Alex Hilton (of Recess Monkey and LabourHome) wrote an article on CommentIsFree yesterday in which he tried to defend the indefensible - the effect? Within hours his Labour MP mates Sion Simon and Tom Watson had apologised and withdrawn their silly little video from YouTube. My comments are in bold...
"Sion Simon may well be nursing a sore head after the reaction to his David Cameron spoof YouTube effort. Yet the glee with which Tory MPs have lined up to criticise him illustrates one of the least attractive qualities in the modern politician, that of faux outrage.
Of which Alex, you are a past master. If you noticed, though, Conservative Central Office said that they were "entirely relaxed" about it. As well they might have been considering the increased traffic to Webcameron.
Various Conservative members of parliament have been spotted on television, radio and quoted in the press referring to Simon's "outrageous" video, which, if it really were outrageous, would be unplayable on television or on newspapers' websites.
Er, as well as a few Labour MPs. And Alex, you're seriously telling me that if two Tory MPs hadn't done this you wouldn't be slagging them off on Recess Monkey? Come come. Too much fauz outrage on your part methinks. Having said that, when asked to comment on it on TV I took the view that it was puerile but couldn't quite see why the media were giving it so much publicity.
As it is, the film is getting far more exposure than its maker would have hoped or guessed.
Yes, agreed. But it also made them both look prats. Fine by me.
The video itself is a David Brent-style piece to camera of a man in a baseball cap, called Dave, who's willing to do anything to get you to believe he's a normal guy. "Just like you" is the recurring theme of the piece - and to get you to believe it, Dave is willing to let you sleep with his wife, take one of his children and let you move into his house.
Yep, great taste there, guys. Rory Bremner without the humour. Apart from the fact that Sion Simon neither looked nor sounded like David Cameron. Apart from that, very accurate. Not.
Not by accident, this is an apt description of Cameron's activity on the web. He's having his team write blogs and make videos, all desperately trying to show that he's a normal guy but all his frantic Webcameronisation only serves to display his superficiality. The fact is that if you "engage" with Cameron via his websites, your comments will be moderated out unless couched in the most sycophantic of tones.
Now Alex, you really shouldn't tell lies. Because you always get found out in the end. You will see many negative comments on his blog. I decided to put your point to CCHQ and a spokesman came back with this. "There is plenty of criticism of David on Webcameron. One wonders if Alex Hilton has actually read any of the comments."
Go to Webcameron now and see if he answers any questions on tax policy for example. I got banned for doing so.
CCHQ's response to this allegation is: "This is 100% incorrect. NOBODY has been banned from Webcameron. (although the instruction 'go to Webcameron now' is something we have no problem with - Labour have been very helpful in boosting our traffic over the last couple of days) There have been plenty of questions about tax and David has stated that he wants to answer questions as time allows - the levels of feedback have been enormous and the team are working on a solution to automate this process and enhance interaction between David and Webcameron members. If people want to criticise the site that's fine - we welcome debate - but the allegations he makes are factually incorrect and totally misleading. This is an article high on personal invective but low on facts."
But the horde of "disgusted of Penge" Tory MPs doesn't seem to realise that silly jokes are what normal people do with each other every day at work, at home and in the pub and the affected outrage is so transparent that it stirs support from none but the most loyal followers. Where was their outrage last week when Francis Maude's business links to pornography were exposed or when Thatcher and Major presided over 3 million unemployed and 2 million children living in poverty?
God you're desperate aren't you? Have The Guardian demanded their £75n quid back yet?
This is the traditional Tory outrage hypocrisy. Poverty and social injustice are like water off a duck's back to them - but they will instantly become swivel-eyed and apoplectic at the hint of a breach of etiquette. As an aside, I should mention Labour MP Stephen Pound's criticisms of Sion Simon on the BBC.
Yes, you should.
Steve's a funny man but the last joke I heard him tell was about Harriet Harman naked and brandishing a whiplash in order to secure votes for the Labour deputy leadership - so he's hardly the locus of parliamentary good taste.
No, but he's a damn sight funnier than you, and he hasn't got his tongue so far up....well...
Sion Simon's web spoof has shown that he's an ordinary bloke with a regular sense of humour who happened to get elected to parliament.
No it hasn't actually. It's shown he's a prat who's made a fool of himself and now admitted it by apologising. perhaps you'd like to do the same.
David Cameron is an Eton toff, 38th or whatever in line to the throne, who is using the web to convince you that he's an ordinary bloke. So which one of them outrages you?
I think Sion Simon and Tom Watson have given you your answer to that one. Tell me, how many conversations did you have with either of them before writing that article? Do you regret it now? I think we should be told."