How to pretend to deny something

There can’t be anyone who hasn’t heard of pig-gate. In an acknowledged act of revenge, Lord Ashcroft published salacious gossip about David Cameron porking some pork. Is it evil? No, of course not. If it happened, the pig was dead anyway, and no-one was harmed in any way (other than perhaps Cameron). Was it true? No-one really cares, because it’s funny and is exactly the sort of thing that people could imagine him doing. And he has been pretty unpleasant about laying in to people like Corbyn, so he deserves to take some grief for a change.

But what is more illuminating is the way Cameron has tried to deny it ever happened without actually denying it.

Yesterday when reporters confronted Cameron yet again about the story, he said “a very specific denial was made a week ago and I’ve nothing to add to that”. But a week ago all he said was that he would “not dignify the allegations with a response”. Cameron was hoping that reporters and the public would think that he was denying that it ever happened by claiming to have already made a denial, when in fact he has denied nothing at all. It’s a classic evil trick designed to fool everyone, and judging by some of the headlines, the lazier reporters were taken in. Mwhahaha;

This trick might be simply part of a fake denial of a personal embarrassment that doesn’t impact Cameron’s ability to run the country. But it’s exactly the same evil trick as is used every day by the government. They claimed to have been “the greenest government ever”, but have killed the renewables industry. They claim that austerity is helping the economy and therefore the country, despite sustained evidence that millions of the poorest people are worse off than ever. They claimed to not want to take taxes just to give them back to the same people in benefits, but then only cut the benefits. But just like with the pig, if they keep repeating the claims, eventually someone will believe them.

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