Most people know on a gut level that you can’t trust the Tories. But two stories in the last 24 hours show explicitly why the party cannot be trusted.
Boris Johnson will promise the moon on a stick to get elected – or at least numerous fantasy hospitals and possibly a couple of unicorns. But his promises are empty and his party will lie and manipulate to achieve whatever result it wants. And as election campaigns begin in earnest, this is important to remember.
The DWP’s phoney ads
The Department for Work and Pensions (DWP) spent £225,000 on an advertising campaign which included a full wrap-around cover ad on the Metro and a four page advertorial feature. The ads were supposed to dismantle “myths” about its flagship benefit, Universal Credit.
But instead of setting the record straight, it appears the DWP created more myths. Or, in the interests of setting the record straight, it used public money to lie. The Advertising Standards Authority banned the ads and found that several claims the DWP made were false or omitted key information, including:
- That people could get into work faster on Universal Credit.
- That claimants could get an advance on payments from the jobcentre.
- That rent could be paid directly to landlords.
Chief executive of poverty-fighting charity Z2K Raji Hunjan said that this raises questions over what else the government is “misleading us on”. And Hunjan delivered a clear message about the future of Universal Credit:
The next government must engage with the compelling evidence that points to the harm UC is causing, leaving many people reliant on food banks and others destitute. Enough is enough.
But Tories manipulating the media seems to be a recurring theme. As BBC journalist Daniel Sanford pointed out:
So this happened. The Conservative Party took an interview from @GMB this morning. They edited it to add on the last shot in which Keir Starmer looks stumped. But that didn't happen. In the original Keir Starmer immediately answered @piersmorgan 's question. https://t.co/G8tU2SUpbq
— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) November 5, 2019
Sandford also posted the original clip:
See the original here https://t.co/IrO2Eh6W2r (timecode about 9.39)
— Daniel Sandford (@BBCDanielS) November 5, 2019
But what’s key here is that this isn’t a rogue Tory-supporting account engaging in a bit of video editing. This is the Conservatives’ main blue tick Twitter account with 431,000 followers. Even Piers Morgan called the party out on the tweet – albeit with the customary ‘neutrality’ we’ve come to expect from certain TV presenters:
You doctored the end of the clip you originally put out, to make it look like @Keir_Starmer had no answer to my question. In fact he answered immediately. You could have had plenty of fun with that interview anyway – why fake it? https://t.co/nskZ0hgnyc
— Piers Morgan (@piersmorgan) November 5, 2019
Tip of the iceberg
These are just two incidents that have come to light in the last day. The full extent of Tory lies is huge. And Johnson is a master of using them. From continually using the discredited £350m-a-week-to-the-NHS figure, to lying about Turkey joining the EU, to lying about lying about the fact that he said Turkey was going to join the EU, he is utterly shameless.
Each and every time Johnson or the Conservative Party lies, we need to shout about it, we need to expose it. But we also need to keep telling alternative stories, the real tales of how and why they’ve fucked us over. This is why initiatives like #ToryStory are so important. We all have our own stories about what this government has done to us. The Tories will keep spending huge amounts of money manipulating the truth. But we can counter this. We can make sure no-one believes them.
And most importantly, we can use this collective power to kick them out for good.
Featured image via screengrab – BBC
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