I was appalled to hear a politician talking the other day about ‘the post-truth era’ in relation to all the hoo-hah going on across the pond about Trump’s protestations regarding fake news.
‘Post-truth’ is not a new phenomenon. Wikipedia defines it as “a culture in which debate is framed largely by appeals to emotion disconnected from the details of policy, and by the repeated assertion of talking points to which factual rebuttals are ignored.” It’s been going on for years and, ironically, it has taken the ascendancy to the presidency of a man who does the exact opposite to bring it to a head.
You might not like Trump, but the fact is that when he was campaigning he promised, amongst other things, to build a ‘great big beautiful wall’ across the Mexican border, suspend immigration from countries linked to terrorism ‘until we figure out what the hell is going on’ and to repeal Obamacare. He did all three of these in his first week and people are up in arms about it even though he did exactly what he said he was going to do – something unheard of in the era of post truth politics.
I remember recently having a spat with a fellow blogger about Cuba. Whatever I said made no difference. His opinion was his opinion no matter how I rebutted his arguments and answered his direct questions. He regards me as a pig he was trying to teach to sing. This is a classic reaction to post truth. The ‘facts’ I was being shown were to say the least unsubstantiated and politically motivated. They may well have been true, but the truth is that nobody really knows and if they were true then the reaction was still emotional rather than rational.
During the Brexit campaign we were constantly fed unsubstantiated opinion and speculation presented as truth. In the end, Project Fear turned out to be wholesalely wrong, but that didn’t prevent organisations like the BBC – which used to pride itself on being politically unbiased – presenting it as truth. We see the media across the globe doing exactly the same thing.
And now fake news is bring weaponised in all sorts of fields, political, diplomatic, and economic. Listen to CNN, BBC, Al Jazeera, and Russia Today relating the same news story and you get totally contradictory presentation of the so called facts. I suspect that none of them are actually presenting facts at all – just opinions and spin. As a wise man once said – ‘There are three sides to every story : your’s, mine and the truth!‘
Facts are facts. The problem is that nobody actually knows what they are any more…
One thing I love about this country is that politicians and newspapers never learn.
First there was Project Fear. Worked in Scotland so we’ll do it again but the public saw through it in the EU referendum. But just in case, they threw in Project Panic, Project Punish and Project Armageddon for good meassure. The public saw through it all and voted to Leave the Fourth Reich.
Then comes along a candidate to oppose Theresa May and Brexit Lite, Andrea Leadsom. “Oh shit! She’s credible. We’re in trouble. Roll out Project Smear!”
And that bastion of unbiased freedom, the Daily Mail, throws its full weight behind it using every piece of even remotely feasible nonsense it can get its hands on. Amazingly, a newspaper that campaigned to leave the EU is now attacking shamelessly the one person who is able to deliver it.
The Mail makes much this morning about ‘exagerations’ in her CV. They roll out people we’ve never heard of to say ‘I worked there and I never heard of her!’ They say things like Deputy Director and Head of Compliance is ‘hardly a senior roll’ although it sounds fairly senior to me.
Then they attack her tax affairs. Apparently her Guernsey based brother employed her for two years after she took time out for children. Wow! A bloke that lives in the Channel Islands runs an offshore fund. Well it is a tax haven and it’s perfectly legal. The Mail seems to have forgotten what Camerons father did for a living.
And then they lambast her because of the fully declared donations her family made to the Tory party which apparently amounts to her buying a place in the House. What a load of tosh! Surely nobody in Parliament would ever do such a thing would they? They’re so upstanding and squeaky clean aren’t they?
Hopefully the rank and fi!e party voters will see straight through this nonsense and take Project Smear for exactly what it is…
I’m a great lover of conspiracy theories and just once in a while, one comes along that a really hum dinger.
Now I know that Cameron is desperate to bully and con us into staying in the EU, but now it’s being put about that Boris Johnson is secretly a Europhile and that his previous comments and – wait for it – his family allegiances – prove that he really thinks we should vote in even though he’s prominent in the out camp.
