Daily Archives: April 12, 2009

Pots and kettles

There’s a lot of sound and fury out there at the moment:

David Cameron is demanding a personal apology from Prime Minister Gordon Brown over e-mails sent by an adviser discussing smearing the Tories.
The Tory leader is “absolutely furious” and is calling on Mr Brown to give a guarantee that such messages will not be sent again, a spokeswoman said.

Now, there may be some mileage in that.

Let’s try another tack: that whole “Gordon Brown is insane” meme, which has been run — with some success — over months by the Opposition blog-artists.

Of course, David Cameron is too honourable to stoop that low. Indeed. Naturally. Err, not … (see below).

Instead, Cameron’s word is “dysfunctional”. Cameron, picking up the word from the Daily Mail, maintained this concerted campaign himself, from as far back as December 2007:

Mr Cameron … said it was substance that was going wrong for Mr Brown…
The Tory leader insisted the government is now “utterly dysfunctional”…

We are now into that famous import-from-Australia, via Lynton Crosby, “dog-whistle politics” (a term given currency by another migrant, Matthew Parris from South Africa).

And it works. Last November, Kevin Maguire managed a double-edged swipe:

The worst of friends barely shared a word, Cameron bending forward several times to bypass young George [Osborne] and enjoy a quip with new best mate (and fellow Old Etonian) Oliver Letwin. In one snub Cameron leaned to tell Letwin he thought Brown “mad” with Osborne treated like a pillar that had to be got round.

Thereupon, Jeremy Clarkson felt able to transcend any reasonable limits with his “one-eyed Scottish idiot“.  Here is Janet Daley in the Telegraph last week:

Once again I am compelled to ask the question, “Is Gordon Brown quite mad?” This is not vulgar abuse. We must consider the possibility at this point that the Prime Minister is technically delusional.

In the circumstances, no wonder that the abuse is so pointed and permissible on the Tory web-sites and blog-artists.

And, by the way, if those e-mails from McBride are so very terrible, why have the gibes and insinuations (and others far worse) been in sotto voce currency for so long, and among Tories?

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