In post-truth Britain there is no value in attacking political liars as liars. Attack them as gullible twits instead. Here’s why that will have far more impact on public opinion.
Lies Aren’t Punished.
In the last few days right wingers have spread such obvious lies that you might think it worth attacking them as liars. Don’t! Instead use a more powerful approach. Be kind and assume their stupidity.
In post-truth Britain, highlighting a lie is just noise that most people ignore. The receptive audience don’t believe the lies anyway, they just pretend to believe, so as to mask their less pleasant opinions. Worse still, deceit is even seen by some as indicating intelligence.
Fortunately lies do come with a price attached. If treated as honest, they often make the liar look gullible, stupid or just plain weird. So mocking them can diminish both the lie and the liar – because the public never wants to be those things.
Here’s three examples
Nadine Dories – Far Right Propaganda
What happened: Government Minister Nadine Dorries (and chums) promoted a far right propaganda video about Keir Starmer. The video was a lie made up of clips spliced together to make it look like he said bad things.
The Motivation: She is a Tory. Starmer is outperforming Boris Johnson in public polling right now, so she spreads lies to hurt an opponent.
The Right Response: While it is natural to be horrified that government is promoting far right propaganda, the most powerful hit is her gullibility in believing such obvious fakery from such obvious fakers. Voters – being normal people – never want to be the dummies so will less likely support her or promote the same far right lies.
Brandon Lewis – Five-Year-Olds
What happened: Brandon Lewis, another government minister, was questioned on the BBC about whether government believed five and six year olds will adhere to two meter spacing in the playground. Weirdly, he answered “yes”.
The Motivation: Mr Lewis is a government minister seeking to justify the premature reopening of schools. As such he needs to pretend he believes schools won’t be disease-spreading hubs – which they always are, just ask any parent, grandparent or teacher.
The Right Response: You could point out the British Medical Association says it isn’t safe, but perhaps instead emphasise the real world. No one who has met five year olds would answer yes, because that’s stupid. This casts common sense normal people against an idiot out of touch government.
Keir Starmer’s Donkey Sanctuary
What happened: The ex boyfriend of Boris Johnson’s newest baby muma lied in the Mail that Keir Starmer owns £10million worth of land.
The Motivation: Rich Tories and the far left alike seem to think casting working class Keir Starmer as financially successful, will hurt his popularity somehow. So they constantly focus on his success.
The Right Response: Ignore that the lie is based on implausible imaginary planning permissions. No one cares. Instead ask why Tories hate donkey sanctuaries, dislike sons doing things for their disabled mums, and hate working class kids growing up to have money. Such mocking asserts the opposite of their motivation – that Keir Starmer is a good guy.