Thursday, November 25, 2010

Howard Flight's apology won't do

So, about-to-be Tory peer Howard Flight made an offensive remark about the poor, but he has now apologised and can have his peerage after all, so that's all right then?

Well not quite! In general I'm not one who thinks politicians should be hung out to dry for a gaffe, faux pas or slip of the tongue. But in this case, he said it, clearly meant it and it can't be unsaid. There are of course occasions when people do say things they don't mean: perhaps when we've had too much to drink, or in a fit of anger or when clearly speaking in jest. But he hasn't given any of these as a reason for saying what he did. So no matter how much he apologises and withdraws his remarks, we all know that what he said is is what he really thinks.

His attitude reveals him as having just the sort of attitudes that explains why David Cameron had to spend so long detoxifying the Tory brand, and if Cameron has any sense he will withdraw Flights peerage.

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