Tom Goodenough Tom Goodenough

The Spectator podcast: Brexit, and the return of political lying | 28 May 2016

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Are David Cameron and George Osborne using the same techniques of deceit deployed by New Labour in the run-up to the Iraq war? In his cover piece this week, Peter Oborne argues that’s just what is happening. He says that in their EU campaign, the Chancellor and Prime Minister have put dirty tricks back at the heart of government. But Matthew Parris in his column says that in politics there’s no point complaining about being lied to. That’s the cry of the bad loser. Both Peter and Matthew join Fraser Nelson on the podcast. Here’s what Peter had to say:

‘There was something very new about what I call the new Labour epistemology, which took away truth from its normal meaning and turned it into an instrument of power. Truth was what you said it was. When David Cameron turned up as leader of the Conservative party, I think it’s fair to say he offered a return to a more traditional political discourse. But what has happened in the last year really, is mendacity and fabrication and deception have re-entered politics from the very top. That’s very troubling.’

The Brexit debate has been spiced up this week by the intervention of Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s former chief strategist, who has said he thinks Britain should leave the EU. Hilton uses his experience at the heart of government to make the case for Brexit. But why have so few of those who he used to work with done the same? And will the Prime Minister ever speak to him again? Steve Hilton spoke to Fraser and had this to say:

‘The EU to me is one of the most clear representations of everything that has gone wrong over the last few decades, as we’ve seen more and more power being centralised.

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