Sympathy for the Weasel
I have been struck by one of those rare moments of sympathy for Nick Clegg. The instrument of my temporary conversion is Jeremy Paxman, whose public service in exposing the vacuous hypocrisy of Russell Brand has been substantially negated by his decision to expose his own hypocrisy in the Radio Times.
He revealed that he hadn’t voted in “a recent election” and that he could understand people who wouldn’t vote next time:
At the next election we shall have a choice between the people who’ve given us five years of austerity, the people who left us this mess, and the people who signed public pledges that they wouldn’t raise student fees, and then did so – the most blatant lie in recent political history.
He’s entitled to his wrong opinions and poor grasp of economics, but I do object – as I was saying to Louise Mensch – to people using “lie”, “lying” or “liar”.
There is no need for it. Your argument is infinitely stronger and more persuasive if you can make it without such unparliamentary language.
But what makes it worse in this case is that it is, er, a false statement that Paxman knows to be false.
The Liberal Democrat promise to vote against any rise in tuition fees was foolish, wrongheaded and even insincere in the sense that Nick Clegg and several of his senior colleagues did not agree with it. But they did not make the promise intending to break it. They assumed that, if they got into government, they would be able to negotiate a way through that would allow them to keep it.
My irritation with Clegg’s hypocrisy in opposing special advisers, who are good for democracy, when he was in opposition, and in employing a record number of them now, has temporarily shifted.Tagged in: language, liar, lie, lying, unparliamentary language
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