THERE is one thing that most especially annoys me in life. That is lying. I can tolerate mistakes, at least when people try to learn from them. And there are, of course, occasions when choosing the right thing to do in life is hard because there are no options that seem especially good. Then sympathy is appropriate. But those who make decisions that they justify with what they know are lies are very hard to forgive.

I recall my father saying when I was quite young, and an avid reader of any available newsprint, that the only things that were correct in a newspaper were the date and the football results. The rest, he said, was what we’d now call spin. He did not change his mind when I began writing for newspapers on a regular basis. But what I assured him, as I can anyone who reads what I put out for publication, is that everything I say might be opinion, but it is honestly held. I base my argument on data. I try to make my assumptions clear. I then seek to take readers with me to logical conclusions.

Contrast that with the Tories, who we have suffered as the Westminster government for far too long. In my opinion, they have lied since 2010, and the lies continue now.

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George Osborne inherited a recovering economy in 2010, and by suggesting that the UK was like Greece (which was impossible because they were in the eurozone and the UK was not) imposed totally unnecessary austerity on the UK. The result now is exactly what I think he planned, which is failed public services that he might think ripe for what he no doubt always thought to be necessary, which is privatisation. Lies have devastating consequences, and his motives were wrong.

It was the same with Cameron in 2014. He granted an independence referendum but the No campaign spread unjustified fear, most especially on energy and pensions, to win the vote. The reality is that staying in the UK has cost everyone in Scotland a small fortune.

Referendum abuse was repeated in 2016 with Brexit, where the campaign was won by lie after lie, from the supposed money for the NHS on the side of a bus to, in 2019, the claim that Johnson had an oven-ready deal. These claims were not true.

Johnson turned this lying into an art form. Whether the issue was the vast number of unnecessary Covid deaths, to illegal partying, to the claim that Covid was all move from 2021 onwards when it very clearly was not, there was lie, after lie, after lie.

Whether Truss lied or not was hard to tell. It is certainly possible that she was just so confused she had no idea what was going on.

Sunak has, however, returned to the normal pattern. Not only is he perpetuating some of Johnson’s lies by, for example, claiming there are 40 new hospitals in the UK when everyone knows that is a falsehood, but he is letting his ministers add their own untruths into the mix.

So, his health minister claimed this week that unions have consciously chosen to harm NHS patients in England as part of their pay dispute policy when that is blatantly untrue. NHS staff are not doing that. They are instead saying the destruction of our caring services by Tory ministers, as a result of which people are undoubtedly dying in Scotland as well as England due to underfunding, has gone on for long enough. A line has to be drawn where this has to stop. This lying has to end and the reality must be faced.

There are two other areas where the lies are grotesque. One is immigration, where ministers persistently argue anyone can apply for immigration if they arrive legally in the UK, knowing full well they gave blocked all legal routes to the country.

The other is the Union. Ministers persistently say this is voluntary but refuse to suggest how Scotland might leave it. In that case, the claim that in their view the Union is voluntary is nothing but a lie.

So what do I want for Christmas? Politics based on honest opinion, genuine facts, telling the truth as best it is known, and real attempts to find solutions that work for people of differing opinions. Is that too much to ask? I suspect so, but if we can’t dream at Christmas when can we?