One can almost feel the vibrations of Peter Oborne sobbing into his keyboard as tries lovingly in the Telegraph to defend his beloved political idol from criticism.
Oborne postulates that most people believed social media, in various forms, would be a very good thing for political debate and that it would make public life more open and democratic. He declares that while there is some evidence that this is the case, there is also a great deal of evidence that the reverse is also true, going on to say:
Take the example of Twitter. Certainly it is a way of getting information into the public domain very quickly. But there is no room at all, within the constraints of just 140 characters, to make complex or thoughtful arguments.
Reading Oborne’s piece it’s evident that some people still struggle to make complex or thoughtful arguments even when afforded 1,213 words in a national broadsheet. But anyway, I digress.
The sum of Oborne’s delicate rant about Lord Ashcroft is this commandment:
Thou shalt hide, ignore or at the very least play down any information or story that in any way demonstrates David Cameron is not as wise/popular/capable/hunky* as Oborne imagines him to be and wants everyone to believe him to be; any reference to any story that embarrasses the Conservatives when they behave badly; any focus on the strategist whose only concern is electoral victory irrespective of what it means for the British people.
There is a certain desperation as political ‘pundit’ Oborne is calling for any dissent or criticism of Cameron to be eradicated. It is unhealthy and dangerous to demand that a person should be held as beyond scrutiny and criticism, and that people should self censor facts about that individual and his performance in case it undermines the exalted position Oborne feels he should be afforded.
What we are seeing is Oborne tilting to the cult of personality, irrespective of Cameron’s ability or performance. Oborne has finally gone over the edge and if any proof were needed that he cannot be relied upon to provide objective comment, this is it. It is certainly impossible to miss the welling-up of cult-like adoration that Oborne feels for Cameron as he rounds off his piece thus:
So here is a word of well-meant advice for Lord Ashcroft: it’s time to quit the Tory party. You are no longer happy in it, and it has never felt entirely comfortable with you. The time when rich men, especially those with a record of (legally) avoiding British tax, could buy a political party has gone. If you want to make persistent, childish and personal criticisms of a Conservative prime minister, it is much better that they should be made from the perspective of a private citizen.
And here is a word of advice for the Prime Minister. If Lord Ashcroft carries on using this treacherous and disloyal language, stop pretending not to notice. Strip him of the Conservative whip, kick him out of the party, and set an example.
This is what passes for political reporting these days. This is how Oborne thinks he is serving his readership. My God, how far the fourth estate has fallen.