The Beautiful Truth
6th July 2017
Here’s Tony, thumbs in pockets, collar open, addressing the troops. The black denims are on, the look is casual. It’s not clear if the jacket is suede or corduroy.
The ‘post-factual’ world we’re often told is the outcome of deranged bloggers and Alex Jones types foaming at the mouth about chemtrails and imaginary conspiracies, shouting ‘False Flag’ every time something interrupts their Stream of Consciousness Dressed as Analysis. This (almost exclusively male past time) is certainly an issue, but it’s not the issue its presented as.
The more prosaic answer is that our politicians lied and lied and lied and our media failed and failed and failed until no-one could tell who was lying and who was failing any more. They blended into a seamless realm of snake-oil salesmen and placid press.
The revelations today that Tony Blair was not “straight with the nation” about his decisions in the run up to the Iraq War, may not have come as a giant shock to many of you.
And, to be clear: “He wasn’t as straight as he should have been”, is establishment-speak for, “Tony Blair is a big fat liar and a war criminal” – just so we get that straight.
But I liked the bit where Sir John Chilcot said the evidence Mr Blair gave the inquiry was “emotionally truthful” but he relied on beliefs rather than facts.
It’s a nuanced gilding of the lilly. It’s a delicate way of avoiding the obvious. It’s very British, very expensive and very insidious.
It may have sounded familiar to any of you experience the deluge of lies of Better Together or the tsunami of disinformation that has led us to this perilous Brexit farce (‘Goodbye Honda! Goodbye Toyota!’).
As the BBC’s Robbie Gibb and James Landale slug it out to land the lucrative number as Theresa May’s comms man, and the revolving door between Conservative Central Office and Broadcasting House spins faster than you can say “Eddie Barnes”, things are looking grim for seekers of ‘the truth’.
When in, what, a decades time, when we get a report on the Grenfell Tower disaster, much like the Chilcot Report, will it ‘get to the truth of the matter’?
Keunsberg’s spin on Chilcot’s spin on Blair’s spin is the propeller of a post-factual world, not mad bloggers but Sirs and Prime Ministers and political editors and journalists on the make.
There is no such thing as the ’emotional truth’, just, the truth.
The post-factual world isn’t a mystery, it’s not about the internet. I tell you that, thumbs in jean pockets, my collar open.