Lies, Damned Lies and Rhetorical Tricks

In an interesting article, Adrian Hamilton tells us of Blair’s skillful use of “four rhetorical tricks”:

  • The problems faced by the Government are new and more terrible than anything that has gone on before. But then you have to use anything you can to justify ‘extraordinary rendition’ [Abduction & Torture ], don’t you.
  • Defining a choices in terms of emotive artificial opposites. This is the “If you’re not with us, you’re against us” or “Those who oppose the privatisation of the health service want patients to die” kind of thing.
  • Propose that the nation needs to have a full public debate. But then do and say everything to prevent that debate.
  • Claim that decisions are made immeasurebly more difficult by the media, 24-hour on-demand news and global communication methods. This is rich coming from a government synonymous with spin. And lets not forget that the media and the public were behind Bush and Blair’s Afghanistan campaign. Its the Iraq war and the manner in which it gets conflated with terrorism, that has been the Neocon bamboozle of choice and one that Blair makes habitually.

Blair is a genius at presenting lies as if they were points of honour, patriotism or enlightenmnet (with a small e) and in that regard he’s pathological in his ability to believe his own porkies. Pathological liars are capable of selling their bullshit to intelligent people who should have known better.

No one is arguing that fundamentalism isn’t a problem. But it is deliberately misleading to declare that therefore everything is part of the same pattern or that all is new. It is also dishonest to pretend you want a public debate when everything you say and do closes down just such a thing. If Blair really wants open discussion why doesn’t he have a Commons vote on whether we support or oppose President Bush’s new policy in Iraq? It might test out just how independent our foreign policy is these days. No, open discussion and accountability is the last thing the Prime Minister, or his colleagues, want. They, and parliament, prefer to turn their heads away as the premier continues this mendacious posturing.

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