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The Villages

Date: 2009-04-16 12:42
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The Easter weekend dawned grey and overcast, but was brightened immeasurably by the news that Labour had pointed a shotgun at their foot and blown it clean off. Again.
Some months ago, it seems, a former Labour spin-doctor called Derek Draper set up a pro-Labour blog, to be called `Red Rag.'
One of Gordon's senior officials, a chap named Damian McBride, emailed Draper suggestions for some stories for Red Rag, including a number of extremely scurrilous rumours about Tory leader David Cameron, Shadow Chancellor George Osborne, Osborne's wife, and two other Tory MPs.
Somehow - and it's not yet become clear how - the emails wound up in the inbox of Paul Staines, a somewhat right-wing blogger who goes by the name Guido Fawkes. And then they wound up in The Times. And then the shit hit the fan.
There has been much angels-dancing-on-the-head-of-a-pin nitpicking by the commentariat and the bloggerazzi over the past few days. Who did what, who knew what, whose decision it was, who should pay. And enormously entertaining it has been, too.
Gordon Brown, of course, knew nothing about the whole affair, and I have to wonder when we last had a Prime Minister who apparently knew so little about what was going on around him. He used to be able to get away with stuff like this when he was Chancellor, but it doesn't work now.
Anyway, Damian McBride - a man apparently popularly known as `McPoison' when he was Gordon's political press officer - finally resigned, and there are signs that Labour have also started to nudge Draper off into the outer darkness.
For the Tories, of course, this has been an enormous gift. There was a statement from Number 10 apologising for the emails, but demands were made for the Prime Minister to apologise personally. Gordon only made things worse by failing to do so. He did use the word `regret' in a number of conjunctions, though. Finally, he wrote personal letters to the Tories involved.
Now, much has been made of the illegibility of these letters, but, quite seriously, Gordon's eyesight is very poor, and he writes everything in thick black felt-tip. More worrying was that he again declined to apologise, saying something along the lines that he regretted how the affair reflected on `our politics.' In public life, Gordon is not, on the whole, a huggy, mea culpa sort of bloke. And it would stick in his craw to say sorry to the Tories just a few days after he international triumph at the G20.
However. Today he's in Glasgow and he's said sorry. Or rather, he said he's "sorry about what happened," which is subtly different.
He also descended, as you'll note at the end of the BBC report, into a fit of Harmanesque gibberish when he said, "I take full responsibility for what happens. That's why the person responsible went immediately."
Parliament is currently on its Easter holidays, but they're back next week. Next Wednesday's Prime Minister's Questions will be interesting.
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