By which criteria do we satisfy ourselves that we have reached the truth?
That a particular account of events is true is something that we too often take for granted, particularly when it is given to us ‘as the truth’ by those in positions of authority, leadership and power.
In an ideal world, of course, the role of police officers, politicians, bankers and journalists should be sufficient to confer a high degree of trust in their actions, automatically and without reservation; it should be sufficient to justify the naïve assumption that their motives are always entirely innocent and without agenda.
But we live in an imperfect society. It is one in which positions of authority are now widely regarded with suspicion and distrust. Our common outrage at the ugly catalogue of corruption and deceit that has been published in the form of apologies over the past couple of years – which includes several back copies from years gone by – has been testimony to that.
Here are just a couple:
Hillsborough papers: Cameron apology over ‘double injustice’ –
Gordon Brown to apologise for UK’s role in child migrant scandal –
David Cameron condemns Bloody Sunday killings and makes apology –
Barclays apologizes for Libor scandal –
Rupert Murdoch ‘sorry’ in newspaper adverts –
The list goes on and on. The worrying thing is that we are force-fed whichever version of events best suits the prevailing political agenda, usually created for those individuals who have the means and the money to sustain them, and which the rest of society is normally just expected to take as correct.
And most of the time we do, until something significant that could no longer be contained, or something very small that had been overlooked, finally makes its way to the surface and brings everything to a crashing halt.
We are led to believe that certain groups of individuals are decent, honest and upstanding, whilst others are not; we are led to think that certain historical troubles were caused and perpetuated by one particular religious or ethnic group, and courageously and rightfully managed down by another.
The despicable cover up of truth that we witnessed with the Hillsborough disaster, and the unforgiveable manner in which the people of Liverpool were treated and portrayed in the aftermath, must surely be one of the final nails in the coffin of this country’s utterly corrupt constitution.
This country has happily created its own version of the truth for centuries in order to conceal the sheer extent of the hatred, prejudice and contempt with which the elite minority regards even the rest of its own society.
Bob Dylan once wrote that ‘all the truth in the world adds up to one big lie’.
And I think it is fairly obvious how important that one big lie has been to successive Governments.
It is that without which they would not exist.