Not In My Name
Like Gordon Brown, I am partially sighted. Like Gordon Brown, my handwriting is appalling and often indecipherable even to me. Unlike Gordon Brown, I would simply never consider hand writing professional correspondence of any kind. Period.
And so it was with considerable surprise that I emerged blinking into the pale winter light yesterday to discover ‘Lettergate’ romping all over the news agenda.
Unlike many other people, my surprise stems not from the fact that this has become a controversy but from the fact that anyone sane could step up to defend Gordon Brown for what I believe to be an inexcusable insult to the grieving mother of a fallen soldier.
I can think of no piece of correspondence that one should take more seriously than a letter of condolence, and that goes in spades if you happen to be the Prime Minister of the government who sent the deceased to fight and die. And it goes in the kind of spades one finds attached to the front of a JCB if your government is widely regarded as being further culpable for that death due to an inability to properly equip your combat troops.
So I was astonished to discover that our prime minister had sent such a letter that was practically illegible and appeared to contain 25 spelling errors, including the family name of the deceased soldier.
What happened next, of course, was not a surprise at all. What happened next was the PC by proxy brigade crawled out of their foetid holes and began a mass whine, the gist of which was that we should let him off because he has a disability. That mocking him for this was picking on him, bullying him for his disability. Bullshit.
A Downing Street spokesmen : “The suggestion that he would have or does write these letters in a way that is anything other than with the dignity of the office he holds is completely inappropriate.”
A typically vexing piece of Newspeak, that. Let’s imagine for a moment that I don’t give a flying simian sex act for what some Borg drone thinks is ‘appropriate’, and unpick the tastier bits.
What does it suggest about the ‘dignity’ of the office of the Prime Minister that its holder and his small army of staff would allow such a missive to hit the mailbag without anyone having checked it for errors or legibility ? That no one, at any point, applied even the most basic standard of proofreading that an average piece of business correspondence would be subject to ?
What does it suggest about the ‘dignity’ of the office that its holder would believe that a letter which looks like it was written by a two year old ADHD sufferer is in any way an acceptable way to pass on the condolences of that office ?
The same spokesman points out that Brown spends “a great deal of time” writing these letters. Maybe so. But it doesn’t come across that way. It certainly didn’t to Jacqui Janes who called the letter a
“hastily scrawled insult”
Oh, The Poor Dear
But we should forgive him, right ? Because he’s got a disability innit ? It’s against his human rights or something. Fuck off. Gordon knows his writing is practically illegible, everyone in his office knows it. No one even bothered to proof read it. You can’t hide that behind a shield of PC outrage.
Every single piece of written correspondence I ever send – aside from greetings cards and post cards – is word processed, spell checked, and proof read to within an inch of its life to prevent me from sending out stuff that makes me look like a spaz. If I were to hand write something important, I would give it to a sighted person to make sure they could read it. Then I would probably reconsider and type it.
“Ah, but” say the apologists, “then you’d be complaining that it wasn’t personal, that Gordon was just mass producing these letters”.
“Fuck off, apologists” I would reply, pointing out that were someone to attempt to make political capital out of such an accusation, it would be exceedingly easily refuted by noting that because Gordon knows his writing is difficult to read, and because he knows that such letters are so very important, and because he takes them so seriously he has taken the time to make sure that his heartfelt words are legible. That each letter is unique to some extent is, of course, easily verifiable by collecting a few together and comparing them. Easy peasy, see ?
Why Is This Even News ?
“Well, look ” continue the apologists, “all that may be true, but hey, it was one letter, surely there are more important things to worry about”, this being the second plank of their now tiresomely familiar “lets just move on” strategy.
But let’s not move on, let’s dwell a while and continue to pick the scab. This is news, and important news. It is important because of what it says about the office of the Prime Minister. Would that it were not so, but in our particular political structure, this is the most important office in the land. It is the nexus of our national decision making process.
Surely then, we should scrutinise the holder. This incident, like so many others, demonstrates that the holder is a man utterly incapable of admitting his own failings, to the extent that he even denies having made the spelling mistakes. A man so arrogant that despite knowing his writing is practically unreadable does not arrange for his correspondence to be proof read. A man so bad at political management that he hasn’t been able to hire anyone who can (or who dares to) back stop him.
Collectively, the Downing Street team have demonstrated a level of political awareness more appropriate to a solipsist in a coma. This was predictable, preventable, and should have been easily managed when it blew up in Brown’s face.
And as a final insult, this is a man, and a team, who having placed themselves in a position of having such an appalling lack of judgement exposed, rather than simply fess up and apologise for the whole thing unreservedly, are so incapable of admitting their culpability that they are – quietly and subtly – about to play the disability card.
And that is the card that you save for the very last hand.
Gordon Is A Moron
None of this, make no mistake, has come about because Gordon has a disability. This has come about because Gordon is massive twat. All the PC by proxy idiots who were out in force yesterday saying “oh go on, leave him alone, he can’t help it” are aiding and abetting him in remaining a massive twat.
Sending a letter to a grieving mother and spelling her son’s name wrong is simply indefensible. Insisting that it is excused by a disability is insulting to those of us who share that disability and recognise this as nothing more than an egregious error of judgement.