British politics is full of bluster, half truths, propaganda and smoke and mirrors right now. Maybe it always is.
But distraction politics often mean that the electorate becomes almost obsessed about a single issue, such as Brexit, giving those in power a free rein to hide, bury and simply ignore many real issues that could affect us all.
So now it seems is a good time to re-share our brief history of that well-used phrase, it’s all smoke and mirrors.
Have you heard the expression, "it's all smoke and mirrors?"; do you know what it means and its history?
No? Well let's see if we can address that, as it could be a phrase that you hear and see a lot these days -- after all so much that is currently going on around the world is "All smoke and Mirrors"
A strict definition of the phrase is "Trickery or deception, often in a political context"
The phrase, however, has its origins in magic; a conjurer on the stage attempting to fool the audience into believing his "trick" would use smoke and mirrors. This would deceive the eye of the beholder and enable the magician to fool the audience, perhaps a bit like all politicians around the word do at times.
The "trick" would truly appear to be 'magic' when in truth it was simply a slight of hand manoeuvre.
In more recent times this phrase has been used to describe politics and, as it is so often called these days, political spin, plus conflicts and war. Whilst this is now common practise it does make it hard to know just what and who to believe.
Reading a good cross section of reports can help but that is time consuming. Even then views may be subjective rather than objective.
Into the pot we also need to add the fact that these days foreign agents often infiltrate countries and organisations in order to manipulate what is happening; more smoke and mirrors. The U.K. is not a stranger to this. British political leaders these days employ spin doctors to weave a web of whatever, which some would call a web of deceit.
Consider people like Boris Johnson’s right-hand man of the moment Dominic Cummings.
A clear, honest manifesto would be more appropriate and appreciated by the electorate but would it prove as politically useful?
American journalist Jimmy Breslin is generally attributed with the modern usage of the phrase all smoke and mirrors. In his "Notes from Impeachment Summer" in 1975 he wrote, "All political power is primarily an illusion... Mirrors and blue smoke, beautiful blue smoke rolling over the surface of highly polished mirrors... If somebody tells you how to look, there can be seen in the smoke great, magnificent shapes, castles and kingdoms, and maybe they can be yours." "The ability to create the illusion of power, to use mirrors and blue smoke, is one found in unusual people." Since then the phrase has been adopted by many."
As the Conservative Party 2019 kicks off in Manchester watch out for the smoke and mirrors.
It may be PM and Tory Party leader Boris Johnson feeding into the minds of Brexiteers, making vague promises re the NHS, promising that sometime in the future money will be available in communities or whether the relationship between Johnson and American ex-model and entrepreneurs Jennifer Arcuri was more than he claims but rest assured smoke and mirrors will be heavily involved.
Op-ed: As the Tory Party conference gets underway unelected party leader and Prime Minister Thersa May took time out for an easy ride on BBC's Sunday politics Andrew Marr show.
Then it was all hands to the pumps at the Tory Party conference in Birmingham where a group of anti-Austerity activists held a protest rally close to conference.
The mainstream media is concentrating on bigging up the Conservative Party and spinning any remotely positive news into a heavenly fantasy but all is not well in ToryLand.
BRexit will be a huge feature of this week's conference at least in part because the party, its voters and its supporters remain divided on the EU.
One journalist hit the nail on the head after hearing political spin Sunday morning regarding "The Great Repeal Bill."
Sunday morning George Eaton tweeted "The Great Repeal Bill is simply the legislative version of "Brexit means Brexit"" and he is spot on.
Accused of being clueless with regard to BRexit in real terms Mrs May, already nicknamed DisMay by John Prescott and Mayhem by one of my friends, has opted for a catchy BRexit byline.
There is method in her actions.
It means Article 50 will be triggered in spring 2017, probably by late March.
Timing as usual in crucial.
Theresa May is working toward the country leaving the EU by spring 2019.
That means if the next General Election goes to a full term we will be out of the EU a little over a year by the time we get a chance to vote on Theresa May and her government.
With EU elections scheduled for May 2019 we will be out of that picture too.
The Great Repeal Bill will entrench all existing EU laws into UK law. Work on this bill is ongoing.
"This bill will overturn the 1972 European Communities Act that established the supremacy of EU law over Britain’s own legislation" reports the Sunday Express.
It will allow the government time to unpick and cherry pick EU laws in the UK.
Over a number of years expect some new laws put in place and some exisitng ones abandoned.
If we still have a Tory government it does not take a genius to guess which laws could be amended, repealed or just scrapped.
The Tory Party is good at showing a united party to the mainstream media and the world but that is often simply smoke and mirrors.
Look out for that this week and expect plenty of anti-Corbyn rhetoric at the Birmingham conference.
Photo credit Alan Mason from the anti Tory demo in Birmingham Sunday
At Wednesday’s PMQs in the House of Commons, London, PM David Cameron was accused of using smoke and mirrors as he tried to spin a draft EU membership deal, but what does that mean?
In November 2014 we posted a report regarding a European surcharge and how the Tories were deploying smoke and mirrors to hide the truth.
Monday was Groundhog Day in the USA and following the plot of that movie we will repost the 'smoke and mirrors' story below:
As Chancellor Osborne and P.M. Cameron of the U.K. tout an E.U. surcharge deal as a victory many are accusing them of using 'smoke and mirrors'.
Here we are then, February 2016, and smoke and mirrors are being used to confound and confuse the electorate while spinning negative Tory news into a positive.
When the time comes to have your 'say' and vote on whether or not you think the UK should 'Brexit' or 'Bremain' bear that in mind.