Pseudologia Fantastica: A Pandemic Among Western Politicians
By Ann-Marie de Veer
Saturday 14 June 2014
In 1891 Anton Delbrueck described in medical literature the condition of pseudologia fantastica, aka. mythomania, pathological lying, habitual or compulsive lying. The behaviour of the individual who exhibits this condition may be aware they are lying, or may believe they are telling the truth, being unaware that they are relating fantasies.
Enter David Cameron, the UK's prime minister, who knows he is a liar.
In the run-up to the May 2010 general election his comments on Value Added Tax (VAT) were:
- Cameron: We have absolutely no plans to raise VAT. Our first Budget is all about recognising we need to get spending under control rather than putting up tax.
Only for his government to do a complete volte-face when in power:
- BBC News - 4 January 2100 The standard rate of VAT has risen from 17.5% to 20% as the government looks to boost tax revenues to cut its deficit.
Again, in the run-up to the election, on the issue of poverty:
- Cameron: People are increasingly frustrated that decisions taken further and further away from them mean their living standards are slashed through enforced austerity.
Although the Organisation of Economic and Social Development (OECD) disputes his legacy:
- The Guardian - 20 March 2014 Poverty will become ever more entrenched in Britain if the government does not maintain social spending to protect the most vulnerable, the Organisation of Economic and Social Development has warned.
Then, not forgetting his idealism on the welfare state:
- Cameron: What we’re putting forward is the most radical reform of the welfare state… for 60 years. I think it will have a transformative effect in making sure that everyone is better off in work and better off working rather than on benefits.
Only for the Joseph Rowntree Foundation to discover the contrary:
- Joseph Rowntree Foundation - 8 December 2013 For the first time, there are more people in working families living below the poverty line (6.7 million) than in workless and retired families in poverty combined (6.3 million)], having suffered a sustained and ‘unprecedented’ fall in their living standards.
Not unexpectedly, Cameron's condition worsened after the election. In July 2011, in a state of intoxication at the exuberance of his own verbosity, he said:
- Cameron: Information is power. It lets people hold the powerful to account, giving them the tools they need to take on politicians and bureaucrats. It gives people new choices and chances, allowing them to make informed judgements about their future.
However, holding the powerful to account had its limitations:
- The Guardian - 29 October 2013 David Cameron has called on the Guardian and other newspapers to show "social responsibility" in the reporting of the leaked NSA files to avoid high court injunctions or the use of D notices to prevent the publication of information that could damage national security.
Whilst openness and transparency also had its limitations:
- CompuerWeekly.com - 12 November 2013 The Conservative Party has attempted to erase a 10-year backlog of speeches from the internet, including pledges for a new kind of transparent politics the prime minister and chancellor made when they were campaigning for election.
Clearly his litany of lies have become more and more apparent to the British public as well as his wider audience when Viviane Reding, the vice-president of the European Commission, said of Cameron:
- The Telegraph - 10 January 2014 David Cameron is stoking up "populist myths" about the European Union and migrants from Eastern Europe to pull the wool over the eyes of voters.
Then, later that month in the UK parliament:
- Daily Mirror - 26 January 2014 Cameron claimed that more people were in work, denied that disabled children would have their benefits cut, and duped MPs about support for NHS reforms.
But, the report continued with:
- Recent employment figures from the independent Office for National Statistics show that the number in work has fallen by 26,000 since May 2010.
- The Department for Work and Pensions’ assessment on the new universal credit says the rate paid to disabled children will fall from £53.84 to £26.75 a week.
- Mr Cameron quoted Doncaster GP Dr Greg Conner to defend his NHS reforms but failed to mention that Dr Conner’s remarks were made when he was chairman of the Doncaster clinical commissioning group – a position he no longer holds.
Nonetheless, undeterred by these rebukes of his habitual behaviour, on the issue of the recent London Underground strikes:
- Organized Rage -17 February 2014 Last week the British Prime Minister told MPs there was "absolutely no justification" for the tube strikes, and that it "makes sense" to have fewer people staffing ticket offices when, he said, only 3% of transactions involve them.
The report continued with a response from Transport for London (TfL):
- TfL have now provided us with the information on the total number of tickets sold at both ticket offices and ticket machines, and from this we can see that the total proportion of transactions taking place at ticket offices is much higher than Mr Cameron suggested. Around one in five ticket purchases took place at a ticket office, much higher than the 3% figure advanced by the Prime Minister.
Clearly Cameron is a habitual, chronic and compulsive liar, and he knows it. Of course, the condition appears to be common among western politicians as evidenced in Obama and Merkel. As expected, pseudologia fantastica is untreatable unless the patient is willing: an unlikely scenario.
- If the people should seek truth from their politicians then the educational objectives of the government have been met.