Yesterday, Tory Party chairman Brandon “Barrow Boy” Lewis made yet another attempt to rebrand the Nasty Party as a slightly nicer party, by launching a Respect Pledge. This much trailed gesture is supposed to allow The Blue Team to claim the upper hand in the constant media war with Labour and other parties. Sadly, though, it has instead already become the 21st Century equivalent of the Norwegian Blue. Because it’s a stiff.
Awright Missus, lavverly bancher pledges, cheap at twice the price
Yes, bereft of life it rests in peace, and should by now be pushing up the daisies. But instead of pulling down the curtain and going to join the choir invisibule, Lewis is flogging his pledge for all he is worth, even though it wouldn’t “Voom” if he put four million volts through it. But let’s at least give him a hearing.
Basically, at grass roots constituency level, it's like this
“Today I launched the @Conservatives #RespectPledge ahead of this year’s local elections. Democracy has always been robust and oppositional but a line is crossed when this becomes abuse and intimidation” he announced. When it was suggested to him that Labour should follow suit, he confirmed “Absolutely & says so much about them that they seem unwilling to do so”. But this did not give him the moral high ground.
Take the idea “Openness - Holders of public office should act and take decisions in an open and transparent manner. Information should not be withheld from the public unless there are clear and lawful reasons for so doing”. Fine. So let’s see Matt Hancock explain everything behind his decision to suppress Leveson 2. Or maybe not.
Ey up, here’s another one: “Honesty - holders of public office should be truthful”. So what’s Iain Duncan Cough still doing in the Tory Party? Or, indeed, Bozza, who claims to be the Foreign Secretary? Or Steve Baker? Or Michael “Oiky” Gove?
Can it get worse? As if you need to ask. Try “actively promote and robustly support the principles and be willing to challenge poor behaviour wherever it occurs”. So what’s Bob “I want to talk to the totty” Stewart still doing in the Tory ranks, then?
How about “treat others in a professional and straightforward manner”? That’s yer Defence Secretary, Gavin “Stupid Boy” Williamson, out on his ear, and no mistake.
Ooh, here’s one: “Not use their position to bully, abuse, victimise, harass or unlawfully discriminate against others”. Fine. Let’s see that report on the Tory bullying scandal. And the resignation from the party of Grant “Spiv” Shapps (among others).
And it gets even worse: Lewis’ pledge specifically states “We pledge … to refrain from making abusive or offensive attacks on other candidates in written literature, or social media or verbally”. It also talks about campaigning “on social media in a respectful manner”. Hello Ben Bradley, forced to apologise for smearing Jeremy Corbyn. Hello Nadine Dorries, who called a former leader of her own party a “traitor”.
Brandon Lewis is standing in an awfully draughty glasshouse. And his Norwegian Blue pledge may have a beautiful plumage, but, as the man said, that don’t enter into it. The Tories have no room to get all righteous about behavioural standards. They’ve been dealing off the bottom of the deck for decades. No way are they going to stop now.