Thursday, November 14, 2013

Down the memory hole

Politicians have a problem: they're liars. They promise one thing in opposition, then do a completely different thing in government. This wouldn't be a problem if they were honest enough to admit that they'd changed their minds or been persuaded by an argument, but their arrogance prevents them from doing that. So they face a constant struggle to pretend that nothing has changed, this has always been their policy, and that Oceania has always been at war with East Asia.

And now the UK Conservative party has used an Orwellian solution to this Orwellian problem, flushing its entire history down the memory hole:

The Conservatives have removed a decade of speeches from their website and from the main internet library – including one in which David Cameron claimed that being able to search the web would democratise politics by making "more information available to more people".

The party has removed the archive from its public website, erasing records of speeches and press releases from 2000 until May 2010. The effect will be to remove any speeches and articles during the Tories' modernisation period, including its commitment to spend the same as a Labour government.

They've even locked out the Internet Archive's Wayback Machine in an effort to prevent people from comparing with what they are saying now (permanent austerity and NHS cuts) with what they were saying then ("I'll cut the deficit, not the NHS"). Its deceitful and pathetic. It also won't work; the British Library is archiving the site (as part of its project to record digital history), and of course there's all those press releases and media articles out there able to be Googled. Unless they try and DMCA those out of existence as well.

But its not just the UK. Asked today in Question Time who was Prime Minister and who was in government in 2009 when the government-of-the-day ignored the pro-child-beating referendum, government standing Jonathan Coleman replied "I don't have that information with me". Which he may have thought looked better than admitting that it was John Key, and that the government's entire spin of "you ignored the child-beating referendum" this week was a lie, but instead it just made him look like a childish, dishonest little prick too cowardly to own his party's own past and policies. And in doing so, he brought not just his party, but our entire democracy into disrepute.