Friday, June 20, 2008

The inexcusable smearing of an opponent

Dominic Lawson writing in the Independent has few good words for Labour and in particular Mr Burnham who gets a good tanning by Dominic. All this has come about by the words Mr Burnham wrote in the New Labour magazine Progress. Note that he did not write the article in any of the MSM who might have changed the words as they would be unlikely to have accepted them as being anything but libellous. The words that have caused such controversy were as follows

"I find something very curious in the man who was, and still is I believe, an exponent of capital punishment, having late-night, hand-wringing, heart-melting phone calls with Shami Chakrabarti."

These are carefully crafted words to get out the exact meaning that Labour wanted, to imply, that David Davis was having some sort of inappropriate relationship with Shami Chakrabarti. According to Dominic

The big smear started the moment David Davis announced his resignation to fight a by-election on the issue of Labour's erosion of civil liberties. It was said that Mr Davis had been "bewitched" by the director of Liberty, Shami Chakrabarti. The smear then grew, in the way these things do, to the allegation – unfounded, unjustifiable and, to any one who knows the happily married Ms Chakrabarti, unbelievable – that there was "something going on between them".

Over the last week it has seeped from the bars of the House of Commons into the newspaper columns. Ann Treneman, the Times' parliamentary sketchwriter, wrote a couple of days ago that "there is a rumour that David Davis resigned after being bewitched by Shami. She denied this, but then she would." I can see that this was designed to be amusing, but, if you were Ms Chakrabarti, then you could only be further distressed – and having spoken to her, I know just how upset she has been made by this innuendo.

Dominic finally ends up by saying that Mr Burnham's clarifying statement about the remarks was not exactly an apology but just more tactics. The apology declared that his remark about Mr Davis and Ms Chakrabarti was meant as
"a light-hearted comment about the former shadow Home Secretary's political journey, by-election political knockabout and nothing else."
Dominic asserts
Note the passive tense – the weasel way of appearing to apologise without actually doing so. The truth is that it is New Labour who are offended by Ms Chakrabarti: deep down, they simply can't accept the idea that the head of Liberty might actually be independent, that she doesn't know her place – which was meant to be in New Labour's big tent, and certainly not making common cause with the Conservatives. So they smear her.

Labour just cannot believe that the Conservatives can appeal to such a broad range of people. They cannot understand why their message is being rejected by the British people and now they are reverting to their sad old tricks of trying to smear and denigrate people rather than argue the case or the facts. This is typical Gordon Brown behaviour. He hates the fact that he cannot "dominate" the free-thinking public and so will come out with tactics that, forgive my footballing parlance , play the (wo)man rather than the ball.

Dominic Lawson: This is more than a political knock-about – it's the inexcusable smearing of an opponent - Dominic Lawson, Commentators - The Independent

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