Last week we saw the Tory party being (yet again) utterly stupid by rebranding their Twitter feed as a “FACT CHECK” page. They wanted to imply that they were independently checking the facts. It just showed them up as devious and inept.
There are several independent “FactCheck” websites and online services if you want to find out whether a politician is lying. However, today I am launching a “FAT CHECK” where I grade the parties according to how many big fat porkies they tell about Brexit. Think of it as an “obesity grading” for the parties. The more porkies they tell, the fatter they are.
Boris Johnson appeared in two TV debates in the past week where the same question came up. Effectively it was “how can we trust you when you are a confirmed liar?” The boos from both audiences and the way in which he was derided for his attempts to say the truth is vital is all you need to know.
Not only has the leader of the Tory Party blatantly lied – for instance saying he “had to” call an election (not true) – but his fellow politicians just add to the problem. Last week I heard one of them say there had been a “substantial” majority in favour of Brexit. Er, no, not quite. It was 3.85% in a referendum that had a 5% margin of error.
It appears that the Tory party is addicted to porkies. As a result, they appear as “Grossly Obese” on the FatCheck scale.
Meanwhile, the Labour Party has been busy stuffing its face with manifesto promises, which all appear to be making them overweight as well. On BBC Question Time this week, an angry member of the audience suggested that the Labour promise to only increase taxes for those earning over £80,000 was a lie. He said that he earned over £80,000 and that meant he wasn’t even in the top 50% of earners. He added that “every” accountant, doctor and solicitor earned more than this figure. Sadly for this chap whose video has gone viral, his is the big fib. Half of the doctors in the UK earn less than £60,000 and half of the solicitors earn less than £42,000. HMRC figures show that if you get £80,000 or more a year than you are indeed in the top 5% of earners, just as Jeremy Corbyn had said (smug smile time). So, Labour was not fibbing. Except they were.
While it is true they will not be increasing income tax for people below £80,000 they will be adjusting other tax elements, such as the removal of the married allowance. They also plan to reverse changes to inheritance tax, add VAT to school fees, and tax second homes. The result of their overall tax changes will, therefore, be tax increases for many more people than the top 5% if Labour wins. Great big fat porkie from them. Verdict: Grossly Obese.
Over at Brexit Party HQ, they were also expanding their waistlines. Instead of a manifesto, they launched an online “contract”. It’s not worth the paper it isn’t written on because there is no chance Nigel Farage will become Prime Minister. (Well I am hoping there is no chance.) So the “contract” will never come into operation. Besides, it says that the Brexit Party would have a clean break with Europe allowing us to regain “immediate” control of our laws and so on. However, that isn’t entirely true. An existing Act of Parliament means that all European laws will be “our” laws when we leave. Only be rewriting hundreds of thousands of pages of legal documents could the Brexit Party achieve what it is implying. Even if we left tomorrow, many of our laws would still be “European”.
The Brexit Party website also has a lengthy privacy notice showing how they will use your information and under what circumstances they will contact you. That’s a clear big fib too. How do I know? Because (as you may imagine) I did not sign up for any mailings from the Brexit Party but received one this week saying how pleased they were I had signed up for their newsletter. Boing – straight to spam and reported to the GDPR Police. Verdict? Grossly Obese.
I don’t have time to investigate the Lib Dems or the Greens or the SNP and so on. But my guess is that they would be at least “Obese”. We do know that the £50bn “Brexit bonus” which the Lib Dems mentioned several times this week was true and not a porkie. Independent economists agreed that the figure was “about right”. Equally, the Green claim about the number of deaths due to air pollution was also shown to be correct by independent academics who had studied the issue.
What this means is that all politicians are overweight on my “FatCheck” scales. In this election, there appear to be more great fat porkies, especially about Brexit, than ever before. I particularly like the one I heard on the radio the other day when the discussion was about HRH Prince Andrew (who also ought to be investigated by the FatCheck service I imagine).
The caller to LBC was complaining about the Royal Family saying they didn’t pay enough tax. He then added an explanation saying that is why he and many other people voted for Brexit. Yes, that’s right, he voted for Brexit because he thought it would enable us to get more tax out of the Queen. And this man can vote again in a couple of weeks from now. It’s even scarier than I thought.