David Cameron was accused of insensitivity today after making a joke about suicide in his keynote address to the Conservative Party conference in Birmingham.Ah, the professionally-aggrieved. Where would we be without them…? Probably a lot better off, frankly.
Mr Cameron departed from his planned script after joking about the prospect of Gordon Brown remaining in power forever, adding: "I won't go on - there are people in balconies up there”.
The quip prompted a loud laugh in the hall but fell flat with a group dedicated to helping those affected by suicide.
Angela Samata, Trustee of Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide, said that Mr Cameron's comment was "very insensitive" and could be “extraordinarily upsetting for people in our situation: people who have been bereaved by people who had perhaps jumped to their deaths".What, all of them? And they’ve all given you permission to speak on their behalf, have they? Or have we just appropriated that right for ourselves, the better to get our name in the paper, hmm?
She said that those bereaved by suicide are "very, very sensitive to comments like that".
"We come up against this kind of thing time and again, it's quite a big issue for us,” Ms Samata said. “For some people it's a well-used turn of phrase, but for someone who could be the next Prime Minister you would expect a certain level of sensitivity."More use of the ‘royal we’ there, I see.
Obviously if you are the publicity-hungry paid mouthpiece for a lobbying organisation, a certain level of sensitivity isn’t required, and so one can get up on one’s hind legs, cloak oneself in the absolute moral authority of your members (without soliciting their opinion, I suspect), and spout off any load of old tosh you feel like spouting.