To understand Brown, it is vital to understand his use of lies. I am told that, in the bunker, he’s forever talking about the need to ‘define your opponent’ – by which me means spreading falsehoods about them. (A statistical version of the smears which McBride was caught spreading). Brown apparently justifies it to himself on the grounds that the ends justify the means. Hence the “Labour will increase spending” lie: it forms one of his precious dividing lines. He argues (correctly) that the Tories are so useless at defending themselves, changing their defence so often, that the Labour line will win any media battle and sink into the voters’ mind if repeated often enough by ministers, when interviewed.
CoffeeHousers will remember the election in 2005 when Brown prepared a pack of lies (read a list of them here), chief amongst them that the Tories “would cut £35 billion from public spending”. The Tories proposed (alas) to increase spending – but at a slower rate than Labour. By no stretch of the English language is this “cut”. And he was directly confronted over this by Nick Robinson who invited himself to the unveiling of the below poster and challenged Tony Blair on it. Fleet St picked it up – The Sun the next day told it straight, just as it has this morning.
The difference this time is the blogosphere. It costs us not a penny to produce this post: we have endless space to devote to facts, charts, lists of Brown’s lies, lists of economists saying he is lying. There is the potential for YouTube viral videos exposing the lies. Last night, for example, Faisal Islam on Channel Four produced a powerful three-minite presentation showing why Labour intends to cut. If captured on YouTube it can be played on demand – and ‘published’ online again and again. Whenever lies are used. Newspaper readers may tire of reading the same rebuttals time and time again – but the internet offers infinite capacity to explore lies in the smallest detail.
The internet is the perfect medium for lie-detecting. Channel Four’s Fact Check and our own Brownie series are but two ways to give ample space to scrutinising lies. So Brown’s strategy – bulldoze a lie through the protestations of a few Tories and journalists – may this time fail him.