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South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver on why he believes truthfulness shouldn’t be an unfashionable virtue

I remember when politicians who were caught out for lying had to resign immediately, writes South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver (Ind).

In recent years, it seems to have become acceptable for them to just carry on so long as the public thinks that they are “doing a good job overall”.

Why is it that public opinion has changed and is much more tolerant of dishonesty?

South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver
South Kesteven District Council leader Richard Cleaver

I fear that it is because – as the cartoon depicts – we too easily fall into the trap of preferring a reassuring lie to an inconvenient truth.

This is a very worrying trend, and it will harm us all in the long run. Democracy can only work effectively if electors cast their votes in full knowledge of the whole truth about all the issues.

An ignorant democracy is a democracy which will fail.

When we observe shortcomings in our public services, we rush to judge the providers – and claim they are uncaring and/or incompetent. That isn’t the truth. The truth is that our country can no longer afford what it used to be able to afford – and I care about that. We’ve now seen a whole decade of Local Government leaders, NHS leaders, and other public servants papering over the cracks and now inevitably, the walls themselves are under threat of crumbling.

We need our national political leaders to face up to this truth and to stop simply telling us that all we need to do is vote for them and everything will be all right. It won’t be.

We need national political leadership which doesn’t flinch from telling the whole truth about the state of our country and which offers realistic solutions for the future.

At SKDC, my colleagues and I constantly seek to understand and communicate the whole truth about the issues facing our District, and we are committed to addressing them with openness, integrity, and truthfulness.

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