Andy Richardson: Saying precisely the opposite of what they've just said

The House of Commons has been broadcasting live for just under 31 years.

Gove carried on, but nobody was listening – and nobody was believing a word he said.
Gove carried on, but nobody was listening – and nobody was believing a word he said.

There are times, admittedly, when watching metal oxidise might be more stimulating than observing the faux sincerity, mock surprise and sixth form drama that passes for debate.

Equally, there are moments that cut through and resonate.

Michael Gove – the one who always, always, always tells the truth, the whole truth and nothing but the truth – was at the Dispatch Box.

He was banging on about how awful the EU is, or something, as Tories nodded and Labour MPs played with their mobile phones.

His speech was interrupted as he learned that the EU had agreed to all of the demands Britain had made.

He continued, saying precisely the opposite of what he’d just said.

It made him appear as believable as a man who, say, drives all the way from London to Barnard Castle to test his eyesight, or spends time with the kids.

That, however, wasn’t the moment that startled. It was this.

The Govester was prattling about the exit from the EU and telling the house how security systems that no longer drew upon the might of our friends and neighbours would actually be better.

As though, by having less access to joint intelligence we’d actually have more.

Theresa May was in the chamber and her expression told the country all it needed to know.

She looked aghast, knowing that what Gove was saying simply wasn’t true.

“Whaaaaat?” she said, shaking her head, as though she’d just been told Glenn Hoddle was a Barbie Doll or Samuel L Jackson was now washing pots at The Ivy.

Gove carried on, but nobody was listening – and nobody was believing a word he said.

In the case of Ann Widdecombe, people do believe the things she says – she’s a straight shooter – it’s just that they don’t care.

Her intervention on Strictly’s same-sex dancers – the phenomenon of same sex dancing, we should add, is older than the venerable Ms Widdecombe – expresses her standard anti-LGBT+ sentiment.

The question is, does anyone care? Love is love, irrespective of gender. Homophobic is the word for those who disagree.

Shielding appears to be the increasingly-popular answer to Covid as we wait until spring for a vaccine, as deaths from other illnesses increase and as businesses increasingly go to the wall.

Millennials, meanwhile, have lost faith in politics. Given the narratives of Messers Gove and Widdecombe, it’s hardly surprising.

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