UPDATE: 00:53 3 April 2010/10:15: This morning the Observer are breaking a story in which the Shadow Home Secretary Chris Grayling indicates to a think tank that he supports the action of "Bed and Breakfast" owners who turn gay couples away at the gate. Though he draws the line at "Hotels", however defined, who must play fair.
Chris Grayling - like a couple or three other Tory front benchers - makes gaffes most weeks. While he started out with a reputation for a safe pair of hands and even for a kind of liberal Cuddly Nu Tory reasonableness, he's become Tebbit Lite. Norman Tebbit without the intellect, instincts or information.
About a week ago he completely misunderstood a breaking story in which the Advertising Standards Agency suggested that an utterly true advertisement about community police officers - as opposed to Detectives and Specialists - spending 80% of their time in the community might lead some viewers to believe this was ALL the police. It was not.
Never mind eh? Grayling rashed, I mean rushed, into every media orifice, and shot a load of nonsense into every microphone and camera he could find. In essence he did not quite understand the story. And, on the hoof, he made up some twaddle about the uncontested community police statistics.
To be fair there wasn't much of a story in Detectives or mounted police or desk sergeants or TAG or Fraud Squad spending more than 20% of their time detecting, or training police horses or themselves, or staffing desks, or rooting through company accounts or whatever.
Grayling got the wrong end of the stick. And he simply made up some "facts" to assert to support his knee jerk.
Yesterday's discovery of his throwback attitudes to gay men and lesbians, who could arrive at a Bed and Breakfast at 9pm and be turned away willy nilly, with the Shadow Home Secretary's blessing, were especially poignant for Tory watchers.
They coincided with a lot of jeering from Eric Pickles and others about a competition-winning Labour Party poster. Designed by an amateur in a crowd-sourcing exercise. Suggesting, er, that Tories had throwback attitudes redolent of the popular TV series Ashes to Ashes, set in the 80s, and its thoroughly politically incorrect anti-hero Gene Hunt.
Later the same day we learned with ahem great sadness of the brutal killing of Eugene Terrebanche the founder of South Africa's racist AWB.
This reminded many people of how Margaret Thatcher and other leading conservatives had propped up the vile apartheid system, for which Cameron has now apologized splitting his party, how young Conservatives specifically the Federation of Conservative Students had created "Hang Mandela" posters and tee-shirts, and how the generation of Cameron, Osborne, Dale, Staines, Grayling, Johnson and so on had defied a National Union of Students campaign and opened bank accounts with a boycotted bank.
Yes, yes, yes. Gene Hunt and Ashes to Ashes are a popular entertainment. Yes, yes, yes. We gasp at the right-offness of it all, the brutality, the venality, the whisky shots, the Audi Quattro, the machismo. But No, No, No. We don't want a return to these values. We don't want a Prime Minister who is "flattered" to be compared with a throwback gangster-cop. And we don't want homophobia and racism back to 80s levels.
Here is the original February post. Pointing out. A bit Gonzo stylee. That Chris Grayling was no hero of the expenses scandal and has been a serial gaffster.
Conservative Home's Tory Diary does not have the man in its masthead. IDS being the spare non-Minister/Officer. Surely but surely Grayling has now done enough to be taken out of one of the top three shadow cabinet jobs?
It's about time too. Finally one of the dirtiest jostlers in the game and least accurate passers of the balls on the benches of the "Rich Man's Plaything" that is Conservative Home FC [aka "The Toffee Noses" or "The Blew Its"] would appear to headed for the early bath.
"This over-rated "spoiling" forward has back passed and headed and even actually shot the ball into the back of our own net so many times," confides a lad from the boot room, "and being so very dozey and muddled the daft lad's the last to know."
One of our Tory Shadows is Missing!
Taking a look at the masthead for the Tory Diary section of the team's head coach and majority shareholder Michael "Off Shore Billionaire" Ashcroft financed Conservative Home FC website - he also has the supporters' magazine Total Politics and the Politics Home franchise in his armoury - LOL are seriously worried for the future career of one of Ashcroft's fellow Old Wycombiensians.
The First XI pictured includes "Scrap Iron" Lady Maggie Thatcher at Centre Forward and Boris "Bonkers" Johnson as her Left centre back. And Dave "Raffles, the Gentleman Bungler" Cameron of course is there on her far right wing. George "GOOey" Osborne, "Just" William Hague too, despite ten years of broken promises on the chief coach/manager/owner's tax business. They're shadows to two of the three great offices of state after all. The Five Galacticos!
And then there are the journeymen players: Liam "Stinketh at Both Ends" Fox, Eric "The Simple Pieman" Pickles, "Initial Man" IDS, Kenneth "Hush My Puppies" Clarke. And a couple of grrls naturally. This is the modern game. No blacks, no Irish, but we have females. Caroline "Nannie" Spelman, and Theresa "Crocodile Shoes" May.
Oh dear. One of their top players seems to be missing. Off on a free transfer to Portsmouth perhaps? Did Chris "On My Head" Grayling miss the photo call? Or is the writing on the blog wall for his gaffe-prone career in the First Eleven?
Chris "On My Head" Grayling gaffes have included, on a sample basis, the following fouls, own goals and sendings off:
former Shadow Home Secretary claimed that Moss Side was just like Baltimore, as featured in The Wire, even though it would take Moss Side about three or more years to match one week of Baltimore fatal shootings. Clearly this riled MEN hack Chris Osuh who presumably ironically called him a "Top Tory". Unaccountably "Over the Moon" Chris "On My Head" Grayling used his former BBC employer's National Bullshitting Helpline to stick to his guns, geddit?: "I didn't say Moss Side equals Baltimore. What I said is that we have in Moss Side symptoms of a gang conflict in this country which I find profoundly disturbing". In Moss Side population 11,000 there were actually no, zero, zilch killings in the previous year. Baltimore, population 600,000 had 191, count 'em.
On 7 October 2009 he was asked by the BBC about a Conservative Party plan to offer General Sir Richard Dannatt an advisory role. He, thinking it was a Labour appointment, said he hoped it was not a "political gimmick", and said "We've seen too many appointments in this government of external people where it's all been about Gordon Brown's PR.". When he realized he had misheard the question, and that it was a possible appointment of his own party, he told the BBC's National Bullshitting Helpline he was "really delighted" with the idea, adding "It's a bit embarrassing really because I would have liked to give General Dannatt a more enthusiastic welcome. [Grayling Laughs Off Dannatt Gaffe]
Naturally CH and CCHQ and Ashcroft will all claim independent thought. Though it was noticeable that cockahoop Tories WRONGLY announcing a 12-point lead bounce (The Sun/YouGov) after PrattGate - it was actually a slump to 6-points - included Tim Montgomerie of CH and Eric Pickles and others of CCHQ virtually simultaneously. Ashcroft may have been represented by Iain Dale? Sadly he's blocked LOL from his twitter feed - and he's not the only one! - but we'd like to think so.
The Mirror's Bob Roberts predicted this sacking immediately after Bogus Tory Stats Gate but it was none other than Dr Rupa Huq at LabourList who called Cameron a cowardly custard for not offing the chump six months ago. Now, finally, fellow Manchester United supporter Tim Montgomerie of the Conservative Home FC terrace choir has taken the great sword of photoshop to the Graylian Knot.
Here it is, again. Grayling places the ball on the penalty spot! Walks back. Turns purposefully. A jinking run up. Points left. Literally points left. Looks left. Winks. The goalie sits down. Our hero pauses. Ambles in. Open goal. And FAAAAAIIIIIILLLLLL! Sends the crime balls soaring over the bar.