Tuesday, 14 April 2009

Smeargate: reflections

1. McBride was appointed personally by Brown, who interviewed him and subsequently worked very closely with him, so his actions reflect appalling on Brown's judgement.

2. As do Brown's references, in a comment by a Downing Street spokesman and apparently repeated in his 'personal' letters to those smeared, to 'unsubstantiated claims'. As others have pointed out, the logical inference to be drawn from that phrase is that the claims might be correct, but there is no evidence to back them up. Brown's pathological refusal to apologise and to accept just how wrong his attack dog got it is compounding both the original harm caused, and the damage being suffered by the Government.

3. Ditto his terrible letter to Gus O'Donnell on the SpAd code (above). I mean -

"....I entered politics because of a sense of public duty and to improve the lives and opportunities of those less fortunate than me. My undivided focus as Prime Minister is on acting to make Britain a fairer, safer and more prosperous nation and, in particular, on guiding the country through the current economic difficulties...'

Ffs! It's a mea culpa, not yet another bit of grotesque spin! Shut up man!

How much better if he had immediately said something like: "Like everyone else, I am appalled by these obscene lies, which I fully accept have absolutely no basis in fact; and I apologise unreservedly on behalf of the Government and the Labour Party to those affected, to whom I will be offering my personal apologies in writing. I have sacked Mr McBride, who has no place in this Government." Then he might have had half a chance of getting it out of top place in the news cycle by now.

4. Tom Watson - blogger, and in his spare time Minister for the Civil Service and 'Minister for Digital Engagement' (who knew?) - is, it is said, shared an office with McBride. Having already been mentioned in the emails, this puts him even more squarely in the cross hairs as the next victim of this squalid affair. The Mail reports that 'Downing Street sources' deny this. An FoI request could sort that out.

Unusually for a highly active blogger, Tom's blog has been silent since a 10 April post; and that post has no comments to it. My cheery comment giving some pithy thoughts on Smeargate hasn't yet appeared there. How odd!

1 comment:

dNo said...

Sorry, we need to change someone's contract so that they cant make up complete lies and try to publish them in newspapers... Is that not covered by misconduct, probably gross, which appears in any standard job contract???
And Brown says in his letter that McBride was the only person who knew anything, and then Brown reminded everyone involved that there was no place for this etc... So that would be just McBride then?