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The economy of truth

A demonstrator wearing a mask to impersonate Tony Blair protests before the release of the John Chilcot report into the Iraq war.

A demonstrator wearing a mask to impersonate Tony Blair protests before the release of the John Chilcot report into the Iraq war.

We know now for certain that if the truth was known and said about the inexistence of Saddam Hussein’s chemical warfare capability, the British Parliament would have voted against going to war in Iraq.

It would have happened despite Saddam Hussein being one of the worst dictators in the region, mostly installed and supported in the past by the same forces that bombed the hell out of the Iraqi people.

Likewise, almost immediately after the Brexit vote, many have witnessed Nigel Farage and Boris Johnson contradicting their pre-referendum claims over the NHS and immigration. Many are now saying that if Boris and his fellow Brexiteer allies told the truth, and if the IN campaign managed to explain clearly the benefits of EU membership - warts n’ all - then the British electorate would have been in a better position to vote to remain in the EU.

We also know - or we seem to know now, with all the benefit of hindsight - that the world would be less difficult and we’d have less trouble, if many stopped and looked more closely at the economics of truth on which our political life seems to run. But then again, more often than not, we are all too happy to leave this political world in the hands of those who we always accuse of being economic with the truth.

We are all too happy to leave this political world in the hands of those who we always accuse of being economic with the truth

Many, on the Left and the Right, keep reminding us how the people are fed up with politics. These people who reveal such a frustration are politicians themselves, and some of them are not exactly generous with the truth.

We all have our favourite examples, and we all seem to be keen to fight over the truth that these gents and ladies have to offer in their own race to power. You can take your pick and almost always, whichever direction the discourse comes from, the pattern is the same - the people, we are told, are always right in their instincts to simply wipe off a whole generation of politicians, only to elect another one, which very quickly becomes the old generation and the one against which we all become angry once more.

I remember very well when Blair was the winner. He was unassailable. The Tories were in shambles. Everywhere voted Labour even in my then town of residence in Warwickshire where Labour supporters were a scarce commodity. This was the time when New Labour New Britain heralded the new politics. And yet now, those who were delirious about Blair would be inclined to label the man a warmonger and a liar.

Those boring bearded lefties were always suspicious. But then again, they are always like that - as some would say. And indeed the left is always grumpy for one reason or another. And yet when it comes to trashing the old regime of the old politics that was once new, we go back to the bearded lot and seek some words of wisdom.

Jeremyn CorbynJeremyn Corbyn

And so it goes, until a whiff of wellbeing among the middle classes comes back, and the new politics of some new Tory heralding green values like David Cameron, hugging hoodies and riding his bike, comes around. By then the old lefties are left behind, and the new kid comes round and gets the votes, or at the very least, he or she manages to sort out a coalition with the liberals who are always there to sacrifice their principles for the country and then get obliterated by their once Tory allies.

The farce then turns into tragedy and when the bearded leftie takes over Labour, a civil war ensues. With Labour wiped out in Scotland and Britain heading to the EU's exit door, now we have an insane Labour rebellion coming from those who cannot make up their minds about the direction of what once was the party that pushed British democracy to consider the fact that running a country is not simply the affair of the aristocrats and their Tory allies, but that there is a place for a liberal kind of socialism, which in its Fabian vision was effective enough to create a successful welfare state and raise post-War Britain from the ashes.

Those interested in politics cannot find a more exciting time than ours, even though it is an equally dangerous time, where echoes of the 1930s begin to confirm that what Jean François Lyotard labelled a postmodern condition is indeed a new modernity in its ascendancy, with all the equivocality that it brings.

Thus as one follows Europe and more specifically post-Brexit and post-Chilcot Britain, one cannot help wondering whether the economy of truth is far more potent that the tail-spinning economy which now looms over Britain in the immediate term.

As if this is not enough, we now await what would happen with the European economy once the spectre of Southern European economic crisis raises its head once more and the EU resumes its out-dated approach to an economy which, ultimately, is based on the exploitation of the many by the very few.

This is a paradox that often afflicts, if not moulds, democracy. And it seems that while we make sporadic decisions and try to punish the political class by voting patterns which often come back to haunt us, there always seems to be a quandary by which we the people end up paying for the consequences.

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