British Political Lying: Lawful and Unlawful

The UK Advertising Standards Authority (ASA) encourages the “legal, decent’ honest and truthful”, across a wide range of advertising, but is disbarred from controlling printed party-political lies, as routinely deployed at general elections. This is The British Way.

The run-up to the 2010 election saw the ASA go as far as is allowed. On their website they posted: “We have, however, recently written to all the main political parties to encourage them to keep their ads legal, decent, honest and truthful during the current campaign.” One might reasonably ask why they felt moved to this action, it being so damning by implication! Undaunted, and cavalier as usual, David Cameron subsequently led his Conservative Party into the most heinous act of gratuitous lying imaginable (The 2010 Liar Flyer).

The 2010 Liar Flyer comprises a ‘headline’ irrefutable lie, in large red upper case print: “A HUNG PARLIAMENT WOULD MEAN 5 MORE YEARS OF GORDON BROWN.” This is a particularly unpleasant style of lying as it implies Gordon Brown is a pariah, and then uses that insidious fulcrum to apply, to the voting public, ‘Undue Influence’ (forbidden under the Representation of The People Act 1983). Then, as if this were not criminal enough, the Liar Flyer went on to reiterate the lie in a variety of forms, rounded off with a signed endorsement from David Cameron. Incredible!

As said: The ASA, whom I alerted, could do nothing. The Police were similarly unmoved. David Cameron replied to my challenge that there could be no lying as the law forbids it, and my MP Richard Benyon (who sent me the Liar Flyer as part of his campaign) simply obfuscated. The hung parliament did not bring ‘5 more years of Gordon Brown’ but we have had 4 years of illegitimately installed David Cameron and Nicholas Clegg. This is the British Way.

I have named our much-trumpeted system: ‘D’ MOCK CRASS Y?  We voter-dunces are openly mocked by a bunch of truly crass politicians, and no one seems engaged enough to want to ask Y? Why, in New Millennium Britain is this even possible – let alone allowed to pertain unchecked?

Barrie Singleton
Newbury’s preferred candidate 2015                                               2014


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