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Why do politicians lie to voters?

Because voters want to hear pleasant lies, with easy answers, rather than hard truths.

Delivered 24 June 2018. Posted 16 July 2018.

On Sunday 24 June, I delivered my 42nd "Thought for the Week" broadcast on BBC Radio Manchester.

As someone who has followed politics closely for many decades, I have seen politicians providing real leadership and honesty, but also politicians telling outright lies to their voters. I decided to cover this in my allotted 90 seconds.

"Thought for the Week" broadcasts cannot be overtly political, and are meant to be lightly religious. Nevertheless, I managed to weave my point into the broadcast. You can read it below.

Thought for the Week

Every religion I know teaches that we should tell the truth. In the Bible, the 8th commandment is “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbour.” In the Quran, God commands us to tell the truth.

So why is there so much lying in the world? Especially in politics. All around the world, politicians lie to voters. Some, more than others. Why is this?

My answer is that voters want to be lied to. Voters want to hear easy answers. Germans loved it when Hitler told them, that all their problems were due to foreigners and Jews.

The truth is often hard to accept. Nobody wants to be told their dreams, whatever they may be, are not achievable. We all want to believe that we deserve more money than we have.

I remember the quote from the film “A Few Good Men.” — “You want the truth? You can’t handle the truth!

However, to succeed in life, we need to get better at facing up to the truth. It is much better to ask your boss to point out your failings, so that you can improve.

The alternative is that, every year, you just don’t get promoted. And one day your boss gets rid of you, because you never asked how you could shape up and improve.

You cannot plan to get somewhere, unless you know exactly where you are starting from.

While the truth often hurts, it is always better than listening to easy lies.

As Jesus said in the Gospel of John “You will know the truth, and the truth will set you free.


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