The episodes end with Nikki as witness, as the individual responsible for sabotaging the forensic evidence appears in court. She is asked by the prosecuting barrister:
Dr Alexander, what are the consequences of the defendant’s actions on your work?
“What’s the point of experts if nobody trusts them? What’s the point of evidence if it can so easily be contaminated? The whole integrity of what we strive to achieve could have been catastrophically undermined. What my colleagues and I seek to do is understand the cause and manner of a person’s death. But we don’t only deal with the dead; we deal with the living – the families, the judiciary, the coroner, the police, the public, the press. And they all have to trust us, and if there is a betrayal of that trust, there is a crime. The opposite of truth is not just a lie; the opposite of truth is chaos, chaos that is in danger of bringing down the institutions we depend on – to deliver justice.”
Thank you, Dr Alexander.
During the referendum campaign, The Daily Telegraph reported on 10th June 2016:
“I think people in this country,” declared Vote Leave’s Michael Gove, “have had enough of experts.” His fellow Brexiteers were quick to back him up. “There is only one expert that matters,” said Labour MP Gisela Stuart, also of Vote Leave, “and that’s you, the voter.” Nigel Farage, the leader of Ukip, suggested that many independent experts were actually in the pay of the Government or the EU. This concerted undermining of experts was a major tactic of the Leave Campaign. Warnings of the complexity and potential consequences of exiting from real experts were poo-pooed, and who can forget the nonsense of the red bus? "The opposite of truth is not just a lie; the opposite of truth is chaos, chaos that is in danger of bringing down the institutions we depend on…" And we are now reaping the whirlwind.
Which explains Donald Tusk, the European Council President’s comments: “I have been wondering what the special place in hell looks like for those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan to deliver it safely.” And I guess it also explains the intemperate response of leading Brexiteers to his musings. Commons leader, Andrea Leadsom, who campaigned for Britain's exit from the EU, said Mr Tusk should apologise for his "disgraceful" and "spiteful" comments.
No doubt some of the Brexiteers realise that Donald Tusk might have been thinking about Dante’s Inferno (of which Wikipedia gives a useful summary for those who don’t want to read the whole allegory). “In the poem, Hell is depicted as nine concentric circles of torment located within the Earth; it is the ‘realm ... of those who have rejected spiritual values by yielding to bestial appetites or violence, or by perverting their human intellect to fraud or malice against their fellowmen’.”
Each circle is reserved for increasingly bad people. The bullseye at the bottom is reserved for the epitome of evil, the Devil. Two circles out from there is the eighth, the Circle of Fraud, which is subdivided into ten evil “ditches”, the Malebolge. Writing in the 1950s Dorothy L. Sayers described this as, "the image of the City in corruption: the progressive disintegration of every social relationship, personal and public. Sexuality, ecclesiastical and civil office, language, ownership, counsel, authority, psychic influence, and material interdependence – all the media of the community's interchange are perverted and falsified".
In the penultimate ditch Dante sees the “Sowers of Discord: In the Ninth Bolgia, the Sowers of Discord are hacked and mutilated for all eternity by a large demon wielding a bloody sword; their bodies are divided as, in life, their sin was to tear apart what God had intended to be united; these are the sinners who are 'ready to rip up the whole fabric of society to gratify a sectional egotism'. The souls must drag their ruined bodies around the ditch, their wounds healing in the course of the circuit, only to have the demon tear them apart anew.”I don’t imagine at all that Donald Tusk sees the EU as God-given, merely as a proven instrument of peace and prosperity for Europe. Neither do I have reason to suppose his wondering went as far as consigning “those who promoted Brexit without even a sketch of a plan to deliver it safely” to the ninth ditch of the eighth circle of hell. But I wonder whether the cap fits.
Of course I am not so naïve as to suggest that the promoters of Brexit were the first or only perverters and falsifiers of all the media of the community's interchange. It was certainly one of their weapons, but we have seen it in such monsters as Cambridge Analytica, we have seen it in the political life of the USA, and in the widespread use of targeted disinformation used to justify military and economic interventions designed to destabilise societies. In this, patently, the internet is a pervasively powerful instrument, with the potential to cause more damage than an atom bomb. However, it is clear that the Brexit-movement has had the effect of magnifying unrest in many of whom we used to call our European friends, and who remain our European neighbours. Some Eurosceptics no doubt rejoice at witnessing the opening of Pandora’s box and anticipate Europe’s disintegration with glee.
“The opposite of truth is not just a lie; the opposite of truth is chaos, chaos that is in danger of bringing down the institutions we depend on…” We are now discovering that Dr Alexander was right. And “the living”, who are the next generation, are the ones who will have the task of bringing back truth, and rescuing order from the chaos.