What’s that coppery, scandiumy, word?

I do not always agree with Jonathan Freedland on the Guardian. Today he does, however, suggest a description of the political era we appear to be entering that is well worth considering for wider use. The term is post-truth politics, of which he says:

In this era of post-truth politics, an unhesitating liar can be king. The more brazen his dishonesty, the less he minds being caught with his pants on fire, the more he can prosper. And those pedants still hung up on facts and evidence and all that boring stuff are left for dust, their boots barely laced while the lie has spread halfway around the world.

It is not chance that we have reached this place.

What is that word we use to describe the major practitioner of something complaining about that thing being done?

28 thoughts on “What’s that coppery, scandiumy, word?”

  1. So Much For Subtlety

    I did not have sex with that woman!

    But then again what difference does it make at this point?

  2. The Inimitable Steve

    Ritchie aside, the Freedland article could have been interesting. I’ve often thought we’re living in a post-sincerity age, one where the Prime Minister can, with a straight face, say things like “Islam is a religion of peace” and “we can reform the EU!”, and nobody laughs.

    But nah. What Freedland really wants to say is them right wingers are bastards.

    The proof is on show most visibly in the US, where Republican nominee-to-be Donald Trump enjoys a relationship to the truth that is chilly, occasional and distant.

    Poor-but-honest Hillary Clinton was not available for comment.

    The Washington Post’s fact-checker blog has awarded its maximum dishonesty rating – four Pinocchios – to nearly 70% of the Trump statements it has vetted.

    I mean, c’mon guys. Who are you going to trust? The zero-fucks-given billionaire or dead tree media whores?

    Decisions, decisions.

    Emblazoned on the side was the slogan: “We send the EU £350 million a week.” Except it’s not true. That figure fails to take account of Britain’s rebate – negotiated, incidentally, by the Brexiteers’ heroine, Margaret Thatcher – worth the best part of £100m each week. To say nothing of the money the EU sends back to the UK, mainly to help British farmers, which reduces the net weekly cost of EU membership to an estimated £160m or less.

    It’s only costing us £8.3Bn a year to let unelected Belgian nonces make our laws, stupid BoJo. Bargain!

    But let’s not punish Johnson for the mute words of a charabanc. Rather let’s pay attention to the words that came out of his mouth, such as his critique of David Cameron’s speech on Monday, which had focused on the national security implications of a Brexit. Johnson hit back: “I think all this talk of world war three and bubonic plague is demented, frankly.”

    And who could disagree? Who but a cretin would suggest that the black death would be the result of a British break from the EU? And yet a scan of the text of Cameron’s speech yields no results for either “bubonic” or “world war three”. Who was it, then, that introduced “all this talk” of such perils? Why, it was the former mayor himself.

    Freedland must not read the press, which has published such stories as:

    Brexit would prompt stock market and house price crash, says IMF …

    Brexit would be a messy divorce, and very hard on the children

    Brexit could derail fight for women’s rights, says Harriet Harman

    Brexit could spell end for farming and car industry

    How Brexit could drive out European Premier League footballers

    Brexit could cost £100bn and nearly 1m jobs, CBI warns

    Brexit would be bad for the NHS and social care

    Brexit threat to UK security

    Brexit would increase terrorist threat to UK, says ex-minister

    To be fair, perhaps he missed those headlines because they all appeared in a tiny-circulation dying rag called, um, The Guardian.

    But never fear! At least we still have that well-known bastion of truth and decency, the Savile Broadcasting Corporation:

    In Britain, we have not yet fallen as far. That’s partly because we still have one forum which cannot so easily be dismissed as peddling a partisan agenda, though its critics, right and left, never cease trying. I’m speaking of the BBC.

    ( ͡° ͜ʖ ͡°)

  3. I did not have sex with that woman!

    I’ve since come to the conclusion that Slick Willy was referring to Hillary, not Monica.

    Certainly Chelsea looks more like Hillary’s former boss Webster Hubbell than Bill Clinton.

  4. Great analysis, I. Steve!

    ‘The more brazen his dishonesty, the less he minds being caught with his pants on fire, the more he can prosper.’

