There’s a difference between lies and exaggeration. Oh yes there is. I faced the argument that – both sides lied in the EU referendum didn’t they? It not uncommon for people to become cynical about politics and politician’s and that’s a reason they give; none of them can be trusted. Post referendum this notion is embedded more than ever it was in the minds of the British people.
We might ask – what is truth. Equally – what is exaggeration? There’s a real distinction. It’s reasonable for a passionate argument to spill over into exaggeration but it’s NOT when it moves to downright lies. Say for example, we have a whole pile of adjectives in the English language that emphasise the largeness or smallness of a number but they don’t change that number. If I said; an “extremely large” number of people instead of a number of people, you’d take it as read.
Newspaper headlines that scream: “£350 million a week for NHS” quoted from those with no intention of delivering that funding are deliberately false promises (lies). Soundbites that say: “Brussels tell us what to do” are crude distortions – that’s a kind of selective lying. Like saying; “I hold a banana in my hand” when in fact it’s a beetroot.
The EU referendum was won by only a tiny margin. That tiny margin of British voters were swung by misinformation, distortion and deliberately false promises – yes; lies. It isn’t clear where to go from here but it’s a dreadful place to start any journey. Humpty Dumpy really has fallen off the wall.
My biggest concern is that capable, honest and passionate people will become silent because they have been drowned out by unchallenged cheaters. Good people will steer away from public life because it’s so horribly tainted. Talented young people will seek their fortunes elsewhere as a new British “brain drain” kicks off.
It will take more time for the “dust to settle” but this should not stop us challenging the result.