Hello. Sorry for a lack of updates – a rather topsy turvy week or so has contributed to this – and I am no doubt late to the blog party when opening on this subject. But hey, I might as well throw in my tuppence worth.
For those of you who do not know, which will no doubt total nobody, the PM’s advisor, Damien Mcbride (above), has been forced to resign after it emerged that he discussed smearing senior Conservatives. What seems to have got the goat of most people is the fact that some of the smears weren’t aimed at the MPs themselves, but family members. Politicians who enter the Commons must accept that from time to time they will receive flak, true or not, but when people try and target people outside the political game then that just isn’t cricket.
It reminds of that great scene in the first season of The Wire, where detectives Moreland and McNulty bring in D’Angelo Barksdale for an interview. The subject is the murder of William Gant, who was murdered not for what he did, or what he stood for, but for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. The message from it was clear – if you take a hit within the game, that’s to be expected. But when you ace a working man, a civilian…
Anyway, back to politics. One of the emails suggested questioning the mental state of George Osborne’s wife, for example, and Tory MPs and political reporters a like have expressed their disgust at the actions which the Labour party looked to go ahead with. If the idea of political spin had a low opinion before, it has just crashed through into the basement, faceplanting the cold, concrete floor.
Whether Guido’s inclination to release the information was more motivated by the idea of getting one over rival blogger Derek Draper or to uncover the murky waters in Whitehall is debatable (I’d argue it is a case of getting two birds with one stone), but the damage it has done cannot be underestimated. The only people who seem to underestimate it are, bizarrely, the Labour hierarchy. It has been four days since the story broke, and yet there has been no public apology by the Prime Minister. Sure, letters have been written, but he hasn’t actually apologised for anything. For the record, I love this quote from the above letter:
I have already taken responsibility for acting on this – first by accepting Mr McBride’s resignation and by making it clear to all concerned that such actions have no part to play in the public life of our country.
Haha. If the definition of responsibility in your eyes is letting someone take the heat in front of you and denying any wrongdoing, then you need a new dictionary sunshine. Rightly, Brown has been panned for the oversight of not personally apologising. Stubborn as a mule that lad. Not that it didn’t go unnoticed – Private Eye magazine awarded it the “Stalinist quote of the week” accolade.
In the interest of balance, I’d like to finish off with a quote from Paddy Ashdown’s memoirs, published in the Sunday Times this weekend. He talks about the aftermath of when news of his affair with his secretary came to light:
All this made life for my family even more difficult and seriously undermined my self-confidence, too. That, it appears, was precisely what was supposed to happen – as we discovered after the election, when we learnt that some Tories had imported a group of US activists called “the Nerds”, whose job was to spread malign rumours and make unfounded personal accusations against senior opposition MPs.
Perhaps this was done without official sanction from the top of the Conservative party. But after the election Kelvin MacKenzie, then editor of The Sun, revealed that at least one cabinet-level Tory minister had approached him seeking to retail scurrilous and untrue allegations against a number of senior opposition MPs.
With David Cameron saying Labour have been in charge for too long, one would say almost addicted on the fumes of executive power, it is worth noting that this ill seems to fall to anyone who gets too familiar with the corridors of 10 Downing Street in the modern era.
EDIT: Check out this blog for a couple of snippets from the emails. Oh lol.