Friday, 15 November 2019

"...not of our own making"

At the end of last week, Tory advisers were congratulating themselves on overcoming the problems of the first week of campaigning, claiming that “They weren’t problems of our own making. So we did the only thing we could to make them not problems any more as fast as possible”.  They were obviously feeling proud of themselves, but with another week full of problems following on from the first, they may have spoken too soon – underestimating the gaffe proneness of the PM is a huge mistake.  But the phrase which caught my eye was the bit about not “of our own making”, implying that the problems had somehow been caused by someone else.  I wondered who else they had in mind, given that the two incidents to which they were referring were the Rees-Mogg comments on Grenfell and the circumstances of the resignation of Alun Cairns.
If it wasn’t the crass comments of a Conservative minister (Rees-Mogg) about the residents of Grenfell Tower, amplified by the ‘defence’ of him by another Tory MP, who exactly was to blame for the problems faced by the Tory campaign?  Are they blaming the media for daring to report what Tories said?  Or are they blaming the Grenfell Tower residents for creating a situation where Rees-Mogg had no alternative but to criticise them?
Turning to the Cairns affair, who are they blaming?  If it isn’t the Tory aide/candidate who wrecked the rape trial, and if it isn’t the Tory minister who supported the candidacy even after the trial incident, who caused the problems to the campaign?  Are they blaming the media for reporting what happened?  Or are they blaming the victim for reporting the matter to the police in the first place?
In both cases, what has actually caused problems for the Tory campaign is the lack of judgement shown by Tory cabinet ministers, and the underlying attitudes revealed by that.  Claiming that the problems were not “of our own making” merely shows that those making the claim are guilty of the same poor judgement.  It has, though, become typical of the current government’s approach.  Everything that happens – even their own words and actions – are the fault of someone else.  In one big sense they are right – it won’t be their fault if they end up being re-elected, despite all their apparent efforts to avoid that outcome; it will be the fault of those silly enough to believe anything they say.

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