    Freedland misses the point with Trump, as do the rest of the legacy press. Americans are sick of the press’ gotcha politics. We wouldn’t care if Trump misspelled potato. Their pointing out that he misspelled potato (Dan Quayle) while Hillary takes bribes as head of state dept just magnifies the press’ corruption. Every time Freedland yaps, the more support Trump gets.

  5. “In this era of post-truth politics”: didn’t that start in this country with Blair? Up till then some of what the buggers said was true; with Blair if anything was true it was pure accident.

  6. It’s only costing us £8.3Bn a year to let unelected Belgian nonces make our laws, stupid BoJo.

    Have the supplies arrived for the gallows that need to be set up on the 24th? Something will have to be done with the Brexit supporters whose only goal is to control that money themselves.

  7. The reason the Left hate Trump so much is he’s using their tactics back at them – brazenly lie about anything and everything, and create your own reality.

    The fiercest hate is reserved for those closest you. Hence People’s Front of Judea vs Judean People’s Front, National Socialist vs International Socialist, far Left splinter groups etc etc.

  8. I must say, Liberal Yank’s transition to full shitlord has been faster than perhaps any I’ve seen. Unless someone is just using that name for a laugh.

  9. Nah, I just didn’t get any sleep so my brain is making odd connections.

    £8.3Bn is a lot of money. Surely among the Brexit supporters there are some who see the potential for tremendous personal gain. Assuming the Brussels bunglers are sent packing, there are surely plans in place to avoid them just popping up in London.

  10. @PF

    Well, I’ve seen it happen before. There was a kid named “Fire” on the Goon forums who was the biggest Leftist idiot imaginable, until his car was broken into. Immediately he was calling for those responsible to be sterilised.

  11. “£8.3Bn is a lot of money. Surely among the Brexit supporters there are some who see the potential for tremendous personal gain.”

    You are joking? A little old lady in Southend is voting for Brexit because somehow she’s going to manage to convince the State to funnel some of the tax revenue it doesn’t send to Brussels her way?

    I mean its not inconceivable that there a few people in the UK who are so wealthy, influential and well connected that they might be able to personally get their hands on the extra public spending that might result from Brexit, but the numbers of those will be ludicrously small, and irrelevant to the vote.

    For any normal member of the public to think that they can in any way predict exactly how the State will piss the extra money up the wall, and position themselves in order to receive the resultant golden shower is rampant idiocy.

  12. Actually, there is no “extra” money.

    What I mean is that the UK is still running a hefty annual deficit. It’s potentially a little less that the state currently needs to “increase its total borrowings by” each year, and a trifle given UK GDP / total borrowings / levels of public spending.

    When people talk about spending this money on x, y and z, it’s to ignore the way the greater UK budgetary / spending process works.

  13. I’m just wondering, support or lack of it for Brexit notwithstanding, does anyone here actually believe for a moment that the UK will be allowed to leave?

    As far as I can see, the process is very simple. First, we’ll have a referendum on Brexit. Either we’ll vote to stay, in which case we’ll stay, or we’ll vote to leave, and Cameron will propose a set of totally unacceptable terms on which to leave. When there’s widespread criticism of his unacceptable terms he’ll propose a referendum on those, and when the voters reject them, he’ll say that the mandate for leaving has become unclear and we need another referendum on whether to leave at all. Loop until the desired result is achieved.

  14. Steve,

    The owner of the Washington Post (Amazon’s Jeff Bezos) is on a mission to unsettle Trump. Supposedly because Trump wants to tax Amazon more.

  15. @Dave
    If that was the plan, they wouldn’t be engaging in quite so much obvious throwing of the kitchen sink and all.

    If leave wins, Dave’s finished, and he knows it – that’s at least half the reason he’s so desperate to win.

  16. theProle>

    You’re assuming the noise is coming from people who understand how it works.

    As for Cameron being in trouble over a vote to leave, I can’t see it myself. Who’s going to challenge him on that basis? Regardless of what the people think, politicians are unsurprisingly in favour of more government; few MPs would support a Eurosceptic Tory leader.

  17. @dearieme, May 14, 2016 at 12:39 pm

    “In this era of post-truth politics”: didn’t that start in this country with Blair? Up till then some of what the buggers said was true; with Blair if anything was true it was pure accident.

