UK Politics

Brown doesn’t appear to get it

This is from a report in The Times:

A Downing Street spokesman said: “Neither the Prime Minister, nor anybody else in Downing St, had knowledge of these e-mails.

“It is the Prime Minister’s view that there is no place in politics for the dissemination or publication of material of this kind, which is why it is right that Mr McBride and Mr Draper took the decision not to publish this material and regrettable that others are choosing to do so.”

I’m sure it is.

So, McBride and Draper were right, and those that exposed them are behaving in a regrettable way? Come off it.

Tom Harris MP has the correct response [read his whole post]:

I think it’s important that Labour people make clear — and are seen to make clear — that this whole McBride/Draper episode (must we call it “Smeargate”? Really?) is as inexcusable to us as it is to the rest of the world. There is absolutely no point in anyone in the party trying to spin such an odious sequence of events, of trying to suggest that it’s less serious that what the media are trying to make out.
This is about standards of political activity, standards which have fallen far, far below what is remotely acceptable, especially for someone working at the very heart of government.

We screwed up, big time. We have no-one — absolutely no-one at all — to blame for this but ourselves. The damage the Labour Party and the government have sustained this last 24 hours has been entirely self-inflicted.

And the people behind this sordid little mess owe everyone named in these emails a very public apology.

Rather than attempting to spin Draper and McBride as victims, Brown should be apologising. He may not think their activity is acceptable in politics, but it was coming out of his building under his watch. He may not have been aware of the specific emails, but he is ultimately responsible for the tone of government he sets. Signaling that the real problem is those who have uncovered Draper’s and McBride’s emails are the ones engaged in “regrettable” activity sets a tone, but not a very good one.