This is an elegant little dance, a paso doble around the actual evidence to draw us to a preconceived conclusion. What we might call policy based evidence making:
All of a sudden, and after years of bluffing, conservatives are warning of the dangers of jumping to hasty conclusions. Before I go any further, I must therefore say our newly scrupulous masters have a point. The league tables of national Covid-19 death figures are not the last word on the crisis, and may look different in a few weeks. That’s that done, then. Everybody happy? Good. Let’s get on with it.
That’s the first pass, look how reasonable I am. And now comes the second step:
In the world as it is, rather than as it may be, a shameful fact is undeniable. The highest Covid-19 casualties are in the US and the UK, where the mendacities of the populist right have deformed society. It turns out that being governed by Anglo-Saxon conservatives is a threat to the health of nations. Their rule kills the old and blights the futures of the young. To understand their ineptitude, think of how conservatism turned into a know-nothing culture in the past decade, and ask what Donald Trump and Boris Johnson would be doing in an alternative universe where they never came close to power.
Orange Man Bad, Tories are Bastards and look, look, here is my proof! At which point I can then go on to talk about Orange Man Bad, Tory Bastards and so on.
The problem with this being that the evidence being called upon isn’t true. Isn’t true in the slightest. This following in from Johns Hopkins, well enough out of the way of the British political scene that we can take it as being impartial to those Tory Bastard claims:
Note how the fact on offer is completely untrue. Simply wrong.
I mean sure, Orange Man Bad, Tories are Bastards and all that but can’t we have even a modicum of actual evidence at the beginning of the proof of such?
By the way health care spending in Belgium is higher, as a percentage of GDP, than it is in the UK. Also, marginally, true in Spain and Italy.
But anyway, Orange Bad, Tories Bastards, and what else does The Observer need to open a piece?