Friday, November 05, 2010

Lying in Politics: Is That a Problem for You?

Turning from Michele Bachmann's account of how the Obama trip to India will cost $200 million a day (a billion a week, excluding weekends), I find the story about how a British court has voided an election on a finding that the candidate made false statements in his campaign.

Great Scott, you mean lying in politics is an offense in Britain?  Apparently so, pursuant to something called the Representation of the People Act 1983.  And on the evidence, you'd have to say that it seems to have worked.  if the finding is upheld on appeal, this would amount to only the second lie told in British politics in those intervening 27 years.    Both culprits were members of the Labor party.  The Conservative and Lib Dem record of truth-telling evidently remains unblemished.

In the current case, the candidate was found guilty "of falsely claiming that [his opponent] had links with Muslim extremists and lived outside the area."    He won the vote but the verdict voids his election and he has now been drummed out of the Labor Party.  What they would have said had he accused his opponent of having been born of Kenya--that remains anybody's guess.

The verdict may be a win for truth but it probably does nothing for the loser in the election.  He was is/a Lib Dem.  The election will now have to be rerun, and all the evidence suggests that Lib Dem popularity since the election has been cratering faster than Barack Obama's after a golf date with William Ayers.

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