Monday, 14 November 2016


This isn’t just another let’s-be-nasty-to Trump piece although I thought the comment made by Freddy Gray (Literary Editor of the American Conservative) was pretty good:

“In his anger, shadiness and batty orange campness, Trump looks like America’s answer to Hugo Chavez.”

I hope he’s wrong given the current state of Venezuela.

What I want to think about is truthfulness.

When the Leave campaign in the UK Referendum created a blatant lie - ‘give our NHS the £350 million the EU takes every week’ - it struck a chord with many voters. Only after their victory was it stripped from their website and grudgingly acknowledged as a “mistake.” Not a “lie” a “mistake.”

Politicians don’t “lie” any more they “mis-speak.” And isn’t it interesting that an MP isn’t allowed to say that another politician’s lying in Parliament - even when they are?  If they say it, they’re dismissed from the chamber?

But Donald J. Trump is in a different class altogether. And why this should concern us and, regardless of its consequences, we should stand up against this appalling charlatan, is the example he sets for the future generations. How do you say to young children “don’t lie” when they now can, and having more courage than we ever did, will reply:  “why not? You lot do it all the time. Look at the US President”?

In a moment of arcane philosophical reflection the Managing Director of M&C Saatchi, Tom Firth, said this:
“This is post-truth politics, so you can literally say pretty much anything you want as long as it fits with what people think is true”…or, I’d add “what they want to hear”.

Another take on the US Election was this from Peter Thiele, co-founder of PayPal:
“the media takes Trump's remarks literally, but not seriously. Trump supporters take them seriously, but not literally. "

Which is all very well and very smart but it worries me to death as do all the apologists and gurus who are currently analysing Trump’s campaign and pronouncing him a genius marketer.

Sorry. That just will not do.

His campaign was a cynical piece of showmanship full of lies, monster over-claims and bigotry. He’s an impressive TV performer. His Apprentice series in the USA on NBC got audiences of 30 million I heard.
Hang on. No. It was the highest rating TV show in the history of US TV reaching 100 million people and winning a Palme d’Or at Cannes.

No, it didn’t. But the lie once spoken captures the average attention.

There are very few people like my friend Leon Kreitzman who will always say “hang on let’s examine those numbers for a bit to see if they feel right.” So here’s today’s formula. Lie first and repent later. Exaggerate, embroider and hype. Oh  for heaven’s sake I spent years in advertising so I know about that but it really will not do as a strategy that’s acceptable any more in an increasingly credulous world.

We’ve got to stop it.

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