It is obvious that most politicians do not see truth-telling as a helpful career option. To my mind this has always been the case. Our comparatively recent access to a huge mass of information via the web has simply made their lying disturbingly blatant.
Lying to the punter is how political business is done and as far as I can see it has never been any different. What has become startlingly different in recent years is how those lies are more easily spotted via the web. They stand out because they don’t fit a web-centric public domain.
Yet the toads have no other way of doing business.
Putting the best spin on things and if necessary resorting to outright lies – hasn’t that always been the way of things? In other words, we don’t have honest politics because we never invented it. So will the political classes of the twenty-first century ever evolve another way of doing business?
Maybe, but I think they were unprepared for the web. So familiar were they with lying, spinning and dissimulation, that they never saw it coming. They never realised how the web would shine a cold blue light on their lies and evasions.
Maybe that cold blue light is far from perfect and maybe it will be attenuated by censorship and manipulation, but just possibly it may survive and flourish. There is another, more subtle aspect to the web though.
Does the web think?
Does it take a view on things? I think in a sense it does. We already know what it thinks of Tim Yeo, although as yet we aren’t clear how it works because web thinking is complex, multi-dimensional, contradictory and not always what we expect. Except in Tim's case of course.
It may be a weirdly ambivalent and mysterious network of competing narratives and possibilities, but if those narratives coalesce towards a conclusion, however tentative, subtle and nuanced, then in that sense the web is thinking.
If so, the conclusions it reaches may shape our lives.