The lying we have seen spewing mindlessly from the oral cavities of Gove, Johnson and Raab have been purposeful, obvious deceptions designed to confuse and muddy the water.

First published in December 2019.

Autistic people don’t tend to like injustice, or people getting away with lying, so I would imagine that the Conservative victory is, much like Trump, an anathema to the autistic community just in these terms, no matter any further issues.

They won by lying and dissembling.

And before anyone butts in with a “but all politicians lie!”, that old chestnut, let me clarify why this is unhelpful. Firstly, there are different severities of lies. Some are tiny wee, others are gigantic whoppers. And yes, politicians have always been economical with the truth, to use that peculiar euphemism. They have forever avoided difficult topics or evaded questions. No doubt.

But the lying we have seen spewing mindlessly from the oral cavities of Messrs Gove, Johnson and Raab haven’t been like this. They have been purposeful, obvious deceptions designed to confuse and muddy the water.

Blatant, constant and permanent, to coin a nifty phrase.

Blatant in that anyone who cares can discover the lie pretty much instantly. Constant in that the sheer gish gallop of lies overwhelm any attempts at fact checking, as there is so many. Permanent, because these lies stick and can’t be shifted.

Any autistic person in particular, with a strong sense of fair play and reason, will look at this and ask: “How are they getting away with it?!” And it is a serious question. How on earth are they getting away with it? Because enough people don’t care.

And I don’t know about you, but this austitic person is absolutely terrified by this – that people have so little interest in truth and honesty. Because where does it end? Can they not see where it ends?!

I am flabbergasted, bewildered, furious, scared, confused, discombobulated. And not because of some autistic ‘deficit’. In this case, we are not the ones with a bloody deficiency. That falls on those who somehow accept the lies.

Just a little more clarification on how the lying has changed. I remember the lying around the Iraq invasion. With that event, the lying of Bush and Blair was the news, and huge swathes of the population were absolutely horrified. It brought the country to a halt. But lies of this severity (if not severity of outcome – I mean severity of sheer false was and political shenanigans) are frequent now, and are usually merely noted by some of the media. The real outrage is contained on social media.

It is ‘contained’ in the same way as an infection might be, by isolating it and letting it do its thing. The outrage is bottled, kettled on Twitter and bounces around furiously but that is it. Nothing real actually happens. We get our anger out of our system and move on.

It is literally like screaming into a bucket. And this suits, because the outrage never seems to become truly mainstream. This gave politicians the realisation they can say whatever they want. And they do. They have realised what they can get away with, and it is a LOT.🔷

Pete Wharmby, Secondary English teacher and father who also happens to be autistic.

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[This piece was first published as a Twitter thread and turned into the above article on 18 December 2019, with the author’s consent, with the purpose of reaching a larger audience. It has been minorly edited and corrected. | The author of the tweets writes in a personal capacity.]

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