When spin approaches lie

When is that?

In Theresa May’s  speech to Republicans she is expected to say that “… as we end our membership of the European Union – as the British people voted with determination and quiet resolve to do last year – we have …” (The sentence goes on with more waffle-words like ” sovereign and global Britain”.)

“Determination and quiet resolve…” – where ever does she get that from? Last year’s campaign is acknowledged by all sides to have been divisive and bitter. It was led by fools, fuelled by lies and by appeals to base instincts. It has left the spirit of Great Britain weaker, more narrow-minded and meaner than it was. On that sad day, a small majority (37.4% of the electorate, about 27% of the population) voted to leave.

The result appalled many of those who wanted to remain, and who are still fighting against the damage. The whole thing was, as is well known, fired by the internal politics of the Conservative party, the Eurosceptics who never managed to accept that Britain is and was part of Europe. Britain chose to join the European project, voting in favour in the 1975 referendum by 67% to 33%. But would the Eurosceptics accept the will of the people and get on with it? Of course they didn’t.

The recent referendum, recommending that Britain should leave the EU, was won by a relatively tiny margin. Indeed, the result is so marginal that Theresa May herself is campaigning and voting against the wishes of her own constituency, who voted to remain.

I fully accept that the words of a speech may describe things in a light that may not be shared by all, and it is both normal and proper to embed and suggest an opinion in the way we describe something. Try these:

“Her decision to move to Bristol…”
“Her bold decision to move to Bristol…”
“Her rash decision to move to Bristol…”
“Her brave decision to move to Bristol…”
“Her foolish decision to move to Bristol…”
“Her foolhardy decision to move to Bristol…”
“Her stupid decision to move to Bristol…”
… and so forth.

But I suggest that to describe the rancorous salad of lies, personal attacks and misrepresentation that characterised the referendum campaign as a matter of “determination and quiet resolve” is so far out of tune with reality that it does border on a lie.

But then, it seems clear that she wants to cosy up to Donald Trump, so perhaps it’s simply a matter of horses for courses.

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