Monday, April 25, 2005

Labour Lies and Mr Angry

The more I think about the Labour campaign this election, the angrier I become. I have been very disappointed by the lacklustre opposition that both the Tories and Lib Dems have put up against it, but the one thing I do agree with Michael Howard about is my desire to see the smirk wiped off Mr Blair’s face. Especially when so far, the Labour campaign has been full of lies from top to bottom. It is no wonder the public have no faith in a political process where “cuts” means “slower growth”, and where facts are twisted to the point of unrecognisability. The Sunday Telegraph ran a superb article yesterday attacking 10 Labour lies - although it didn’t have the nerve to put lies outside of inverted commas.

The one Labour response which angered me more than any other was this:

• Lie 8: “Interest rates halved with Labour” (Labour poster).
The truth: The bank base rate in May 1997 when the Conservatives were last in office was 6.25 per cent. The current figure is 4.75 per cent, a fall of around a quarter, not a half.
Labour’s response: Under Labour, interest rates have averaged 5.2 per cent; they averaged 10.4 per cent between 1979 and 1997.

What a load of disingenuous rubbish. Under that interpretation of “falling interest rates”, interest rates could have increased every year since 1997 and Labour could still have claimed that interest rates had fallen under Labour. Would anyone accept their logic in that case? No. So why should we now? Why are Labour being able to get away with lie after lie after lie, and have no serious opposition?

• Lie 9: The Scottish Labour website stated on April 3 that “Scottish Labour has ensured that no full-time undergraduate student has to pay up-front tuition fees in Scotland”.
The truth: Full-time undergraduate students have to pay up-front tuition fees in Scotland unless they are Scottish domiciled.
Labour’s response: No full time Scottish undergraduate has to pay up-front tuition fees in Scotland.
Oh, so missing out a key part of a sentence is OK then. Well, I suppose that was their justification behind releasing a dodgy dossier removing all caveats. A further example of Labour’s crusade against truth and transparency.
What really irks me is that Labour continue to treat the electorate with absolute contempt. Let’s look at the following words Tony Blair’s constituency agent had for the Independent today:

“Iraq is not an issue,” he said. “And if people do talk about Iraq it is to say how good it is that we got rid of Saddam, and now there are democratic elections.

“I also don’t understand all this thing about the Prime Minister misleading the country. I have spoken to Tony directly about this, and he told me that he wasn’t just depending on MI5 or American intelligence, but the intelligence of other countries as well.

“He said he wasn’t misleading anyone, and if he says that, I believe him 100 per cent. Reg Keys has no chance of winning here, or even getting many votes.”

I happen to agree that it is wonderful that we got rid of Saddam and that democracy has a chance of taking hold in Iraq. I have said before I find it telling that the anti-war campaign squirm whenever they have to face the uncomfortable truth that the progress now being made in Iraq was only possible because of “pre-emptive action”.

But to say that we used the intelligence of other countries to say that there were WMDs in Iraq only holds up to a certain point - the point at which caveats are included within the public reports. As Lord Butler found in his report, these were all too often omitted. Blair overstated his case, and should have to face up to it.

I love the fact that John Burton believes what Tony Blair says 100%. That suggests to me that his knowledge of what is and isn’t an issue is somewhat flawed. The fact is there are millions of people up and down the country who now no longer believe anything Mr Blair says. And yet his party is heading towards another heavy electoral victory. The effective sidelining of Iraq - and the continued, repeated failure of the Tories to make any sort of coherent opposition to Blair on that issue - will allow Labour to continue ahead with their incredible arrogance. Whilst the New Labour project continues, we will continue to see the standards of political debate collapse and flounder.