THE BLOG
20/11/2013 07:03 GMT | Updated 25/01/2014 16:01 GMT

Welcome to the Ministry of Truth

In George Orwell's novel 1984, the hero, Winston Smith, works at the Ministry of Truth, the government agency concerned with the media, and propaganda. Smith's job is literally to re- write the history books, so that everything the Party says matches up with what they have supposedly said before. Even if they have said something different there is no proof.

It seems someone at Conservative Party Headquarters has had a similar idea.

This week it was revealed that someone at CCHQ had deleted from their website all speeches and policy proposals made between 2005 - when David Cameron became leader - and 2010 - when he became Prime Minister. The interesting thing about this is that most of those speeches and policy proposals contained ideas the Tories would rather forget about. The promise that there would be no top down reorganisation of the NHS? Gone. The slogan "Vote Blue, get Green" and it's suggestion of greener polices from a Cameron Government? Erased from the history books.

There are two big problems with this of course. The first - and the bigger one - is that retroactively rewriting history is not something democratic governments usually like to do. While it's recognised that Stalin made certain that Lenin's distrust of him was forgotten, and the Nazi's burnt books in order to erase ideas they did not believe in, a government that claims to be a world leader in democracy and lectures others on their suppression of human rights should not be undertaking this sort of action.

A government needs to admit to its mistakes. If they made promises they shouldn't have done, or their priorities or ideas have changed, then that's okay. But they need to admit that this is the case, and explain why, rather than try to pretend that they have been saying the same thing all along. We recognise that governments are human and sometimes, for reasons beyond their control, things need to be changed.

The other thing that the Tories seem to have forgotten is that the internet is forever. It's not like in the old days, where if you just shredded the paperwork, no one would know about it. Nowadays, everything is archived, in multiple places. News agencies have videos of Cameron and his colleagues making these speeches. Those can't be so easily erased. Every time Cameron denies he ever made these suggestions, the videos can be played endlessly until he backs down.

I am not suggesting that the Prime Minister or any senior Tories actually ordered this act of revisionism themselves. But it certainly does not reflect well on the party as a whole if they are not willing to stand by the things they have said in the past. If they only said them to get votes, then they should not have said them in the first place. But if they said them because they actually meant them, then they need to stand by them now.

Either way, they cannot simply erase them, and hope we will forget.