The well-worn gag concerns the long-standing perception that politicians have a liberal attitude when it comes to the truth.
I certainly would not apply this characterisation to all political figures, nor would I say that the remarks of all politicians reach the pinnacle of veracity.
But the reality is that failing to tell the truth can often be the most damaging thing to a political career.
Most people associate the Watergate break-in with bringing down Richard Nixon’s presidency but the reality is that it was his denial of any knowledge of the crime that caused his impeachment, ultimately causing him to resign.
Similarly Bill Clinton’s impeachment was caused not by the allegations of an extra-marital affair but by his having been accused of lying to a grand jury. He would be acquitted in 1999.
However in this modern world the consequences for failing to tell the truth no longer seem to have such severe consequences.
Just last week saw the Government abandon its manifesto commitment to no further tax raises with a hike on National Insurance to fund its social care agenda. As I wrote last week, the move will disproportionately impact Yorkshire and the North, as well as lower paid workers - many of whom voted for the Tories for the first time at the last election.
How the increase impacts the party’s standing with voters remains to be seen but what will be crucial in the next few weeks is what decisions it makes in the immediate future.
As of midnight of Tuesday, a consultation into a potential privatisation of broadcaster Channel 4 comes to a conclusion.
Governments going back to Margaret Thatcher’s (including Tony Blair’s) have considered selling off Channel 4 so the suggestion is far from novel. However, privatising the broadcaster did not merit one word in the most recent Tory manifesto for the 2019 general election.
Figures published last week from accountancy firm EY showed just what this would mean for the English regions, with a £2bn hit to the economy and thousands of jobs losses among its forecasts. Of this reduction, around 50 per cent would be felt in the regions. And given that Leeds is now home to Channel 4’s newest headquarters, having only had its official opening last week, it is not hard to predict where the bulk of this impact will fall.
Everyone from small independent production companies to the mayor of West Yorkshire has expressed deep concern regarding the proposed sell off, fearing that the hard earn battle to bring Channel 4 to Yorkshire is about to unravel at the last minute, with private ownership unlikely to share the current Channel 4 bosses’ palpable commitment to broadcasting outside of London.
The quick, short-term boost it may generate for tax will look like nothing in comparison to the long-term damage. Hardly levelling up.
And then we get to our perennial bugbear in the shape of HS2, with increasing rumours abounding that the eastern leg to Yorkshire is to be scrapped as a means of shoring up the nation’s finances to tackle to post-pandemic deficit. Such a move would be unpopular with a sizable proportion of many constituent of red wall Tory seats in the region and fly in the face of promises made by the Prime Minister in the Commons.
Quite why it is choosing now to row back on these pledges when the region need them most is baffling and leads me to ask what have we done to deserve this?
The current Government owes much of its majority to Yorkshire and has made numerous promises to the region in its just under two years in power.
It has a duty to be truthful and fulfil its promises and people in this region have long memories. Otherwise we won’t want hear them out ever again.