Friday, November 14, 2008

Wading through the swamp

The last few days have seen a determined effort across the Tory blogosphere to nail Gordon Brown over his Commons performance on Wednesday in relation to the Baby P case.

It was clearly not one of the PM's best days, but the Tories' ongoing attempts to equate his below-par display with somehow not caring about the dead child are, in my view, a disgrace, although entirely consistent with their general view of Brown as some sort of devil incarnate.

If David Cameron really wanted an intelligent debate on the issues surrounding the tragedy, he should have submitted a Private Notice Question which would have obliged the Speaker to schedule an emergency debate, not brought it up in the highly-charged, partisan arena of PMQs.

Cartoonist Slob, though, has a slightly different take. As far as he is concerned, Messrs Brown and Cameron are both as guilty as eachother....



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11 comments:

stephen rouse said...

Gordon clearly waded into the mire first. But Cameron lost the moral high ground when he started demanding personal apologies, losing sight of the somewhat larger issue.
More than one Tory blogger appears not to appreciate the irony that, in spinning this wretched affair as a points victory for Cameron, they do rather validate the accusation Brown made.

James Higham said...

I don't think anyone came out of that one too well.

Iain Dale said...

Paul, you wrote

"It was clearly not one of the PM's best days, but the Tories' ongoing attempts to equate his below-par display with somehow not caring about the dead child"

Seeing as you linked to me in the previous paragraph I hope you will make clear that I made no such analogy.

Paul Linford said...

Okay Iain, happy to make that clear, but what is it exactly that you are trying to prove about Brown's handling of this issue? That he isn't as good at "emoting" in public as Blair was, and Cameron is? Big bloody deal, we knew that, and it's actually one of the reasons why some of us like the guy. You described Gordon to a Labour supporter on your blog as "your joke of a Prime Minister." That sort of language is quite out of proportion when all that has really happened here is that Gordon failed to do a "people's Princess."

Iain Dale said...

My point was clear. That he had accused Cameron of playing party politics when it was clear to everyone that he hadn't. And wouldn't on an issue like this.

He embarrassed himself and his party, which is presumably why a Labour MP phoned me yesterday and told me exactly that.

Ben said...

It seemed to me that Brown did allow his defensive ire to override his basic humanity, and make him forget the awfulness if the death of this child.

Far worse, though, was the tasteless braying from the benches behind him.

For once, Speaker Martin emerged from the mess with some honour.

Paul Linford said...

Oh come on, the "party politics" point really is so much bollocks. Firstly, as I've said in my post, if Cameron was so keen to take a non-partisan approach to all of this, why bring it up at PMQs when instead he could have submitted a PNQ and got a full emergency debate on the issue? Secondly, as Stephen Rouse has so astutely pointed out above, in attempting to spin this affair as a points victory for Cameron, th Tory bloggers are entirely validatingthe very accusation that Gordon made.

Ben said...

Correction: of the death ...

Iain Dale said...

Paul, for someone who is normally so sensible you seem to have developed a blind spot on this. It's nothing to do with Tory bloggers.

Are you seriously suggesting that Cameron should not have raised this issue and that by doing so he was being party political? Oh come on. That means he shouldn't speak about Iraq or Afghanistan as well, does it?

I certainly wasn't trying to spin this as a points victory for Cameron. It was clear to anyone who watched it who came out best. It didn't require spinning. Every single broadcaster and journalist who watched it said the same.

Brown got it wrong. I called him for it and have absolutely no regrets. it's such a shame that tribal loyalties on the left mean that normally sane people feel they have to defend a man who they know got it so very badly wrong.

septicisle said...

What exactly did Brown get badly wrong? That he responded to Cameron getting overly angry because he was shouted down by Labour backbenchers in kind to Cameron's contemptuous acknowledgement that he wouldn't get an answer? What was Brown supposed to say when the decisions had clearly not been made yet with them only getting the review that morning?

If Cameron wasn't being party political then, and I've given him the benefit of the doubt and said he hasn't, in his remarks since that the sackings should be made and now demanding what happened to the letters sent various ministers he clearly has. The reaction all round, as seems to be the way at the moment, has been ridiculously over the top. A child has died horribly, a service may have failed, but they do so every day and always will and the response seems to be to blame everyone and everything other than the individuals actually responsible for the child's death: the mother, her boyfriend, and possibly the man lodging with them.

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