Political

Chuka Umunna: Wikipedia editing is the least of it

Whether or not it was Chuka Umunna himself who edited Wikipedia to add in a comparison between himself and Barack Obama (the evidence looks like it was and his denial is hardly unequivocal), there are two other reasons he doesn’t impress me.

One was his catastrophic failure of judgement over a nasty Labour smear campaign against a Liberal Democrat. Some of his Labour colleagues took the right and brave decision to tell the truth to the police, helping secure the conviction of Miranda Grell. Umunna? He so staunchly defendedย Grell that he even lashed out at a Lib Dem blogger for simply factually reporting the arrest as “base politics of the worst kind”. No, the base politics of the worst kind were Grell’s disgusting smearing ofย her Liberal Democrat opponent as a paedophile and someone with real leadership ability, and not just a Wikipedia entry talking about it, would have behaved very differently.

The other reason is utterly trivial by comparison, though it sticks in my mind as it amuses me for it involved his press officer being scared of Umunna appearing in an interview alongside… er, me.

There he, a Tory MP (Matthew Hancock) and I were waiting to appear on the BBC News Channel, me having been told we would appear in a panel format together and his press officer urgently arguing with BBC staff to ensure that instead Umunna got to appear on his own. Perhaps he was worried I’d floor him in a panel format with an interesting fact about a paperclip…? Somehow I think a real Obama would not be worried about having to appear alongside me. (Baffled, quite likely. But then so would I be. Even if Obama did once act as my warm up man.)

The ironic footnote to that interview was that having secured a solo spot, he then proceeded to mess up with a series of u-turns and u-turns to the u-turns over the 50p tax rate. Even then, though, it wasn’t just a case of him saying one thing and then deciding he should have said something a bit different (and verbal slip-ups do happen to everyone, to be fair), but rather he said one thing and then tried to deny point blank that he had said it at all, despite it having been broadcast on TV and the recording being there for everyone to see. Again, not exactly in the class of an Obama.

 

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