McBride the snide and the politics of smear

“The emails were ‘inappropriate and juvenile’, while the sending of them is among ‘such actions (that) have no place in public life’. So Gordon Brown grovels, like a wounded Cyclops, goaded out of his No 10 cave by those brave Argonauts, the Tories. Meanwhile, the media is falling over itself to huff and puff – yet I don’t think I’ve ever heard so many commentators and politicians being so surprised by so predictable a happening.

“I don’t believe anyone who takes any interest in British politics can have been remotely shocked by the antics of Damian McBride and Derek ‘Dolly’ Draper – the latter may now be a qualified psychotherapist, but clearly this transference was only ever psyche-deep; for underneath his conscious pose as a principled pundit, there lurk the instincts of an immature – yes, the PM had it right – anorak.

“McBride is another of the same genus: the obsessively politicking nerd, willing to go to any lengths in order to advance his party, much as a rougher lad will crack the opposing football team’s supporters’ heads, in the erroneous belief that this adds lustre to his own side. I first saw these types smearing their opponents, rigging ballots and briefing journalists, when their candidate was up for election as blackboard monitor at primary school. There’s something about politics – and elections in particular – that seem to attract them the way excrement does flies.”

To read the rest of Will Self’s First Post column, go here.