He has some gall. Australia’s Prime Minister Scott Morrison, a person who finds the truth a creature best beaten, shunned and ignored, is now moving into what looks like campaign mode. At COP26 in Glasgow, he sold the world a climate change model that kept company with countries where fumes linger stubbornly, and the fossil fuels burn bravely. He made sure to do it the “Australian Way”, ensuring that emission reduction targets would not so much be met as thoroughly “beaten” without the need for taxes. He spoke of technology unproven and made assumptions unfounded.
Lying in politics is much a statement of fact as rising obesity levels in industrialised states. As that keen student of totalitarianism, Hannah Arendt, pondered, factual truth is ever at the mercy of the lie made in the name of political power. “Facts and events are infinitely more fragile things than axioms, discoveries, theories, which are produced by the human mind.” In his unsurpassed essay “Politics and the English Language”, George Orwell also reminds us with severity that political language itself “is designed to make lies sound truthful and murder respectable, and to give an appearance of solidity to pure wind.”