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Botch job of a reshuffle

NEWLY appointed Tory Party deputy chairman James Cleverly suggested yesterday that HQ political director Iain Carter, who tweeted the wrong name as party chairman, had been “a little bit overexcited.”

Cleverly, who started his new job yesterday, must have wondered what he has let himself in for, working with people who can’t tell the difference between Brandon Lewis and Chris Grayling.

Lewis was brought in to replace former coal miner Patrick McLoughlin, who betrayed his National Union of Mineworkers comrades by scabbing the 1984-85 national strike and is blamed by Tory colleagues for the party’s embarrassing setbacks in last year’s general election.

McLoughlin carries the can for Tory failure to mobilise young voters to back Theresa May and to challenge Labour’s internet superiority during the election campaign.

So what a good start the new team made on Twitter yesterday — announcing the wrong chairman and then getting the name right but misspelling his ministerial job before coming through with flying colours.

Cleverly’s explanation of Carter’s misidentification — “getting a little bit overexcited because reshuffle day is obviously a big and exciting day” — strains credulity somewhat.

Political director isn’t an office junior. Did Carter prefer Grayling? Was he expecting Grayling to get the job? Was there an argument in Tory HQ?

Or is the truth more prosaic — that, having set new levels of incompetence at last year’s Tory conference when security failed to prevent a prankster approaching May to hand her a spoof P45 and the set began to self-destruct, it’s difficult for the Tories to take on a new way of working?

Just as difficult will be the future for NHS staff and patients who see Jeremy Hunt rewarded for screwing up our health service by being given responsibilities for social care as well.

Hunt has presided over a winter crisis, having bullied NHS staff, imposed contracts and driven through cuts in spending.

It’s not more responsibility he needs. It’s the sack, along with the rest of this chaotic government.

McElduff’s disgrace

DOES Sinn Fein believe that the disgust and outrage sparked by Barry McElduff’s celebration of the sectarian slaughter of 10 Protestant workers in the 1976 Kingsmill massacre will disperse in three months?

Will the party welcome him back into activity, knowing that he has lied in proclaiming ignorance that wearing a Kingsmill loaf of bread on his head on the 42nd anniversary of the killings would be seen clearly for what it was?

To pretend that acting in this way on the anniversary wasn’t designed to celebrate the atrocity is unbelievable.

To follow that up with an “apology” and an offer to meet lone survivor Alan Black, who lived despite suffering 18 bullet wounds, adds insult to injury.

When the IRA carried out the murders, stopping a vehicle carrying textile workers, separating them by religion and opening fire on the 11 Protestants, it claimed responsibility in the name of the South Armagh Republican Action Force in retaliation for loyalist killings of Catholic families.

IRA citation of a non-existent group was based on the fact that the crime contradicted republican insistence that their dispute was with the British state rather than with Northern Irish Protestants.

McElduff’s grotesque pantomime pours scorn on that position and mocks the suffering of all victims of Troubles and their surviving family and friends.

Sinn Fein chairman Declan Kearney called McElduff’s video “inexcusable and indefensible.” The same applies to his party leadership’s failure to act decisively.

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