in the political bubble, still imagines he can lie to the public and ge

1. The UK economy depends on it. [No it doesn't. We import from the EU far more than we export; there is no reason whatsoever to suppose that were we to quit the EU we would be unable to negotiate terms of trade at least as favourable as we currently enjoy as a member state] 

2. It's quite unintrusive, actually, hardly making any of our laws for us. [Yeah, right]

3. It doesn't employ that many people, so really why are we making so much fuss, it's no bigger than the staff of a single English borough council. [We skewered that one here at Breitbart London]

So what kind of idiot would you have to be to go into a high profile TV debate and attempt to advance these total lies as evidence to support your cause? Nick Clegg, that's who. Except I'm not sure it's idiocy at stake here (he had a perfectly good education, after all, at the highly competitive and selective Westminster School) so much as a mix of epic complacency and dishonesty so ingrained it comes as second nature.

Nick Clegg, like so many in the political bubble, still imagines he can lie to the public and get away with it. Yes, even in the age of the internet, the blog and the almost simultaneous fact-check.

I'm not the only one astonished by the hubris of Clegg and his ilk. Here's Janet Daley:

The one thing that has emerged with startling clarity, to a degree that is almost beyond argument, is that what I (and now Nigel Farage, bless him) have described as the present political class – meaning the incestuous, self-referring universe of Westminster professionals – is living in a state of clinical delusion.

So far are they from the experience of most of the people they are charged with governing that they can watch an event, and see and hear something utterly unrecognisable to the normal human perceptual apparatus. There were actually – and I can scarcely believe this as I write it – still some pundits claiming that Nick Clegg had won the second debate, in which Mr Farage had so comprehensively wiped the floor with him that it was embarrassing to watch. 

This is systematic self-deception on a scale that would seem to call for medical treatment. Or else, of course, it is intellectual dishonesty of such epic proportions that we must ask ourselves how we have got to this point. How have we arrived at the stage where politicians and their friends actually believe that if they tell a lie often enough, and with enough unblinking confidence, the public will decide they must distrust their own judgments?

She's right. And the problem certainly doesn't stop with Clegg. Consider also, for example, how David Cameron's Chief of Communications Craig Oliver responded this week to claims that disgraced minister Maria Miller had got her aides to threaten the Daily Telegraph newspaper which was trying to investigate her for allegedly abusing her parliamentary expenses. As Culture Secretary, Miller was in charge of implementing Leveson-style press regulation. The implication of her veiled threat, therefore, was that unless the Telegraph behaved itself, it might one day find itself feeling the full force of parliament's regulatory wrath.

Oliver said that these threats had never been made.

So the Telegraph released a transcript of the conversation its reporter Holly Watt had had with Miller's special advisor Joanna Hindley. It's worth reading just to relish the sheer creepiness and nastiness of Hindley's bullying tone:

JH: Have you spoken to Ed Taylor [head of public affairs at Telegraph Media Group] HW: No. 

JH: Oh right, ok. I think he is trying to get hold of Claire [Newell, co-reporter] as well. So I will... When will she be back around? 

HW: Fairly shortly, I imagine. But we are working on this story together. 

JH: I should just flag up as well, while you’re on it that when she doorstepped him, she got Maria’s father, who’s just had a [removed] and come out of [removed]. And Maria is obviously been having quite a lot of editors’ meetings around Leveson at the moment. So I am just going to flag up that connection for you to think about. 

HW: I’m not meant to knock on people’s doors...? 

JH: Knock on the doors of people when they’ve just come out of [removed] and had [removed]. Yeah. I would suggest that was probably a good thing. 

HW: You can’t possibly know that until you’ve knocked on someone’s door. 

JH: Well no, Holly, but you could possibly know that had you spoken to people a little higher up your organisation, who do know that. Anyway, we’ll leave it there. But please forward me the email.

Fraser Nelson argues in the Spectator that this is a reminder of why no politician should be in charge overseeing the press.

But I’d go a step further. The mendacity, arrogance and remoteness of our political class are a reminder of why they’re not fit to be in charge of anything.


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