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Is this the worst “apology” of all time?

Posted on January 16, 2012 by

We’re all used to the modern “apology”. You know, the one where someone does something idiotic and then says “I’m sorry if anyone was offended”, rather than “I’m sorry for the idiotic thing I did”, cunningly turning what’s ostensibly an apology into the opposite – an attack on the reader/viewer for being so pig-thick as to have plainly or wilfully misunderstood the actually-perfectly-reasonable thing the offender said or did, and which they’ve been forced into unwillingly pretending to regret.

Labour troll-in-chief Tom Harris MP, however, may have taken this artform to a new high. He’s lasted less than a month in his new job as the party’s official “Twitter czar” before having to quit after posting a video on YouTube which portrayed Alex Salmond as Hitler (or more precisely, the other way round), and reacted with the sour bad grace anyone who’s had interactions with Harris online would have come to expect.

“The video I posted has been a well worn joke used to parody a range of public figures. However, context is everything and in the context of Johann [Lamont]’s and my desire to improve the level of political debate on social media and the context of Joan McAlpine’s much more serious statements about all political opponents of the SNP being anti-Scottish, my actions have been an unhelpful distraction for which I apologise.”

Did you get that? Tom is apologising, not for likening the democratically-elected First Minister of Scotland to a fascist dictator responsible for the murder of millions of innocent civilians, but for causing an “unhelpful distraction”, ie for damaging his OWN party with his buffoonish antics. Furthermore, he’s using this “apology” to actually repeat the attack, by shamefully continuing to misrepresent the recent comments by SNP MSP Joan McAlpine which were the subject of the spoof clip.

Now let’s be clear. The only thing offensive about the video in itself is what a tired, lame old joke it was – “Downfall” spoofs were already old hat in 2009, to the extent that even the fusty old Telegraph was making that point.

(On a personal level, while this site just about sees the humour value in the first one or two, all the literally hundreds of feeble imitators which followed it have achieved is to distastefully cheapen one of the best and most powerful films of this century.)

But Tom Harris has spent most of the last six months piously crying about nasty, bullying “cybernats” on the internet, deliberately blowing up the tiniest of slights – or even completely inventing them – so that he can manufacture fake offence at the supposed poisonous bigotry of the SNP.

(Tom nearly always blames “the SNP” explicitly for the opinions of random internet users, despite usually having no evidence that any of the people in question are members or even supporters of the party, far less controlled or directed by it.)

The particularly startling thing about this case, though, was that just minutes before posting his Hitler movie, Tom had huffily complained on Twitter about a user who’d mentioned the Vichy government in WW2 France (or as Tom chose to put it, “Nazi collaborators”, although the person involved hadn’t mentioned the Nazis at all), as evidence of how awful “CyberNats” were.

That Harris then thought there was nothing odd, hypocritical or contradictory about creating and promoting a video in which Alex Salmond was directly and deliberately portrayed as the Nazi leader (and which, at the time of our writing this piece, Harris has not deleted from YouTube) reveals much about Labour’s inbred policy of double standards which has served the party so well of late.

This blog picked him up on it immediately (as you’ll see in the pic above), and tweeted our own thoughts on the subject, without claiming to be offended but noting the laughable hypocrisy. To be honest we sort of wish we hadn’t now, because it started the chain of events which led to Harris’ departure as Labour’s new-media guru, and as long as he was actively using Twitter in such a puerile manner, support for Scottish independence grew with every passing day. Sorry about that, fellow nationalists. And that’s an apology more sincere than anything you’ll ever get out of Tom Harris MP.

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3 to “Is this the worst “apology” of all time?”

  1. Ben

    I like to call this sort of thing a fauxpology.

  2. erchie

    seen this?
    (until it’s taken down)

    Scottish Labour’s Cathy Jamieson has accused the Tories of pursuing an anti-Scottish agenda and said they can’t be trusted with the nation’s finances after a survey found that nearly three quarters of Conservative MPs want to cut Scotland’s budget.

    According to a survey conducted by the IPPR, which is reported in today’s Telegraph, 74 per cent of Conservatives said the current system for distributing money around the UK is unfair on England.

    Cathy Jamieson said:

    “The Tories’ mask has slipped. They have an anti-Scottish agenda and they simply can’t be trusted to treat Scotland fairly. A Conservative Government would turn back the clock to the 1980s and be a disaster for Scotland.

    “This is also a challenge to Alex Salmond who has already said that if there is a hung parliament he is prepared to do deals with the Tories. His message to the voters might as well be vote SNP and get Tory.”

    Anti-scottish??? Surely a Labour person would never use such a term

  3. RevStu

    Yeah, someone tweeted it earlier and I RTed it. Picture saved for posterity 😀

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