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The Spectator podcast: Brexit, and the return of political lying

26 May 2016

8:00 AM

26 May 2016

8:00 AM

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Are David Cameron and George Osborne using the same techniques of deceit deployed by New Labour in the run-up to the Iraq war? In his cover piece this week, Peter Oborne argues that’s just what is happening. He says that in their EU campaign, the Chancellor and Prime Minister have put dirty tricks back at the heart of government. But Matthew Parris in his column says that in politics there’s no point complaining about being lied to. That’s the cry of the bad loser. Both Peter and Matthew join Fraser Nelson on the podcast. Here’s what Peter had to say:

‘There was something very new about what I call the new Labour epistemology, which took away truth from its normal meaning and turned it into an instrument of power. Truth was what you said it was. When David Cameron turned up as leader of the Conservative party, I think it’s fair to say he offered a return to a more traditional political discourse. But what has happened in the last year really, is mendacity and fabrication and deception have re-entered politics from the very top. That’s very troubling.’


The Brexit debate has been spiced up this week by the intervention of Steve Hilton, the Prime Minister’s former chief strategist, who has said he thinks Britain should leave the EU. Hilton uses his experience at the heart of government to make the case for Brexit. But why have so few of those who he used to work with done the same? And will the Prime Minister ever speak to him again? Steve Hilton spoke to Fraser and had this to say:

‘The EU to me is one of the most clear representations of everything that has gone wrong over the last few decades, as we’ve seen more and more power being centralised.’

And what did some of his ex-colleagues make of it?

‘Oliver (Letwin) had a very, very strong point of view that that (leaving the EU) was the only way of dealing with it. I don’t know what his position is today.’

But why did Hilton decide to speak out?

‘The truth is that this is the fight of my life. every single thing i have done in my life has been driven by this fierce belief in people power and a loathing for anything and anyone who tries to stand in the way of that.’

And finally, is the ‘dating apocalypse’ upon us? After going in search of love by attending a speed dating event which required participants to sniff each others’ armpits, Ariene Sherine thinks it may well be. But whilst this sort of matchmaking might sound bizarre, is it true that for the increasing number of single women in their thirties, any dating idea can seem worth trying? Ariene discusses this with Cosmo Landesman and Fraser on the podcast.

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