Last year, following the EU Referendum (and the American 2016 Presidential Election), many outlets said we were living in the period of Post-Truth. This was a very generous way of saying that claiming that leaving the EU would save £350 Million a week for example, were utter nonsense. However, I think the term Post-Truth AKA blatant lying, is still far too generous to what is actually going on as we embark on Brexit. Instead, we now live in the world where the victors of the last democratic results in Britain are now in a world of Self-Delusion.
I say this because firstly Post-Truth has been a thing for a long while now. In the TV Show last year which covered the trial of OJ Simpson, Johnnie Cochran (played brilliantly by Courtney B. Vance) said that winning a criminal case wasn’t about presenting facts, but presenting a better story than the opposition. This quote can sum up much of what politics has been for the last 40 years. The rise of Reagan and Thatcher in the late 1970s and early 1980s was caused by painting a convincing narrative which to an extent did correspond with some facts. This can be seen as also the reality to the rise of Blair and Cameron through their respective parties and to government. Governments have used smoke and mirrors to distract opposition parties and the public to get parts of their agenda through, or simply sack experts who put forward information which contradicts their agenda, like Alan Johnson did to David Nutt for putting forward scientific evidence suggesting that Cannabis wasn’t quite as harmful as Alcohol, let alone ketamine. And then being a Liberal Democrat I don’t think I need to remind anybody of my age group about the fact broken promises are nothing new either. Therefore the idea of bending the truth or False-Truth or whatever you want to call it isn’t anything new.
This now leads on to Brexit, where we have so many contradicting noises coming from Conservatives, the Party that, if we like it or not, are in control of the Brexit negotiations. They are so all over the place, they probably would manage to put forward Nuclear Disarmament and the Death Penalty on the same page on their next manifesto. I, as many, was relieved when Theresa May was elected Conservative leader, as I thought there would be at least competent leading Britain through its most traumatic political event since the end of the 2nd World War, and that she at least addressed some of the social imbalances which led to people voting the way they did. However, Theresa has not manage to stop the reckless right of her Party running riot over Brexit. We have been forced further away from the EU than we originally wanted to.
Seeing May speak today, she came across like a Football Manager who had just took charge of a team in the relegation zone a few games before the end of a season, trying to get the crowd behind the team nervously. I actually feel quite sorry for her, she didn’t want Brexit, and she certainly didn’t want the likes of Liam Fox and David Davis in the position to dictate things, but if she had blocked their involvement in Brexit her reign would not have lasted long.
In the last couple of days, hard pro-Brexit MP’s have walked out of the select committee, complaining that the bipartisan report was “too negative”, and today have disregarded any dangers about leaving the EU. Before that, they humiliated Phillip Hammond in his budget on purpose, simply because he warned caution towards Brexit within the cabinet. This isn’t the politics of a smart Conservatism or even “Post-Truth” politics; this is the politics of delusion. As well as being a great name for a heavy rock album, the politics of delusion is perfect analogy to describe the approach of the hardliners in the EU negotiators. They seem to think that after effectively giving a massive middle finger to the EU, we can somehow leave all its institutions and somehow get a sweetheart deal; and thinks that anyone who says otherwise is an unpatriotic snowflake (or something like that). Even the most ardent Brexit supporters should surely be realistic and know that these two years will come with major challenges that will take strong government decisions and negotiations to get round?
Self-Delusion politics in the UK does not just stop with the reckless right of the Tories. The supporters or Corbyn still believe he can win an election, and numerous Labour MP’s have to repeat it to not be called “Blairite” or “Tory” until they give up the will to live. It is beyond me that some people still believe that Corbyn has any chance of improving the performances at the ballot box for Labour. I worked out he wasn’t good enough just by watching David Cameron (remember him) walk all over him each week at PMQs. With how incompetent this government has been since 2015, they must count their lucky stars that is main opposition is seemingly from Scotland or a Party which has 9 MPs. And to top off the politics of Self-Delusion in British Politics, following the Stoke By-Election, a UKIP activist claimed that his party will be a majority government in 2020.
I want whatever these people are drinking when they wake up.