Freelance writer from Cornwall
“Who controls the past, controls the future: who controls the present controls the past.”
Slogan of ‘The Party’ in George Orwell’s ‘1984.’
It looks as though Orwell”s ‘Party’ is actually the Conservative Party, judging by recent reports of their media spinmeisters and technical bods getting together and erasing their entire Internet history. Yes, that’s right. All the promises made that were never intended to be kept, all the promises made that were perhaps intended to be kept but couldn’t and anything else that doesn’t fit their new media policy (‘If you can’t prove we did, said or promised something, then we didn’t.’) is set to vanish into the virtual memory hole at Conservative Central Office. Think of a banker frantically shredding last year’s accounts when the taxman turns up, or a retreating army burning papers that might be useful to the enemy. Entrusting the supposed honesty and integrity of Tory politics to their spin doctors makes about as much sense as putting Al Capone in charge of Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. Although the Tories and Capone do seem to have a similar attitude to the touchy issue of extremely rich people actually having to pay their taxes.
According to a Tory spokesman quoted in the Daily Mirror:
“These changes allow people to quickly and easily access the most important information we provide – how we are clearing up Labour’s economic mess, taking the difficult decisions and standing up for hardworking people,”
According to anyone who isn’t paid to try selling this to the rest of us as though it doesn’t come out of the ‘Joseph Goebbels School of Public Relations’:
‘You’re trying to make voters forget every broken promise of the last decade by erasing those promises and claiming you never made any in the first place.’
Top Tory Chris Grayling (formerly Minister of Incendiary Underpants, sorry, formerly a high-profile defender of Tory welfare policies) has tried to justify this Orwellian clear-out by suggesting that there’s only so much material that can be stored on a website so, naturally, some of it has to go. I assume that the Honourable Member defines ‘some of it’ as ‘anything that might embarrass us now or in future, especially any outright disaster such as Universal Credit that anyone might be able to prove we’re responsible for.’
Chris (if I might be permitted to address you so informally) you seem to have missed a fundamental point of making inconvenient facts, figures, speeches etc disappear.
YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO BE CAUGHT DOING IT.
And which fearless campaigning media outlet caught the Tories at it? Which hard-nosed, hard-boiled investigative publication outed them as trying to pull off the greatest political sleight-of-hand since Tony Blair ‘sexing up’ his ‘dodgy dossier’ or Jo Moore stating 9/11 was ‘a good day to bury bad news’ (which, ironically, buried her career)?
Was it the Morning Star?
Was it Socialist Worker?
Was it some Fleet Street titan like the Guardian, Independent, Times or Telegraph?
Erm… No, actually.
The Tories managed to be caught, bang-to-rights, by Computer Weekly.
So, having bungled any fair and just attempt at welfare reform, landed us with the impending disaster that is Universal Credit, whipped up a climate of fear for the sick and disabled to endure daily, created and ruthlessly enforced the bedroom tax, had multiple expenses-related embarrassments and generally shown themselves not only unfit to manage our interests, they finally manage to be utterly, comprehensively useless at the one singe thing that even the least competent, experienced politician should be good at. Which is to hide the evidence, shift the blame and lie their way out of it.
They haven’t even managed that, either.