His enemies used to say of Harold Wilson: “How can you tell when he’s lying? When his lips are moving.”
It might be too harsh to say such a thing about our current party political leaders but you certainly need to question the lavish statements some of them are making.
Austerity? Don’t make me laugh. In speech after speech, both Ed Miliband and David Cameron, not to mention Nick Clegg, have been “promising” a few million (or billion) here and a few million there on projects which would seem to bleed the poor British taxpayer to death if carried out. Where is all the money coming from, you might well ask. The answer is the taxpayer’s wallet or purse. Are we really to believe all these grandiose plans are genuine and costed (as each leader proclaims) down to the last penny?
It would not be the first time election claims and manifesto pledges are conveniently forgotten about once the dust has settled and the election is over.
And what of Ed Miliband’s “I couldn’t be clearer” promise that there will be no deals done with the Scottish Nationalists in the event of Labour topping the poll in a hung Parliament? Surely, he has to look at the arithmetic of the new House of Commons before reaching a judgment. No wonder the British electorate is bored to tears with these lavish claims as well as being hugely sceptical of our so-called political elite. De Gaulle once said that politics was too serious and important a matter to be left to politicians. Millions of people would say “hear, hear” to that.
Both David Cameron and Ed Miliband have been so absurdly cautious in their obsession to avoid gaffes that neither of them has made many ripples during this campaign. It has come to something when there are big headlines telling us the Prime Minister has forgotten which football team he allegedly supports. The same cannot be said of Lord Tebbit, the Thatcherite former Conservative Cabinet Minister, who has been quite rude during these past few weeks about David Cameron.
Now he has shaken the Tory establishment to its foundations by suggesting that Tories in Scotland – where they are unlikely to win many (if any) seats – should vote Labour in certain places to try to keep the SNP out. That would, he implies, be the lesser of two evils.
Cameron and his buddies certainly won’t like that. But it strikes me as being plain common sense.