This morning on BBC Radio 4’s “Today” Andy Burnham was being interviewed on NHS issues. At the end of the piece Sarah Montague asked him if Labour were not due an apology to Nicola Sturgeon and the SNP for the manner in which the party had used the “leaked memo” as a mode of attack. Fundamentally his reply when broken down into its key aspects was:
2. If any apology is due it’s from The Telegraph.
3. We responded in good faith.
4. Anyway, it’s an election campaign.
I was particularly struck by his repeated use of the “it’s an election campaign” line of justification and that exact quote, “we responded in good faith,” is just about as hypocritical as it gets when it is now known that Labour was briefed on the Telegraph piece before it was released.
So by Andy’s logic it is OK to smear someone and continue to do so even when the basis has been wholly discredited; the only apology is ever due by the the originator of a smear and not by those who would wilfully continue to parrot it days after that discrediting as they are not responsible; you can repeat ANYTHING that you hear “in good faith”; all is fair in an election campaign.
So that’s Labour’s election campaign modus operandi firmly established then.
I have to admit that up until this morning’s interview I regarded Andy Turnham as one of the more decent of Labour's leading lights and I told someone exactly that only a couple of days ago. More fool me...
But let’s return to what politicians do in the name of good faith. US President Martin Van Buren declared, “The United States have fulfilled in good faith all their treaty stipulations with the Indian tribes,” so whatever Andy Burnham might consider an apt definition is not a new corruption of civility.