True Lies

Historical documentary film-maker Martin Smith tells how his early exposure to Government lies led to jail and a lifelong commitment to historic truth.

The disgraced former Cabinet minister Jonathan Aitken has my sympathy. We share some things in common; both of us spent too much of our childhood on a hospital bed with TB, and both of our lives have been transformed by lies. When I started school I was almost ten years old and a willing receptacle for British ideas of fair play. I needed little convincing that my elders were indeed my betters, and that all policemen were truthful. Aged fifteen, I left for the world of work with my cosy views intact, and was brought face to face with the impoverishment of ordinary life. It was very different from the life that school, radio, newspapers and even my parents had set before me.

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