The Mail leads today with a photostory about a Tory MP from Cannock Chase, who whilst at a Stag party in France was party to chants of “Hitler!! Hitler!! Hitler!!” salutes to the Third Reich and a man dressed in an SS uniform. Now part of me says well if the MP didn’t actually partake in these acts and was merely present but not directly associated with the group then he’s done nothing wrong. He may have been in the toilet at the point these chants were made and so be completely unaware of the actions of his associates.
However in an apology published on the BBC website Aidan Burley says the following: “There was clearly inappropriate behaviour by some of the other guests and I deeply regret that this happened. I am extremely sorry for any offence that will undoubtedly have been caused.”
Now he could have chosen at this juncture to point out that he personally was offended by the actions taken that he felt compelled to leave the party. Which in mind is what one should do when people start saluting to a regime of prejudice and hatred. However he does not, instead he makes no mention of any disagreement with the behaviour of those involved.
By not out right condemning the actions as offensive in his mind he suggests that the only reason he is apologising is not because he feels they are wrong but because he’s been caught out doing something which he finds ok but which many of us find absolutely reprehensible.
According to the mail story the excuse of it being a stag do and a joke has been fronted. However can we really accept such behaviour in the name of drunken high jinx? I mean whats wrong with dressing the Groom in stockings suspenders and a clownish makeup and tying them to a lamppost? Do we really have to lower the taste to, even ironically, cheering one of the most vile ideologies in Europe’s history?
Update: As of Saturday 17th December Aidan Burley has been sacked as Parliamentary Private Secretary, for the Department of Transport.