The Tories are in a mess. Admittedly that’s not news, but when they’ve finally got the general election that they’ve been begging for and are seeking to pose as the party of competent government, it’s not a good look.
It started on Sunday when Ross Thomson was forced to stand down as the Tory candidate for Aberdeen South after the local party chairman refused to sign his nomination papers. The refusal came following newspaper reports that the Labour MP for Glasgow North East Paul Sweeney had alleged that Ross had groped him in a Commons bar, an allegation which Ross Thomson denies. This was a separate incident from the previous allegation that Ross had groped some men in a Commons bar, an incident which he also denies, apparently claiming that he’d merely slipped and had attempted to grab something to stop himself from falling.
The local Tory party was hurriedly forced to find another candidate, although the speed with which they managed to publish election leaflets bearing the new candidate’s name – local councillor Douglas Lumsden – has led some to speculate that the local Conservative association had been planning a coup for some time. All is not well within the Aberdeen Tories. Not the least of which the fact that they have candidates who back Brexit in a city which voted overwhelmingly to remain in the EU.
The resignation/sacking delete as appropriate came as another Conservative candidate found themselves under attack after it came to light that she had said that people on benefits ought to be put down. Francesca O’Brien, who is the Tory candidate in the key Welsh marginal seat of Gower made the comment on Facebook in 2014. Writing about the Channel 4 poverty porn show Benefits Street, she commented, “Benefit Street .. anyone else watching this?? Wow, these people are unreal!!!” Then added, “My blood is boiling, these people need putting down.” So that’s nice. Tory, nuff said really. The malign spirit of Thatcher is alive and well. Unlike anything that passes for compassion or empathy in the Conservative party. Vote Tory, and you’re voting for institutionalised cruelty.
Then on Tuesday Jacob Rees Mogg said that if those who died in the Grenfell tragedy had shown more common sense and had left the building despite being told to stay by the authorities, more people would have survived. Because that’s what he’d have done. Like Francesca he was forced to make an abject apology for his insensitivity. Although if every Tory had to apologise every time one of them said or did something insensitive then we’d never hear anything else from them. Which would be nice. However what they’re apologising for isn’t being offensive, insensitive, and cruel. They’re apologising for having been caught out and in a damage limitation exercise in the hope that it won’t hurt their election prospects.
It’s pretty rich of Jacob Rees Mogg to say that other people should display common sense, since Jacob only knows what common sense is when his nanny tells him. Whenever I look for common sense, my first port of call is to turn for advice to a man who thought it was a good idea to call his son Sixtus. However if those poor people had attempted to leave the building and died in the attempt, Jacob would have been one of the first to condemn them for not obeying the orders of the authorities. Working class people should do what they’re told after all. It’s the Tory way.
Still, Jacob has been defended by the patron saint of gammon, fellow Tory MP Andrew Bridgen, whose sole claim to fame is that he is slightly taller than Mark Francois – but that doesn’t prevent him from being even lower. Andrew claimed that Jacob would have survived the fire due to his superior intellect and that’s why he ought to be running the country. After all he can quote Latin and discourse on the finer points of theology. It’s just a pity that he has less emotional intelligence than a small damp patch of mould on an abandoned mattress. Although if Jacob really was that clever you’d think that he’d pay a tailor to make suits for him that actually fit.
Then there are the peculiar circumstances surrounding the collapse of a rape trial in Wales. The Welsh Secretary Alun Cairns has denied that he knew anything about the role of a former aide in collapsing a trial for rape of a friend. The aide, Ross England – what is it with Tories called Ross? – had been strongly criticised by the judge in the trial after bringing up the subject of the victim’s sexual history despite having been ordered by the court not to. The trial collapsed as a result, and there had to be a retrial, during which the defendant was found guilty.
Cairns denied that he knew anything about this before it became public knowledge just a few days ago. However the BBC in Wales, who seem to believe in holding Conservatives to account (Pacific Quay, take note), published an email sent to Alun Cairns by another advisor over a year ago in which the advisor told the Welsh Secretary that Ross England was confident that the court would take no action against him for his behaviour. On Wednesday, Alun Cairn’s position became untenable and he resigned as Welsh Secretary although he’s still standing as a Tory candidate. However we’re in the middle of a General Election now, so it’s not like Alun’s resignation has any real meaning. But it looks good for the press and that’s all that matters. It’s a safe bet that if he gets reelected and the Tories win he’ll be back in government again. I refer the court of public opinion to the case of Gavin Williamson.
The Tory aptitude for venal incompetence just keeps giving this week. The Chancellor Sajid Javid has also come under criticism for spending taxpayers’ money in a nakedly political move. The Chancellor had instructed civil servants to assess nine of Labour’s policies and intended to publish the report. He was slapped down by the UK’s highest ranking civil servant Mark Sedwill, who told the Chancellor that such a move during an election campaign would be improper. The Tories have to have the fundamentals of democratic propriety explained to them. Although this doesn’t come as a surprise to anyone in Scotland who wants another independence referendum.
Yesterday the Tories found themselves being criticised again after a campaign video that they released online backfired. The video contained a heavily doctored version of an interview on Good Morning Britain in which Piers spit spit boo hiss Morgan asked Labour’s Keir Starmer about the party’s Brexit policy. Keir immediately gave a detailed and full response to the question, which you may or may not agree with, however the Tories then released a video showing Keir sit in dumbfounded silence for a few seconds after being asked the question by the slimy one, giving the entirely incorrect impression that he had no answer.
The Tory party chairman James Cleverly, who is living proof that nominative determinism is not a thing, then went on the BBC to defend the video. Essentially his argument was that it was “light hearted” and just a bit of banter. So that makes it OK then. Tory MP Johnny Mercer later said that the video had “inexplicably been doctored”. There was no inexplicable about it at all Johnny. Even Piers Morgan said that the way that the Conservatives had treated the interview was “misleading and unfair”, and he knows a lot about that sort of thing.
However the Conservatives haven’t merely failed to officially apologise, they’ve doubled down on attempts to spread the video on social media. In response to Piers Morgan’s criticisms, the Tory party tweeted a new version of video saying: “Fair point @piersmorgan. Is this version better?” The new version is almost identical to the first one. The only difference is that instead of showing Starmer blinking and licking his lips inMorgan’s question, it freezes the frame on his face and zooms in. What larks. Even being caught out in a blatant lies doesn’t stop them. They’re clearly taking their cue from the very top.
Today the master prat faller of the Tory party took to a podium in Downing Street to mark the official launch of the Conservative General Election campaign. As to be expected, he fnaugh fnaughed his way through a series of lies, not the least of which was the claim that the SNP and the Labour party have struck a deal to bring about another independence referendum next year. It’s a sign of things to come. This coming election is going to be the dirtiest, the most untruthful, and the nastiest in living memory. We have those Tories who keep going on about the divisions of the independence referendum while dog whistling to sectarian bigots to thank for it. The true colours of the Tory party are not red white and blue, they’re a nasty dark stain on public life.
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