After the Government at Holyrood backed down over Highers results, and allowed teacher estimated grades to stand instead, the Scottish Daily Record (sister paper to the Daily Mirror south of the border) had lambasted Nicola Sturgeon, telling readers of “Major Climbdown Over SQA shambles”. The Scots
Tories decided to join in the fun.
So it was that they Tweeted out the front page with the snipe “Nicola Sturgeon presided over one of the biggest scandals in the history of devolution, which shattered the life chances of thousands of Scottish pupils. Her belated apology is not good enough for the teachers, parents and pupils who were *affected* by this fiasco”.
Her “belated apology” took no more than 24 hours, which may have been long enough for the Scots Tories to make hay, but it looked significantly more statesmanlike as the week wore on, English A-Level results came out to the accompaniment of a rather greater outcry, alleged Prime Minister Alexander Boris de Pfeffel Johnson dug his heels in, Gavin “stupid boy” Williamson did likewise, and the pressure kept on building.
Even worse for Cleverly was that he had Retweeted the Scots Tories. Worse still was that, as the days wore on, the Retweet remained in place. By the time he deleted it, it was too late, the internet had not forgotten, and the critics were circling.
Labour MP Clive Lewis was one of those critics, quoting the now-deleted Retweet and observing “Meanwhile this tweet aged like a rancid pork-chop”. Omar Baggili was clearly enjoying himself just a little too obviously: “Jimmy Jam Jams, can you give us a clue as to why you deleted this tweet?” And one minute later, James Foster asked simply “Why delete it [James Cleverly]?” Or, more like, why not delete it rather earlier?
That’s the problem with momentary political opportunism - one Government’s mis-step can soon become another Government’s total fiasco. And James Cleverly is part of the dubiously talented convocation very much in charge of the latter.
If only the Tories would stick to Government and leave the sniping to others. Because right now, they’re useless at the latter, and absent from the former. I’ll just leave that one there.
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