Paul Calandra just cried on the floor of the House of Commons – in the process, I hasten to add, of apologizing for his disgraceful performance on Tuesday. A few comments on this ridiculous series of events:
-Calandra wouldn’t have given that Tuesday performance unless instructed to in the first place. Whether these instructions came directly from the PMO or from the Tory whips or from the government House Leader is irrelevant. The point is, a member of the governing party who is not actually a member of the government (Parliamentary Secretaries aren’t technically in cabinet) was ordered to do something transparently stupid, and he obeyed.
-Similarly, I don’t think he would have given a tearful apology unless instructed to do so following the backlash since Tuesday. Conclusion? The Supreme Soviet of the Conservative Party is once again callously instrumentalizing its own MPs for partisan purposes.
-It’s true that Paul Calandra is an adult capable of making his own decisions. But it’s still very hard not to feel sorry for him. MPs, particularly government MPs, are subject to enormous pressures. Had Calandra refused to comply, he might have found himself excluded from a government announcement in his riding or lacking party financial support at the next election.
If you ask me, a governing party which treats its own MPs in this way is probably unfit to govern.
And, by the way, nothing in this disgraceful series of events has involved the Prime Minister informing Parliament about a possible military engagement in the Middle East. In that sense, Calandragate has succeeded in its original purpose: obfuscation.