Shedding a little light on our shadow government

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The Independent Online
SO, ANOTHER of our unknown bosses has come out from the shadows] So, at long last we are being allowed to know the name of the person who heads perhaps one of the most powerful agencies in the country. Finally the powers that be have emerged from their Whitehall smokescreen and admitted that, yes, there is a government in office, and, yes, it is led by someone called John Major.

Well bully for them] Thanks very much] We've been wondering for a long time just who was in charge up there. Thanks a heap, fellows. We now know that the so-called Government is in the hands of someone called John Major. But what exactly does the Government do? And what exactly does this Mr Major do when he's at home - or rather, when he's at the office?

Information, as you might expect, is incredibly hard to come by, but as far as I can make out from my researches this so-called 'Government' is the agency that listens to what the people want and then pretends to give it to them. It conducts, in fact, a rather nauseating programme of propaganda, disinformation and fact-bending. It operates in the same areas as its rivals MI5 and MI6, but its ability to tamper with the truth and manipulate people goes far beyond anything that MI5 or MI6 would attempt.

'Yes, I'll give you an example,' says an ex-member of the Government who would rather remain nameless and numberless - so let's call him Norman. 'MI5 and MI6 sometimes put out smear stories about people they want toppled. Sort of the opposite of Hello] magazine, really. But that's as far as it goes. The 'Government', on the other hand, thinks nothing of blackening the reputation of entire countries. The ordinary agency might want to do down Jacques Delors. The 'Government' would blacken the name of all France, if it needed to.

'I'll give you another example,' says 'Norman'. 'For the last 13 years the 'Government' has presented itself as the party of 'law and order', as the only agency that can deal with the rising crime rate. Right?'

Right.

'That is called propaganda. But they also rewrite history, because they totally ignore the fact that the crime problem has arisen under their stewardship. They have been in office while the crime figures have risen. For that they take no responsibility. Yet they also present themselves as the people best suited to solve the problem they have allowed to accumulate. Do you see?'

Yes, I think I see.

'Give you another example of the extraordinary power of this 'Government' to rewrite facts,' says 'Norman'. 'They never take the blame for any financial setback, but they always take the credit for any recovery. In the present recession they have put it around that the slump is a worldwide process. 'Look at Germany,' you hear the whispers. 'Even in Germany they have bad unemployment, slowing output and so on. All our European partners are subject to the same recessionary conditions as us.' Right?'

Yes, fair enough. But the recession is common to all countries, isn't it?

'Certainly,' says 'Norman'. 'But when recovery comes, the Government never says, 'Oh, this recovery is common to all our partners, and we refuse to take any credit for it.' No, what they say is, 'At last our policies are working and we take all the credit . . .' You'd think they couldn't have it both ways, but they can, time and again.'

So who is this John Major who has recently emerged from the shadows as the leader of this nebulous so-called 'Government'? Who is this grey man who seems blurred in photos that are otherwise well in focus?

'Almost nothing is known about him,' admits 'Norman'. 'Amazingly, there is only one known photograph of him. Or at least there are 10,000 different views of him, but it is the same shot in each one - the slightly smiling, shy, secretive figure of a man who doesn't know what he wants and would not tell you if he did. He is said only to reveal his true thoughts when he thinks that nobody is listening or that there is no tape recorder switched on.

'He is said to prize loyalty to colleagues above all. This would be more impressive if he were not also in the habit of firing colleagues when they prove an embarrassment. Norman Lamont, David Mellor, Margaret Thatcher - these and many others have benefited from Mr Major's loyalty to the extent of no longer having their job. Though it has to be said that Mellor and Lamont and Thatcher and the others have gone on behaving as if they were still in office . . . '

(Part Two of this exclusive profile tomorrow, unless something more interesting turns up.)

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