Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Okay, so is it okay to lie?

I am a little irritated by the fuss currently being made in the media. The Leader of the Opposition admitted to lying sometimes. So? He is a politician. Politicians lie. Lying is part of the political game. Politicians lie to obtain power and lie to retain it. So, why the fuss?
Our current opposition leader is a Catholic. He was once in training for the priesthood - before he decided he did not have a vocation. As a result many people still expect him to be a saint, not a sinner. (I suspect he is human, like the rest of us.)
What bothers me though is something quite different. There is a message here that I do not like. We know politicians lie. We also know that they evade answering questions - which may be another form of lying. The message we seem to be getting is, "It is naive and unacceptable to admit to telling lies. It is sophisticated and acceptable to deny telling lies - or avoid saying that you do."
Now, I may be wrong - I am often wrong - but this seems to be the wrong message. Oh, it is convenient I grant you that. It allows a media generated political beat up. There was a bit of a problem there for a short while. It looked as if the present government was on the nose and that made media inclinations unhappy - and a lot of other people as well. Something had to be done to redress the issue.
The problem is that they have done it in a way which deliberately undermines trust that we can rely on. Politicians, although we elect them, are not generally considered trustworthy. This just undermines what little trust we have in them - in both sides.
I do not believe that makes for good governance.

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