    Certainly started in UK politics with Blair, Mandelson & Campbell. They copied the founder’s of post-truth politics – Bill “Slick Willy” Clinton & Hilary “Benghazi” Clinton.

    As for what EU allows us to have back, CAP and development funding.

    CAP – We have no say in what is paid.
    Development funding – EU decides what projects receive it and provides ~50% of cost and UK the rest.

    Time to break free

  18. @Dave: I have to say I agree with you. The establishment have so much riding on a Remain vote, I just can’t see them taking their hands off the levers of power.

    If there is a Leave vote, it will be by a small majority, maybe less than 1% in it. I predict that they will use that as a reason to prevaricate and hedge.

    My take would be that a narrow Leave victory will result initially in a ‘We must take time to reflect on what the public have said’ stance. Followed by ‘Its undemocratic to make such a massive change in public policy based on just a few hundred thousand votes either way, we will go back to the EU and renegotiate a new settlement and put that to the people’. All this based on Rule One of the EU – Keep people voting until they vote the way you want them to. If they won’t vote the way you want, just ignore them.

    We’ve seen it time after time in the last 30 years, why do we think this time will be any different for us? It wasn’t for the Danes, or the French, or the Irish.

    If course if its a Remain vote by a similarly small margin that’ll be taken as a resounding endorsement of the Establishment, and the matter will be closed in perpetuity.

    Someone ought to nail Cameron down to a legally binding statement on whether a Leave vote would be respected.

  19. The Inimitable Steve

    Gamecock – Thank you!

    Americans are sick of the press’ gotcha politics.

    Same here. The mass media seems unaware of how little the public trusts them.

    Re: Trump and the truth. From what I’ve seen, his “lies” mainly fall into two categories:

    a) Shameless self-promotion; and

    b) Rhetorical attacks on his political enemies

    (a) is a feature, not a bug, and (b) is both splendidly entertaining, and nothing the people calling him sexist-racist-Hitler don’t have coming.

    There’s a third category – exaggerations and flubbed statistics – where Trump has said things that are broadly true (there are lots of Mexican criminals in the US), but didn’t produce peer reviewed white papers full of footnotes and references to support his every rhetorical flourish.

    The media seems to think voters give a shit about their tendentious bumpickery over this stuff. They’re wrong.

    Andrew – Yes, I heard Bezos was picking a fight with Trump. I suspect it won’t end well for the computer geek.

  20. The Inimitable Steve

    Jim – This is why I never wanted a referendum in the first place.

    I want us to leave.

    We’ll either leave peacefully and amicably now, or not so peacefully and amicably later. The EU doesn’t have a long term future with Britain in it.

  21. Jim>

    “All this based on Rule One of the EU – Keep people voting until they vote the way you want them to. If they won’t vote the way you want, just ignore them.”

    Well, quite. Although the second sentence is superfluous, since you can always engineer the right answer if you can go to the polls enough times.


    Really? Even if we’re just using this as a flimsy excuse to stick it to lefties, Scargill was a master of post-truthiness. I’m sure we could go back much further.

    ‘Being economical with the truth’ as a description of politics only became a popular turn of phrase in 1986, although it predates that by a couple of centuries at least, but even 1986 is a decade before Blair.

  22. Jim

    I can think of something else that Dave might usefully be nailed down to.


    “never wanted a referendum in the first place”

    Precisely. And never some barking EU nutter in charge of the process.

  23. So Much For Subtlety

    dearieme – “didn’t that start in this country with Blair? Up till then some of what the buggers said was true; with Blair if anything was true it was pure accident.”

    Someone, I think it was a Civil Servant, gave what I think is key to understanding Blair. He said that Blair didn’t lie. Blair actually believed it – when he said it.

  24. But surely the point is that although the EU sends money back, they tell the UK how to spend it?

    What was it Monnet said: “Europe’s nations should be guided towards the superstate without their people understanding what is happening. This can be accomplished by successive steps, each disguised as having an economic purpose, but which will eventually and irreversibly lead to federation. ”

    So speaks the EU Commissar!

  25. Fergie>

    There are various points there. One could argue that it’s going to be spent whether they tell us how to spend it or not, and that if you hand a sum of money to the idiots in Westminster and tell them it can be spent, they’ll give the CAP a run for its money when it comes to senseless wastage.

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