Being economical with the truth
Posted by Matt Walker on September 17, 2009
The Conservatives believe they have Gordon Brown on the ropes. Leaked documents from the Treasury have revealed that over the next 4 years Labour would cut public spending by 9%. And yet, during Prime Minister’s Question Time back in June 2009, Brown savaged apparent Conservative plans to cut public spending by 10%. He also stated unambiguously that Labour would increase public spending. Yesterday, David Cameron accused Brown of lying to Parliament.
Both Labour and the Conservatives know how important it is to win the argument over public spending. Brown is hoping that by admitting cuts will be necessary, he can convince people that only Labour can be trusted to ensure those cuts occur at the optimum time, and will not be to frontline services. Cameron’s message is that Brown cannot be trusted to tell the truth, cuts are needed now, and the Conservative Party has a monopoly on political wisdom because they recognised months ago that cuts are necessary. Whichever narrative the public accepts may have significant consequences for the 2010 general election.
As I’ve written before, neither Labour or Conservatives are being entirely honest with the public. The crucial question is what the parties think public money should be spent on, and what should actually be cut. This would lead to an interesting debate on the role of the state, something which politicians are trying to avoid for as long as possible. Click on the link to view a Channel 4 News report on the row.