After some of them were a little too keen yesterday to ridicule shadow Chancellor “Auguste” Balls for what they knew was his stammer, the pundits are today about-turning and pretending that it was all Balls’ fault, that he is now casting around for sympathy (he isn’t), and that it’s OK because the Labour front bench routinely heckle those opposite (as if the Tories and Lib Dems don’t).
The idea that Balls was playing the victim – after he had said “Sometimes that stammer gets the better of me in the first minute or two when I speak ... But frankly that is who I am. I don't mind that” and therefore clearly not doing so – was trowelled on by the obedient followers of the legendarily foul mouthed Paul Dacre at the Daily Mail, particularly Lobby chairman Tim Shipman.
“It is bizarre that Ed Balls ... expects any sympathy for his condition” frothed Shipman, showing his indignation at an event that he knew full well had not happened, and therefore demonstrating the kind of journalistic skills that will keep endearing him to the Vagina Monologue. His colleague James Chapman also span the whole affair expertly by suggesting everyone look over there.
“I thought [the] mockery of Balls was because he said [the] precise opposite of what he meant” explained Chapman. Both Shipman and Chapman needed the Indy’s John Rentoul to spell out exactly what had happened, which was that the Rt Hon Gideon George Oliver Osborne, heir to the Seventeenth Baronet, had pulled a fast one with his figures by including the 4G licences but not mentioning the fact.
Tory MPs were also excusing the hooting ridicule of Osborne and his pal Young Dave, typical being the attitude of Devizes’ Claire Perry, who decided it was OK because Labour do the same. It would be interesting to know when the opposition front bench last ridiculed someone on the Government side who has to occasionally wrestle with a speech impediment.
Meanwhile, to no surprise at all, no such thought was allowed to enter for the rabble at the Guido Fawkes blog, where new teaboy Alex Wickham became distinctly tetchy when he was upbraided on his admission that he was “taking the piss” out of people with stammers. That he had the Zelo Street post quoted at him would have gone down like a cup of cold sick.
And the odious flannelled fool Henry Cole pretended that BBC Political Editor Nick Robinson had excused his yah-boo hectoring, by – just like Shipman – asserting that Balls had made his stammer an excuse. If he spins much more, Cole will only dig himself in deeper. This pantheon of dissembly, all desperately trying to make out that what they’ve done is someone else’s fault, is remarkable to behold.
But they all know they were wrong, and simply haven’t got the spine to admit it.