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Friday 9 September 2011

Spot The Difference

Back in April during Prime Minister’s Questions (PMQs), Young Dave had a jolly spiffing wheeze: he borrowed a quote from a TV advert and told Labour front bencher Angela Eagle to “calm down dear”. When this supremely patronising act went unappreciated, the usual suspects in the Fourth Estate queued up to mock Eagle and dismiss Cameron’s put-down as nothing serious.

Fat Dick Littlejohn sneered at Ms Eagle: “prize lemon-sucker ... lesbian ... self-righteous munters” and suggested patting her on the arm or head. His equally odious fellow hack Quentin Letts (let’s not) also told his readers of Ms Eagle’s sexual orientation – this is, after all, the Daily Mail – and asserted that she was “yelling at [the PM] like a tattooed stevedore”.

What a difference four months makes: earlier this week, Young Dave had another jolly good wheeze, a variation on David Niven’s Oscar acceptance speech (Niven intended to say he had tripped up on the way to the podium because he was so loaded down with good luck charms, but only got as far as “loaded”, paused, and brought the house down with what appeared an admission that he was pissed).

But the target this time was on the Government benches: step forward (yes, it’s her again) MP for mid-Narnia Nadine Dorries. Replying to Dorries’ question suggesting that the Lib Dems were effectively the tail wagging the dog, Cameron said “I know the Hon. Lady is extremely frustrated ... ” and then paused, probably not accidentally. He then gave up amid raucous laughter.

First to the reaction quote was the Guardian’s Nicholas Watt, relaying the sentiment of one Tory MP, that Cameron’s behaviour towards Dorries was “the worst of the Bullingdon”. Yesterday the Daily Mail thundered its disapproval: “schoolboy laughter” was its response. And the same Quentin Letts had also changed his tune, telling that Ms Dorries was “bold” and had “flamboyance”.

Harry Potter and the gobshite of hypocrisy

So the Letts response to this Cameron put-down was much more measured and sympathetic: “On her tight lips she could taste the almond poison of public hilarity”. He also told that “The moment was probably a 50-50, part success, part defeat”, which is pure and steaming bullpucky: Dorries was openly humiliated by the leader of her own party.

It is interesting to observe the way that practitioners of stinking hypocrisy wave in the wind, and the change of reportage between the Eagle and Dorries put-downs has been as swiftly executed as it has been shown to be a very obvious example of clumsy double standards.

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