Who can we trust and believe? How do you know the truth when you hear it?

Who can we trust and believe? Here are just a few issues in the media that have you wondering: Plebgate, Colchester Hospital cancer scandal, energy price rises, the end of shipbuilding in Portsmouth, phone-hacking …

With 1800 jobs being cut by BAE Systems in England and Scotland, questions have arisen as to the motivation behind the decision to opt for closure in Portsmouth rather than north of the border.  BAE may agree with the MoD that “Glasgow would be the most effective location” for future development, but cynics are arguing that that this is political expediency.  How disastrous would it be to halt shipbuilding in Scotland with a vote on independence looming?  Who do we believe?

Claims about the apparent “bullying culture” at Colchester Hospital were dismissed a year ago, but now it emerges that staff were made to falsify cancer patients’ data.  How can we have confidence in any hospital with the NHS in ‘crisis, according to politicians and commentators?  Ed Miliband’s figures seem to confirm this, David Cameron’s statistics tell a different story: which do you believe?

Plebgate rumbles on, the energy companies are lying low after their attempts to justify their price hikes and the phone-hacking trial is set to mark the end or resurrection of Andy Coulson and Rebekah Brooks, who knew nothing, allegedly.

“Trust no one” was the chilling advice I received from an embittered assistant headteacher when I first joined the profession many years ago.  Sad, I know, but it seems that the spin of successive governments, media moguls, corporate bosses, bankers and now even hospital officials means that today trust is understandably in short supply.

In a democratic society we have the right to question, to challenge and uncover the truth.  This shouldn’t be for the sake of revolution or disruption or self-aggrandisement, but for the purpose of being treated with some respect by those in power, to be treated fairly and equally within a compassionate community.

A society built on subterfuge breeds further artifice unless the deceit is challenged by whistle blowers such as the staff at Colchester, for example.  Only when we all live by ethos of honesty and fairness can we believe what we hear or what we read.

Be warned: long runs the fox.

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