This is our truth, tell us yours
Yesterday, with her customary frankness, Jem wrote an astonishingly good post about herself, about being a woman and about emotions and grief.
Even though I wanted to respond, to talk about parallel experiences in my life, I knew that there are times to be silent, and let the truth be what it is.
That’s the power of the truth. It can silence all around it, creating a moment where individuals recognize it, and leave it space to reverberate before incorporating what they have learned from it into their own truths.
David Cameron has a problem with the truth this week. He’s made repeated statements about his finances, about taxation and his family’s links to its avoidance, that have led him to have to make further statements, each one emerging like a rotten tooth being hauled from the gum by a weary dentist.
I was wondering how to write about this when along came a perfect example of the simplest kind of news management; telling the truth. Here’s a news statement from Justin Welby and here’s one from his mum.
David Cameron could have made a simple statement, explaining the actions he took before becoming Prime Minister, and setting out the background to his tax affairs. He could have explained something of the structure of the various settlements that were used to minimize inheritance tax by his parents,and he could even have talked about the changing climate of opinion about taxation and morality.
Instead he gave the impression of a man who doesn’t want to talk about a topic because of skeletons in the closet, and he will be dogged by that impression, even if it is untrue. Telling the truth is not always a concession, but can be the best thing to do. The fact that we live in a world where that statement is contestable, or not a principle of political practice, is a testament to the judgmental and bigotted world we live in.However, when, asin Cameron;scase, telling the truth immediatly would have avoided a series of tactically damging retreats, you can only wonder if his failure to seize the moment with honesty was driven by incompetence or fear of further exposure. I suspect the former, but believe many will believe the latter. The resulting damage is a self inflicted wound.