Sunday, April 12, 2009

Worse than a crime, a mistake

There is one thing to be said for smear tactics, spin and the other political black arts: they can be extremely effective. What Derek Draper and Damian McBride were plotting was straight out of the Lee Atwater/Karl Rove play book. (Especially the stuff about Frances Osborne's mental health and the suggestion that the Cameron family would be targeted).

The downside is, of course, that people will hate you for using these tactics. And they only work if you're smart enough not to get caught. As it is: I refer you to my comments about there being nothing worse than looking sleazy and ridiculous. I was not quite right: looking malevolently vile and simultaneously displaying the astuteness of Frs Ted and Dougal takes quite a lot of beating.

But while Draper and McBride receive a richly deserved ordeal by media I don't think it changes much. It does reinforce the impression that Brown and his acolytes are not best suited to lead the country, but I think most people had come to that conclusion already, including the smarter and more principled elements of the Labour party. (For the avoidance of doubt I would include Blair and co in the 'more principled' list; you can decide for yourself how well that reflects on Brown).

However, there is one aspect to this story that has caught my eye. Damian McBride is only 34.

What? He looks about 50, like the sleaziest, clapped out, most corrupt, thuggish and self-important, third-rate west coast of Scotland Labour councillor. A cardiac in need of arrest.

How to do you get to look so seedy, dissipated and unhealthy in such a space of time? God knows, I'm a similar age and I've tried but clearly I have led a life of comparative virtue and clean-living. (I now feel much better about myself for seeing his bloated, bloodshot mug across the papers).

For lovers of literature it has always been fun to imagine how the picture of Dorian Gray would have looked. I think I have an idea now.

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Blogger Sir Compton said...

Spot on. And McBride's age is eye-popping - quite took my breath away too when I read it. I wonder what career opportunities beckon?

9:44 am  

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