Labour MP David Wright yesterday said he would never vote Tory “because you can put lipstick on a scum-sucking pig, but it’s still a scum-sucking pig”. Ok, not the best use of the language of Shakespeare and Wilde, but not the worst thing said about politicians. And if you actually spend more than 3 seconds considering what he wrote, you will see that he is not being literal. He at no point says Tories are scum-sucking pigs.
What he’s saying is that the Tory party may well have had a Cameron-makeover, but underneath all the faux green campaigning and compassionate conservatism, they’re just the same old Tories. And it doesn’t take a forensic examination of the Conservative party to see that he is right. First they did vote blue, get green with photo-shoots of huskies, wind turbines on roofs and bicycles to work. Of course, that fell apart when the leader’s suit and briefcase followed behind in a chauffeur-driven car. Then we had the hugging of hoodies, a whole raft of other media-friendly soundbites with ultimately vacuous policies, and now it’s apparently the year for change. All good sound stuff until you notice the Tories siding with far-right extremists in Europe, supporting a marriage-tax which punishes single-parent families, failing to support gay rights, guaranteeing tax cuts only to the super-rich, and not being able to tell the public the tax-status of the man who is basically funding them. Wright was unwise to put it in those terms, despite paraphrasing Barack Obama. And he was certainly stupid to make claims of being hacked which, whether true or not, people perceive as being disingenuous.
The other problem I have with this is the Tory party reaction. Eric Pickles has gone into overdrive demanding apologies, shouting about the ministerial code, he may have even asked for a censure from the US Congress by now. The usual suspects in the right-wing blogosphere have obviously rushed to condemn, denounce, and possibly hang, draw and quarter Wright. Predictable, a little dull, and expected, I here you cry. Well, yes, but that’s not my problem. My problem is in fact two-fold.
Firstly, where was all the righteous indignation from Eric Pickles et al when George Osborne called Gordon Brown autistic? Apparently that was all down to Osborne’s ‘wicked sense of humour’. How can someone like Tory Bear claim moral outrage when only two days ago he claimed Brown ‘looked like a paedo’ when commenting on the Piers Morgan interview? Has he been reprimanded? Did Pickles offer to investigate? Of course not. The hypocrisy is astonishing.
Secondly, the mock anger of the Tories has meant that the newspapers, blogosphere, television and radio have misquoted Wright all day and repeat the phrase ‘scum-sucking Tories’ over and over and over. Surely, that is a tactical error from the Conservative high command? To allow the story to drag on, even if they’re trying to turn it to what a bad man David Wright is, just allows the media to repeat the ‘scum-sucking Tories’ line. Is that really the line David Cameron wants the media repeating ad nauseum?