Liar, liar, pants on fire!

I don’t think I can be the only one who spits feathers when she watches a politician wearing a ‘caring’ face and plainly telling lies on television. I can smell the singed trousers, even at that distance, and it makes me so angry. Yet they lie with impunity on and on and on, and they even do it in the House of Commons which is the one place, given that they are elected representatives of their constituency and answerable to their electors, that they really should tell the truth. All of which makes me wonder how and why they are allowed to get away with it. So my granddaughter and I did a bit of Googling and it turns out that it is all to do with what is considered ‘Unparliamentary language’. We even discovered a list of words that MPs are not allowed to use in the House of Commons.

Some of the words on the list are quite comical and have fallen out of use many years ago. We found: blackguard, guttersnipe, hooligan, pipsqueak, wart and stool pigeon, but not ‘cokehead’ or ‘sniffer’. I suppose they’re too modern. But to our horror, we discovered, halfway down the list, the word ‘liar’. And another note we found on Google, explains why it is still in use: “The most prohibited case,” it said “is any suggestion that another member is dishonourable, so, for example, suggesting that another member is lying is forbidden.” But they are dishonourable, manifestly dishonourable, and the lies they tell are extremely harmful. Surely it shouldn’t be beyond the wit of the speaker of the house to find a way to do something about it, maybe even remove the word ‘liar’ from the prohibited list.

As servants of a democracy – and they are all servants, although some of them seem to have forgotten that – MPs should be open, honest and truthful. It seems to me that if what they are saying is known to be a lie, then that lie should be revealed in the House and put under scrutiny until the truth is discovered. If you don’t check a liar, he goes on telling bigger and bigger lies because he knows he can get away with it. They use all sorts of tricks to cloak what they are doing, some turn on the charm, some play the fool, but the lies are potent and harmful, no matter what they do.

How about a change Mr Speaker that would allow our honest politicians the chance to challenge a lie on our behalf?






10 thoughts on “Liar, liar, pants on fire!

  1. Oh Beryl, my first glance at the photos reminded me of some of the American contenders! It is SO annoying, frustrating, etc,, to view the depths of dishonesty, name-calling, shaming, obscenities (don’t ask?) which are being sent over the airwaves.

    Imagine these guys sitting down with PM or Pres. European or Asian nations and spilling out vomit! The hatefulness may be a ploy, but as Mom used to remind us, once the words are out of your mouth, you can’t take them back.

    I just wonder (as I usually do) how you would enforce honesty. If a man or woman choose to lie, fabricate, exaggerate, how would we know? I heard this AM about scandalous lies aired in opposition to former candidates here… The TV is off for the day!

    If you want to change the course of history, at least leave a foot print your Mom or Sis or best friend would be proud to identify! Mary Ellen


  2. If we could persuade the Speaker of our House of Commons to alter the gentleman’s agreement about Parliamentary language, that would allow the more honest of our MPs to challenge the liars on our behalf.


  3. “Mr Speaker, I said the honourable member was a liar it is true and I am sorry for it. The honourable member may place the punctuation where he pleases.”
    Richard Brinsley Sheridan MP, illustrating why punctuation matters and how to slap someone within the rules in one simple lesson.


      • Or, like Churchill famously did with his ‘Terminological inexactitude’, find other ways of getting round the restrictions. There is no doubt in my mind that IDS has been very economic with the truth, to the point of parsimony. My point is that good parliamentarians (whatever the colour of their ties) have always been able to get away with saying what they actually mean.

        The real problem is that we have very few good parliamentarians on either side. Career idiots and greedy temple money changers do not make for good, reasoned policy. The political spectrum in this country is now focused in such a narrow band of political opinion that we have no real choice at all. I’m seeing the end result of taking Noam Chomsky’s waring on how politics shouldn’t be working and using it as a guide,

        “The smart way to keep people passive and obedient is to strictly limit the spectrum of acceptable opinion, but allow very lively debate within that spectrum….”
        ― Noam Chomsky, The Common Good


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