The political week: The offensive exploitation of Lee Rigby’s death

MINOR right-wing party Britain First is seeking to capitalise on the murder of a British soldier in the forthcoming European elections by adding the slogan ‘Remember Lee Rigby’ on voting slips. Incredibly, this crass move was passed by the Electoral Commission who have since had to apologise to Rigby’s family for the “deep offence and distress” it has caused. An investigation by the Commission was told by an executive involved in the decision that he “remembered thinking that it was … not sufficient to cause offence”. Hmm. After Rigby’s killers were brought to justice last December his family released a statement saying: “We would like to emphasise that Lee would not want people to use his name as an excuse to carry out attacks against others.” As anyone with internet access would be able to discover in about two seconds flat.

SO, David Cameron says he won’t resign if the Scots vote for independence later this year, on the basis that if he hadn’t granted them a referendum it would’ve sparked a constitutional crisis after the SNP won a majority in the Scottish parliament. But what of the constitutional crisis within his own party given that the Tories’ official title is, of course, the Conservative and Unionist Party? With independence spelling the disbandment of the union, surely a reconfiguration of the Tories is what disillusioned unionists should be able to expect, at the very least.

IT’S not only Unionists that Cameron risks antagonising. Across the Irish Sea, Republicans are likely to be unimpressed with his calls for Libya to pay compensation to IRA victims, on account of explosives having been supplied by Colonel Gaddafi’s administration in Tripoli, when there’s no sign of Whitehall authorising payouts to the families of victims of collusion between the Army’s Force Research Unit and Loyalist paramilitaries. This confused political situation is compounded by the fact that the deputy First Minister of Northern is a known former IRA commander yet gets an audience with the Queen, whilst Sinn Fein president Gerry Adams is arrested for questioning with a view to a prosecution over membership of the IRA, despite the Good Friday Agreement having previously granted pardons and immunity to hundreds of convicted and suspected killers. The current lack of clear leadership can only bode ill for Ulster.

NIGEL Farage recently ruled himself out of the upcoming Newark by-election on the justification that, “I have no real connections with Newark. I would look like an opportunist.” An admirable stance you might think, but one that will no doubt come as a surprise to voters in Oldham and Saddleworth. A legal challenge in their constituency followed the result at the last General Election and resulted in a by-election in 2011. UKIP were represented by Paul Nuttall, native of Bootle, Merseyside, where he’d previously stood for election to Parliament the previous year. No opportunism there then.

EDUCATION Secretary Michael Gove has written to all schools in England asking them to be aware of abuse of children. The Guardian reports that this includes “advice on different types of abuse and neglect, including child sexual exploitation [and] female genital mutilation”. Hmm, are they quite sure this one has been thought through properly? How long until the first defence in court for the former runs, “I was only checking for signs of mutilation”?

MAY 7: The Telegraph reports: “Prime Minister tells Conservative MPs the Government needs to emphasise the achievements of its policies aimed at women.” Apparently there are a lot more females on the boards of FTSE 100 companies than under Labour. The following morning the Independent was leading with: “The forgotten army of over-50s women, whose unemployment has jumped by 45% since 2010.” Oh dear, things not looking quite as good on the feminism front. But by that afternoon the BBC was reporting: “Women soldiers could soon be allowed to serve in front line combat roles in the Army after a review due to take place in 2018 was brought forward.” Well, that’s certainly one way of solving the over-50s job crisis. Come on sisters, more gratitude please!


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Written by woodstein woodstein

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