Populist leaders: Spare a thought for#4

The greatest perk of being a political reactionary (apart from the absence of any obligation to think anything through) must be the lack of any commitment to consistency (it would only slow you down). While I felt guilt at wrongly questioning the integrity of Top of the Pops, some feel no embarrassment at pleading failed asylum seekers’ cases after months of provoking irrational fear of the same.

On Channel 4 News, Tory leadership hopeful David Davis claimed we couldn’t send failed Zimbabwean asylum seekers back because Mugabe was murdering ‘tens of thousands of people’. In fact, Mugabe’s most recently guilty of demolishing the homes of 200,000 people. Davis exaggerates even when he need not and so risks damaging the cause he’s temporarily aligned himself with. He then describes Saudi Arabia, a country with an appalling human rights record, as perfectly safe. That country’s crimes aren’t so well lodged in the public imagination, there’s been no outcry, there’s no bandwagon to climb aboard and so it’s easier to dismiss the contradiction with a lie.

Yet on this issue Blair is little better. He’s received a kicking and opted to play the populist. That means being tough on Zimbabweans, because unlike Davis he’s actually in charge. If he were as inconsistent, he’d set all kinds of precedents and bring down the system. If only the government had a consistent policy on the issue based upon a clearly defined set of principles that it could sell to the country. Then there’d be no need to go down the populist route ever again.
Spare a thought for#3: Jamie Oliver

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