Tom Watson, that bastion of integrity, had to endure embarrassment today after an intern used his Twitter account to make a joke about “twit-rape”. Having apologised on her behalf, he’s insisted that the intern will keep her job, which strikes me as a very harsh punishment indeed.
His apology for a blunderous tweet reminded me of something I’d seen a couple of days ago…
The article Watson links to is quite a funny story about how Boris accidentally skied into a young Italian boy when on holiday. Boris apparently stopped, apologised repeatedly and checked that the lad was ok. The story’s only come to light after the father of the boy wrote to an Italian newspaper, praising Boris’ manners and politeness…
“He kept insisting that it was entirely his fault. He was the perfect English gentleman, very courteous and very polite. He and his family were very affable.
In the end it turned out we were staying in the same hotel and I saw him a few times afterwards and he was very pleasant, smiling and saying hello. He was on his laptop some of the time and all the children were playing but he didn’t ask them to be quiet. I just wish that our politicians in Italy were as pleasant as him and I wish him all the best for the Olympics this summer.”
Anyway, you get where this is going don’t you? The collision occurred on Boris’ Christmas holiday, and has only just come to light. The article makes that quite clear. Boris isn’t on holiday this week. Just yesterday, he presented his 2012/13 GLA budget to the London Assembly, answered a couple of hours of questions on it, and then headed straight to Davos to represent London at the World Economic Forum.
So when Watson claims Boris is on another holiday, you can really only draw one of two conclusions. Either he misread the article, seized on it opportunistically and reported it inaccurately (hugely ironic, if the case, given his perennial pursuit of high standards of news reporting), or he deliberately lied in order to continue his somewhat desperate attempts to portray Boris as lazy (a line of attack that even other Labour MPs have scoffed at, and which can be easily dismissed by the fact that even Sonia Purnell admits Boris is a workaholic). Either way, Watson hasn’t yet apologised for the error or withdrawn the claim, despite its clear inaccuracy being pointed out to him. Time for another apology, Tom?