The Lies of the Land

The Lies of the Land

Adam Macqueen
ARRSE Rating
4 Mushroom Heads
Subtitled “An Honest History of Political Deceit”, The Lies of the Land offers up to the reader an array of political lies, half-truths, obfuscations, broken promises and blown cover stories from UK & US politicians from the last seventy-odd years. Split into topics rather than listed chronologically, the author mercilessly rips into our leaders’ and representatives dishonest and self-serving utterances in a frankly hilarious manner, with headings of sex (“I did not have sexual relations with that woman”), finance (“I’m a pretty straight sort of guy”), spin, power and so on, all forensically – and amusingly – dissected.

Brexit of course features highly, and this is where the author disappoints a little (well, he disappoints me at any rate). Whilst rightly scathing about Leave lies, he appears far more gentle with the porkies told by the Remain side – although he does make the point that it’s not the first time lies have been told about Europe in a referendum, as a Foreign Office paper in 1975 acknowledged that membership would come an unavoidable long term loss of sovereignty, which was widely denied at the time.

The book is a paperback with 360 pages. There are no illustrations, but the book’s effect is not lessened by this. The extensively reference notes and the detailed index make this an ideal tool for extracting a suitable example of untruth for any political argument (something I’m sure some Arrsers will be grateful for). Macqueen is a regular columnist in Private Eye, which is no doubt where he’s honed his wit and irreverence.

Overall, this book is an enjoyable way of skimming through material that really shouldn’t be enjoyable, detailing as it does lies to the populace by those we are supposed to trust with our well-being. However, at least you come away informed without a significant rise in your blood pressure. My only concern with recommending this book is that it’s yet another example of the removal of politicians from a position of trust; but as it’s all their own work that’s being exposed, that’s fair enough I suppose.

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