Gideon "George" Osbourne, Tory toff and Shadow Chancellor, wants to have a debate with the Tory right about tax cuts because it will show that the party is changing. What he doesn't want to do is have a debate about his use of the word autistic as a term of political abuse towards his opponents, in this case Gordon Brown.
It wasn't all Osbourne's fault. The word was put into his mouth by the Blairite journalist Mary Ann Sieghart who has penned her own piece justicative HERE.
Sieghart, who was once so close to Mr Tony as to aspire to a job in the No 10 policy unit, gaily reassures us that "autistic" is an epithet that "plenty of politicians and journalists" have used about the Chancellor. "He does, after all, have an obsessive personality and rather low emotional intelligence. That is why the audience laughed: Mr Osborne’s joke resonated with them."
In other words, because it's Gordon Brown we're attacking, that's okay then.
For my part, I prefer the verdict of Nick Hornby, father of a 13-year-old autistic son, who said: "George Osborne doesn't seem to have noticed that most people over the age of eight no longer use serious and distressing disabilities as a way of taunting people."
If this is the "modern, inclusive" face of the Tory Party, it is clear that it still has a very long way to go.
October 5 Update: Sieghart has now written another piece in defence of her actions in which she blames the whole thing on Evening Standard Political Editor Joe Murphy, one of the finest reporters in the Parliamentary Lobby.
I know who I'd rather believe....