* THE SUNDAY TIMES TOP TEN BESTSELLER * 'A clinical and merciless account of Johnson's mendacity... gripping' Guardian When Peter Oborne wrote The Rise of Political Lying, looking at the growth of political falsehood under John Major and Tony Blair, he believed things had got as bad as they could be. With the arrival of Boris Johnson at No 10 in 2019 began a new and unprecedented epidemic of deceit.
In The Assault on Truth, a short and powerful new polemic, Oborne shows how Boris Johnson lied again and again in order to secure victory so he could force through Brexit in the face of parliamentary opposition. Johnson and his ministers then lied repeatedly to win the general election in December 2019. The government’s woeful response to the coronavirus pandemic has generated another wave of falsehoods, misrepresentations and fabrications.
The scale and shamelessness of the lying of the Johnson administration far exceeds the lying about Iraqi weapons of mass destruction and other issues under Tony Blair. This book argues that the ruthless use of political deceit under the Johnson government is part of a wider attack on civilised values and traditional institutions across the Western world, especially by Donald Trump in the USA. The Johnson and Trump methodology of deceit is about securing power for its own ends - even when they get exposed for lying, they shrug it off as a matter of no consequence.
It matters because all Western institutions are built around the idea of integrity and accountability. This means that an assault on truth is an assault on the rule of law, state institutions and the fundamental idea of fairness, and even democracy itself.
Peter Oborne is an award-winning writer, journalist and broadcaster who has worked for various newspapers, including the Spectator, the Daily Mail and the Daily Telegraph, where he was the chief political commentator until his resignation from the paper in 2015. He now writes for Middle East Eye. He is the author of numerous books, including The Rise of Political Lying (2005), Wounded Tiger (2014) and the Sunday Times bestseller The Assault on Truth (2021). He lives in Wiltshire.
‘A clinical and merciless account of Johnson’s mendacity… in a sane world it would be a political obituary… What makes Oborne’s dossier so gripping is that he and Johnson share the same cultural and professional milieu… Johnson’s lies are no secret, though they have rarely been as well documented as they are in The Assault on Truth… Oborne offers a stirring rage against the dying of the establishment light.’
– William Davies, Guardian
'An exceptional dissection of Boris Johnson’s lying government . . . You really do need to read it.'
– Owen Jones
‘His scathing insider’s analysis of that culture here is required reading for anyone interested in that world of anonymous sources and private briefings. '
– Tim Adams, Observer
'For left-wing readers, Oborne’s book is valuable not just as the charge sheet against Johnson by someone who really gets him, but as a surprising glimpse at how our own politics look, through the most sympathetic conservative eyes.'
– James A. Smith, Tribune
'Oborne’s short, readable, accessible and damning book is a record of a life spent in the shadowy world that natural liars inhabit, where truth is a tradeable commodity... The lies [are] catalogued in Oborne’s sober, remorseless book. We knew about many of them before, but putting them all together shows us the kind of man our prime minister is.'
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