Conservative political campaign – truth, lies or total baloney?

Conservative BSIAccording to deception experts the Ekman Group: politicians, like actors, are a social group that we permit to lie to us. So with a new round of tribal politics let’s try some critical thinking. Let’s examine each leaflet/email/TV ad that arrives and give the contents a quick reality check and score it, let’s give it a cool media-friendly name from Carl Sagan, let’s call it the Bullshit Index. The BSI for short. Let’s start with the first pseudo-newspaper and the lead article that makes the Conservatives’ case for election.

Title: YOUR VOICE
~ Stop already. The assertion that any party is Your Voice is nonfactual and simply presumptuous. They may be representatives of the majority of voters at some time in the future that is all.
BSI: 5/5.

Sub-head: A free newspaper sent to you by the conservative party at no expense to the taxpayer.
~ Due to the lack of transparency and the potential for corruption in the collecting of party funds it is debatable whether there will be an ‘expense’ or not. There is no cost of publication at point of sale.That bit is true.
BSI: 3/5.

Article: Real Change in Europe
By David Cameron

The European elections on Thursday May 22nd May are the most important for a generation.
~ Assertion of opinion, no reasons given why. It may or may not be true but no way to validate from this statement. Simple fear mongering.
BSI: 5/5.

Britain’s relationship with the EU needs to change – and only the Conservatives can deliver that change.
~Assertion of opinion again with no qualifiers followed by unprovable claim.
BSI: 5/5.

At home, the Conservatives’ long-term economic plan is working. The deficit is down and 1.5 million people are in work – that’s 1.5 million people with a job to provide for themselves and their families.
~ No source of data provided to fact check. If the 879,000 sanctions can be broken down further to distinguish who is/is not included in the figures it could make this claim very unreliable: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/stitching-up-claimants-part-job-says-3537051
Channel 4 show the long term figures are in the positive but there are questions over how people are categorized as employed/not employed and the willingness of all parties to cook the books on this set of stats. http://blogs.channel4.com/factcheck/unemployment-why-it-really-is-good-news/12810
~This is an ongoing deception that could be easily cleared up. A quote from a report from Sheffield Hallam University clarifies the muddy waters:

“For Britain as a whole in April 2012, the new figures point to more than 3.4 million
unemployed. This compares to just 1.5 million on the claimant count and 2.5 million
according to the Labour Force Survey – the government’s two official measures of
unemployment. The difference is attributable to extensive hidden unemployment.”

http://www.shu.ac.uk/_assets/pdf/the-real-level-of-unemployment-2012.pdf
BSI: 4/5.

And with a stronger economy at home, we have renewed respect abroad to fight for real change in Europe.
~ An assertion with no benchmark figures. The unreliability of economic data is well known by all political persuasions.
http://blogs.reuters.com/great-debate-uk/2012/10/22/can-we-trust-economic-data/
http://www.theguardian.com/business/2013/sep/26/uk-economy-recovery-steady-course-growth
http://www.telegraph.co.uk/finance/economics/10015743/History-tells-us-that-GDP-estimates-are-unreliable.html
BSI: 4/5.

Unlike other parties we don’t just talk about change – we deliver it. We vetoed an EU treaty that wasn’t in Britain’s national interest and cut the EU budget for the first time in history, saving British taxpayers over £8 billion.
~ It is in the nature of career politicians to instigate change for career purposes. Education is a clear example of overlaid legacy systems that do not necessarily provide the best return for pupils, teachers, schools or taxpayer across all administrations. Again assertions made without facts to backup are invalid. Cutting the EU budget claim for the good is a matter of opinion. The £8 billion saving is negated by the inefficiencies of the market system introduced to the NHS for example, an immediate annual £5 billion+ saving is an extremely conservative estimate just for admin costs let alone the usual wastage and commercial inefficiencies in the 10-30% range.
http://chpi.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/At-what-cost-paying-the-price-for-the-market-in-the-English-NHS-by-Calum-Paton.pdf
BSI: 5/5.

We’ll continue to stand up for Britain in Europe – fighting to bring power back home and away from Brussels, and securing more trade but not ‘ever closer union’.
~ Rhetoric and assertions with no basis in fact, Mike Sivier has some coherent points on his blog about this and what ‘real change’ really means. http://mikesivier.wordpress.com/2014/05/11/tory-euro-flier-is-a-catalogue-of-failure/
BSI: 5/5.

And once negotiations are complete, the Conservatives will give you and in-out referendum on Europe before the end of 2017.
~ Fortune telling the outcome and linking it to promises that have been broken previously. http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2166663/As-Eurozone-agree-bank-bailout-Cameron-says-doesn-t-want-referendum-Britain-s-EU-membership.html
BSI: 4/5.

Labour and the Lib Dems won’t give you a referendum, and UKIP simply can’t deliver one.
~ Partially true for the main parties: http://www.theguardian.com/politics/2014/mar/13/lib-dems-ukip-labour-europe-nick-clegg. Totally false elsewhere: http://greenparty.org.uk/news/yes-to-an-eu-referendum-green-mp-calls-for-chance-to-build-a-better-europe.html 
BSI: 5/5.

So if you want real change in Europe and an in-out referendum, vote Conservative on 22nd May.
~ Repetition of message. Based on previous form this may or may not come to pass.
BSI: 4/5.

Fundamentally all this document states is that they will hold a referendum and the rest is either unverifiable or only half-true.
TOTAL BULLSHIT INDEX: 4/5.

It’s lucky we have such noble ‘leaders’, sorry employees, at the helm. I’m interested to see what’s next through the mail box from the tribal opinion wranglers in suits.

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