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In a world of post-truth politics, Andrea Leadsom will make the perfect PM

July 09,2016 09:08

We apparently now inhabit a world that appears to be increasingly anti-fact. It's a world in which campaigners for Brexit unblushingly asserted that Britain sends £350m a week to the EU, and pledged to spend the entirety of this imaginary sum on the NHS.

He’s not wrong. Manipulating emotion does work; feelings can beat facts. This is why modern political campaigners love to use the words “positive” and “negative”, “optimism” and “pessimism”: they enable the easy dismissal of criticism.
Thus a politician who lies is “running a positive campaign”, while opponents who point out the lies are “engaged in personal attacks”. Inconvenient facts can be denounced as “smears”, and warnings as “scaremongering”. In the Scottish referendum of 2014, anyone who questioned the Yes campaign’s utopian vision of independence was accused of “talking Scotland down”. This year, anyone who questioned the utopian vision of Brexit was “talking Britain down”.
It’s a simple but effective message. Facts are negative. Facts are pessimistic. Facts are unpatriotic.
In light of all this, I think Andrea Leadsom makes an ideal candidate for prime minister. She embodies the mood of anti-factual “positivity”. On Thursday, during what was billed as “a major speech on the economy”, she mentioned little in the way of policy, but to great cheers spoke sunnily of “hope”, “optimism” and “banishing the pessimists”. She portrayed the fall in the pound as “great news for exports”. And, to show that Brexit hasn’t harmed our economy, she noted that the FTSE 100 was up.
Critics have argued that it was up largely because our currency had plummeted to a 30-year low against the dollar. Yes, well. You can prove anything with facts, can’t you?

Brexit,Comment,Conservative Party,Michael Deacon,Andrea Leadsom,Opinion,Politics,Jeremy Corbyn,News

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