Lineages of Lies and British Politics

The hundred and six pages Partygate inquiry report, conducted by the Privileges Committee of the British Parliament, not only highlights the evident character of Boris Johnson as a habitual liar but also exposes the deceptive political strategies employed by the Tories. The timing of the report's release is part of a broader strategy by conservative spin doctors to construct a convenient exculpatory narrative, allowing both past and current Tory Prime Ministers to evade accountability for their utter failures while diverting public attention. The Conservative Party has been successful in diverting public scrutiny for the past fourteen years, employing customary tactics that have shielded five of its Prime Ministers from public and parliamentary scrutiny. Boris Johnson is not the first liar in Tory politics, nor will he be the last in British politics. It is customary for both the ruling classes and non-ruling elites in British politics to propagate lies to serve their own interests.

Lies in British politics are not coincidental; they are deeply ingrained. Deception and misleading both the Parliament and the public have become customary practices in modern British politics. Manipulating public opinion through diversionary tactics has become a weapon for gaining and retaining power. False narratives and political expediency lie at the core of modern British politics, spanning from Churchill to Sunak.

The Tory-led "EU Referendum" project, for instance, was built upon a foundation of lies. Similarly, the Labour Party, under Tony Blair, infamously presented the "dodgy dossier" that served as a pretext for the invasion of Iraq in 2003, also based on a pack of lies. The Costs of War Project report by Brown University and the Watson Institute for International and Public Affairs revealed the devastating toll of the Iraq war from March 2003 to October 2018, with an estimated 268,000 to 295,000 people killed in violence, including 182,272 to 204,575 civilians according to Iraq Body Count's figures. Tony Blair's lies resulted in the loss of millions of Iraqi lives. The consequences were dire, not only in terms of human lives but also in financial terms. British taxpayers were burdened with a staggering £8.4 billion, and numerous British and American soldiers paid the ultimate price for the lies perpetuated by war criminals like Tony Blair and George Bush. The mistakes made by Blair and his counterparts were not mere errors but deliberate falsehoods that led to catastrophic consequences.

The vilification campaign against former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn is yet another example of the pervasive use of lies in British politics. Corbyn's unwavering honesty and integrity in both public and private life became a disqualification in the eyes of the British political establishment. The ruling classes orchestrated his defeat, but they were unsuccessful in tarnishing Corbyn's reputation for honesty and integrity.

The literal normalisation and naturalisation of Kiplingian lies have played a role in shaping and domesticating everyday lives in Britain. The persistence of otherness in British politics is evident as the current Tory Prime Minister, Rishi Sunak, leads efforts to target establishments such as restaurants, car washes, nail bars, barber shops, and convenience stores in order to apprehend so-called illegal immigrants, many of whom are among the poor and homeless. It is important to question who these individuals labelled as illegal immigrants truly are, why they have come to Britain, and the circumstances that compelled them to leave their loved ones and homes behind.

The lives and livelihoods of people in Asia, Africa, and Latin America have been devastated by colonial and neo-colonial wars, as well as neoliberal economic policies. These individuals have been sold fraudulent dreams of a better life in Britain and America, prompting them to embark on perilous journeys across treacherous waters and roads.


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Vol 56, No. 2, Jul 9 - 15, 2023