“Authentic” as a word has been hi-jacked. It is now a fake word – a cliché whose meaning has been downgraded (like “pension minister”).
It’s been hi-jacked by political commentators, advertisers and most of all by behavioural scientists who want us to know how much more real their “knowing” is than ours.
It is very annoying to be told that something we have written or said does not have “the touch of authenticity” – or some such nonsense.
Even my friend Mark Scantlebury – who wishes everything to be “clear, vivid and real” sometimes uses the word, though he always puts his hand over his mouth when he does, as he knows he’s being inauthentic!
The inauthentic voice of Patrick McLoughlin
Which brings me to why I have reason to trouble you with a blog.
The reason is this personalised message from “my close friend”, the Tory Party Chairman, Patrick Mcloughlin
I very much doubt that Patrick Mcloughlin wanted to do any such thing. I suspect he wanted to hide in a corner of Tory HQ and tear pictures of Theresa May into a thousand peices. I suspect that the message was composed and sent by Alan Mabbutt, mainly on the evidence below.
But whoever wrote me this, I am sure they felt a great sense of pride in doing so. This is the great Tory stiff upper lip isn’t it. Well not to me it isn’t. To me this is patronising slime.
First , that opening sentence.
Despite not wanting to do any such thing, Patrick feels impelled to thank me for something I didn’t do, lift a finger for the Tories in this election (other than voting for them- which I bitterly regret).
I didn’t just work hard, I worked “incredibly” hard. Incredible means unbelievable. The YouGov poll that predicted the hung parliament was “incredible”, nobody believed it. It was true – it was authentic. My hard work is incredible because it didn’t happen – that at least is true. The use of hyperbole in election communications is not clear, vivid or real – it is fake – and we know it.
The rest of Patrick’s message is a string of clichés, words and phrases that are so over-used that they have little or no meaning. For the sake of passing the time of day, here they are
“Travelled up and down the country” – euphemism for worked my pants off- almost certainly a lie.
“Witnessed first hand” – euphemism for “met the oily rags” – probably true, in a patrician sense – he turned up for a few staged managed events.
“Enthusiasm, dedication and hard work“, straight out of the school report this one, Eton or Harrow.
Having lulled us into la-la-land with this twaddle, Patrick now moves on to the serious stuff.
“I know that some of you will be disappointed” – really? I suspect that disappointed is not quite the right word – how about “furious”? All this hard work from enthusiastic , dedicated oily rags led to a hung parliament with the Tories now in hoc to a bunch of homophobes in Northern Ireland with some unsavoury friends.
The penultimate paragraph turns into a homily “let us remind ourselves”, good school assembly stuff, that prepares us for an even bigger lie….
“The Conservative Party ..will continue to provide this country with the certainty it needs…”
I think about the certainty that the Conservative party has brought us in the past few weeks and it is certainly not something I would like to continue. I think about the future and I can see no certainty whatsoever.
“Prepare for another go soon!”
The message concludes with a caring paragraph where Patrick suggests we all go and lie down for the weekend. We will be needed again no doubt, when the certainty of this new fake Government imploding or exploding arrives. We need to re-energise ourselves so that we can do another lot of “incredible hard work” for the Conservative Party.
Which is why the Tories are losers,
What is extraordinary about this message is that it exemplifies why Theresa May and her party, slumped in popularity, in votes and in seats. The message is totally fake!
I am not expecting a headline “sorry we screwed up” , but I am expecting a message that acknowledges that the grass-roots Tory party activist/member has been let down by the Chairman of the Party , its leader and its management.
By comparison, Jeremy Corbyn sounds like he is telling the truth, probably because he believes he is telling the truth. He may be wrong, but the public would rather people were authentically wrong than insincerely right.
This message, and the hundreds like it that I’ve got since becoming a member of the Tory Party, is totally insincere , shallow, insulting and counter-productive.
If the Tories think they can treat their own people like idiots , then it is hardly surprising so many of the public voted for the half-baked Labour manifesto!
Quietroom’s blog on this year’s party manifestos; (Tories score 2/10)
This is not a “May thing” , Cameron was just as fake – in a different way; https://henrytapper.com/2015/04/26/power-or-the-proper-exercise-of-power-villagate/
If you still don’t get it – try Jonathan Pie