|Pinocchio, by Carlo Chiostri (1901)|
Very talkative people always seemed to me to be divided into two classes — those who lie for a purpose and those who lie for the love of lying;
Asked on BBC Radio 4 whether he was alleging that lying was widespread in public life, Bruce, who stood down at the election, replied: “No, well, yes. Lots of people have told lies and you know perfectly well that to be true.”
He suggested MPs could not be excluded for telling a lie: “If you are suggesting every MP who has never quite told the truth or even told a brazen lie, including cabinet ministers, including prime ministers, we would clear out the House of Commons very fast, I would suggest,” he said.
Not a particularly significant admission one might assume. Yet sometimes political comments stick around to become public facts, absorbed into the swirling network of narratives which make up public discourse.
Official lying has become a fact of life, but we knew that anyway. However if political lying were to become a basic fact of all realistic political discourse, then political life would have to change.
On the other hand, we knew about the lying but still voted for them in our millions in the recent general election. What does that say about us?