London, UK – Since the coalition led by David Cameron and George Osborne took office in 2010, its progress has been marked by an absence of achievements. There was the promise of “no more pointless top-down re-organisations” of the NHS. There was the emphatic need to cut the government’s debt. And there was a drive to overhaul welfare benefits.
None of these efforts was successful in any way, while the promise of no re-organisations of the NHS was completely ignored by those who made it. Also, actual policy seemed designed to prevent the goals proposed by the coalition. Osborne’s desperation to cut the government’s budget deficit did not tally with Cameron’s offer of £7bn in tax cuts. Talk of rebalancing the economy did not match the minimal effort put into achieving that goal.
In ‘The Lie of the Land’, author David Simmons argues that the reason for the lack of any contact between words and action was very simple – the coalition did not mean a word they had said. This is not to say they had lied. It is very likely that they told the truth on every occasion – or at least, what they said was technically accurate. With politicians, truth and factual accuracy are not necessarily the same thing.
They have many ways to make statements that are correct, technically accurate or true within the definition they are using. But the sentences they utter convey a completely different impression from the apparent meaning of the words.
As well as being a study of the honesty of the coalition government, The Lie of the Land is also a lesson in the nature of truth, and the character of politics.
This book is readable, with many examples of the sort of misleading ‘waffle’ that invites readers and listeners to believe that the recession is over, that the economy is healthy, that the coalition is taking the necessary action and will achieve the promised outcomes. They are so good at their job, they deserve to be studied.
David Simmons is the author of several politics-related books, available through Third Avenue Press . The Lie of the Land is available on Kindle
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