In the early 90s I was working for a company as a Project Manager. We were having troubles meeting customer expectations because the salesman oversold the deal, and the company could never deliver everything that the contract required. It ended up with the salesman calling me a liar in front of the customer when I stated quite categorically the product did not perform as the client had been led to believe, and what was I believed would be a one-way interview with the CEO of the company.
As the “conversation” with the CEO developed, it became obvious to me that he regarded lying to customers as part of his company’s stock in trade. We reached a point where he paused and I quietly replied, “The trouble is that you have to get everyone in the company telling the same lie.”
He asked, “What do you mean?” clearly not understanding the impact of my carefully thought out statement.
“Dozens of the company’s employees have contact with the customer – engineers, sales support, technical support, consultants – every one of them has to tell the same lie, and that’s impossible.”
He quickly dismissed me. I wasn’t sacked, I was moved to another job and got a pay rise to keep me quiet. I left the company within 6 months, and guess what, within 6 more months the market discovered his complex web of lies, the share price plummetted, he was sacked, he lost a fortune on his shares, and his wife left him – poetic justice in my books.
Now we are in the middle of an emerging scandal based on a 30 year old cover-up of paedophilia in the then Tory government. Not to be outdone, there are hints of paedophilia and other cover-ups during Labour’s term of office. And, ultimately, the truth will out.
History shows us stunning examples of failed cover-ups, like the American Tobacco Industry’s attempts at smoke-screening the accusations of the damage that smoking does to health with false science from the mid-50s right through to the 90s. It ended up with a massive lawsuit and the tobacco companies agreeing in 1998 to pay out a staggering $10 billion annually – indefinitely – to make up for the damage they’d done, especially in health care costs – see this blog for more details, and of other cover-ups.
Watergate is the gold standard of botched cover-ups with disastrous consequences involving illegal bugging by burglars authorised by President Nixon in June 1972. He managed to get through the 1972 election, but as investigators dug into it more in 1973, Nixon dug his heels in. By the time in 1974 when he said “I am not a crook,” nobody believed him. He finally quit in July 1974 after impeachment.
There are other developing cover-ups. A prime example is the great AGW Global Warming aka Climate Change cover-up, ignoring all the evidence before the scientist’s eyes (like this for example) while they cling to their inaccurate computer models.
UKIP sells itself as being the party of Common Sense, of honesty and straight-forwardness, telling it like it is, which is clearly winning over some voters. I hope and pray that as UKIP gathers more power and becomes more influential in government that we ourselves are able to avoid the temptation of power corrupting, and stay true to our principles.