Thoughts on politics and life from a liberal perspective

Wednesday, 1 July 2009

Should opponents call Gordon Brown a liar?

There has been various talk in the blogosphere and in newspaper comments recently about how Gordon Brown is not being honest when it comes to Labour's spending plans after the next election. There is a debate going on as to whether it would make sense for David Cameron or other opponents of his to call him a liar directly.

I have even read a suggestion that Cameron should do it at PMQs and then refuse to take it back thus breaking parliamentary procedure to underline how serious the situation is.

I am sure Cameron won't do this and I would be surprised if any senior politician does it in the chamber. They will find forms of words that mean the same thing but fall short of actually doing it. I can understand why as well. It would drag the whole debate down.

That however does not stop the media and bloggers from doing it. As we have already seen recently, Fraser Nelson has put his head above the parapet to widespread acclaim for having the guts to stand up to Ed Balls.

This needs to happen more. Labour will only get away with it if their lies remain unexposed but I think they underestimate the power of the blogosphere and the new media.

Brown is embarking upon a dangerous experiment and it is one that I think he will eventually regret.


The Half-Blood Welshman said...

Of course, another reason why Cameron should be wary of calling Gordon Brown a liar is that all Prime Ministers tell untruths at the Despatch Box for various reasons - national security, commercial confidentiality etc. Cameron will be no different, and if he breaks the rule on calling people liars, it might later be used against him.

Besides why would he need to? At the moment Gordon Brown simply looks more ludicrous every time he stands up. Calling him a liar would simply be a distraction.

Aye We Can ! said...

I a agree with the half blooded welshman. Brown just looks shifty. Confrtonted with a well argued couter case, voters will know who to believe without such the need for such a direct accusation.

If anything it would be counterproductive, evoke sympathy when none is deserved

Cardinal Richelieu's mole said...

This is germane, if charitable (as the author states).

Bagehot's key point is "Do the fiscal figures they [Brown & Balls] cite and twist in any way support the interpretation they put on them–at least enough to make it credible that they believe what they are saying, even if no-one else does? If so, they may not be lying. They may be over-optimistic, incompetent or deluded. But they are not obviously liars.

It is a perhaps too nice distinction but Brown et al can see how their words mislead - so the failure to correct the impression they know they give confirms them as liars, dishonourable and shameless.

Cameron has done enough to show Brown et al lie: he need not risk doing himself harm by explicitly stating what the world knows well.