Probably unique is the adult who has never told a lie. Even that paragon of virtue that I sometime feel myself to be (I’m wrong, of course), tells lies. Though seldom very deliberate and blatant. Like my father though, I can spin a good yarn and, just occasionally, these can be embellished in the telling. So when I have to deal with people who use deliberate falsehoods to try to persuade the rest of us of the validity of their argument or, worse, to hide from us the reality of what they are doing or plan to do, I have been known to take offence. The word “scumbags” springs to mind and lips.
Now most people, even our much maligned politicians, try hard not to lie outright. Indeed, telling lies to Parliament is regarded by MP’s as a most heinous crime. Even a former Labour Prime Minister is said to have found that the hardest job was persuading himself first. Yet there are some (and we’re not looking too far here) who say whatever it is that will get them out of the immediate hole that they are in, whether strictly true or not. Moreover they emanate from, what appears to be, a belief that the rules that apply to the rest of us don’t apply to them. It’s as if they regard themselves as superior as, indeed, some of their comments would confirm. “Calm down, dear” being particularly offensive for its combination of being patronising and sexist in a way that reflects a, somewhat, privileged upbringing.
Now, having come across this situation, both professionally and personally in my life, I have a way of dealing with appalling behaviour that works for me. Starting with a good rant on my own, I first consider my own part in the exercise, followed by a determination to keep going in the way that I believe to be right. It may take a while to have this course of action reaffirmed but, recently, it has done with some aplomb when the opposing course of action proves to have been, not only wrong but predictably and spectacularly so. Schadenfreude doesn’t even come close to describing it.
So, when I read of in today’s Guardian that Jeremy Corbyn might be the toughest Labour leader that the lovely Dave has faced, I am heartened. Not because of that statement but because of the reasoning behind it. This is that Mr Corbyn refuses to engage in the routine forms of political combat and doesn’t even acknowledge the official scoreboard. Moreover, that his principal objective seems to be building a new campaigning movement. Lastly, that he answers questions with a relaxed, shrugging charm and that spin seems to be noticeable by its absence.
Yes, he has an enormous fight on his hand, not least from those within his own party who, long ago expunged the word “socialism” from their vocabularies. What he appears to be trying to do, however, is turn the tide of a culture of lies and dishonesty that has built up these past 35 years. More power to your elbow, JC. Far be it from me to say it but don’t most Christians believe that someone with similar initials tried to do that a couple of thousand years ago. The point is that the original JC may have come to an unhappy end, yet there are millions of people today who believe in what he is said to have promulgated.
It’s a good way to start a Monday morning.