Why? Well it seems that Boris is a bumbling clown that can’t be taken seriously – which explains why he’s mayor of London and an MP sitting in at cabinet meetings. Clearly only idiots would be allowed to attend cabinet. On the other hand, there could be a point that’s hard to argue there, so best change tack…
No, Boris is there to discredit the out camp by proving them to be a bunch of loonies who are best written off. Much of this has come on the back of his comments about Obama sticking his nose into our business. Frankly, I totally agree with Boris on that one. Obama wants us in the EU so that he can use his favourite puppet PM to get the US viewpoint over. He really doesn’t give a toss whether it’s good for us or not, as long as the good ol’ U S of A keeps it’s influence in the EU.
Well, when you look at Trump and Clinton I think the Americans are on thin ice writing off Boris. I find his pronouncements on the EU credible and his reasons for thinking that way quite clear. Anyone that tries to write Boris Johnson off as a fool is seriously underestimating the man who I personally hope will be leading this country back to it’s rightful place in the world – outside the EU and standing on it’s own feet.
Only a fool would take Boris for a mole, but unfortunately there’s a lot of them about. Especially in politics.
Now, I’m a reasonable bloke. No, really! I am.
Despite the saying that there’s no smoke without fire and people will have to form their own opinions about the guilt or otherwise of Guantanamo inmate Shaker Aamer – unhindered by facts or evidence, of course – I do think that locking somebody up for 13 years without trial is not really on, is it?
Anyhow, they’ve finally let him out without him ever being charged let alone tried and he’s home in the UK again. I’m not going to get into the arguments about his guilt or innocence, but what gets up my nose apart from the flagrant violation of habeas corpus is why the fuck the UK taxpayer has forked out £70,000 to fly him home on a privately hired Learjet!
WTF did we do that for? Why couldn’t we have just bought him an airline ticket?
And it’s the Yanks that arrested and imprisoned him, so why aren’t they paying to fly him home?!?
And on top of that, a compensation deal was agreed in 2010 between the British Government and lawyers representing Guantanamo detainees following legal action. The group, many of whom said they were victims of rendition and torture, sued the Government over its involvement. Many alleged British secret service complicity in their mistreatment at the American base. Ministers settled the case saying they could not defend it without damaging British security by revealing secret intelligence information.
As a result, Aamer is in line for a million pound payout for ‘compensation’. Or is it simply that they want him to keep quiet about allegations of UK complicity in torture? Either way, again it’s the UK taxpayer that’s going to have to fork out the dosh.
Something about the whole thing stinks. People should be charged and tried if there’s evidence and if there’s no evidence then they shouldn’t be just grabbed by another country, imprisoned outside jurisdiction, and then paid off afterwards.
I don’t care a damn about Shaker Aamer. It’s the principle that I’m livid about!
|Blatter prepares for the investigation into standards at FIFA
As my regular reader will testify, I am no lover of the so called ‘beautiful game’ of football. In fact it leaves me stone cold – but it wasn’t always like that…
When I was a teenager, I lived next door to a bloke called George Cohen who those of you with long memories will remember played full back in the 1966 Word Cup winning England team. He had quite a nice house in Worcester Park in Surrey. Nothing flash, just a standard 4 bed detached with a smallish garden.
Down the road was a shop owned by Ron ‘Chopper’ Harris. Over the door it read ‘Ron Harris, Chelsea and England. Newspapers and confectionery.’ Consider these two world class footballers and compare them with today. Could you see David Beckham living in a house like that, or running a paper shop? Not likely, is it?
I used to go to watch Epsom and Ewell Eagles playing at the local ground round the corner. It was entertaining. You could stand on the touchline. You felt involved. The only ‘big’ game I ever went to was the semi-final of the FA Cup when Wimbledon played Leeds at Selhurst Park. I watched some dots running about on a field over in the distance. I thought it was crap. I never went to a league game again.
So I fully understand why FIFA are in the shit. Everything about football has got totally out of hand. Today’s players and managers earn the sort of money that Harris and Cohen never dreamed of. And why? At the end of the day all they do is kick a ball around on a bit of grass.
The money is now so vast that corruption is inevitable. Everybody knows that FIFA have had their hands in till and snouts in the trough for years – so why the big surprise?
Beautiful game, my arse! It’s shite – and at last it’s coming out just how shite it really is…