Top Dog in the Dog House

Posted on: 18th May 2011

Originally posted April 15th 2009

So, it’s a Portuguese water dog called Bo. One of the most challenging political decisions for the President of the US.

After a long period of indecisiveness President Obama has settled on the already famous black and white pooch. To his relief, the children are delighted. So were the news hounds who reported the announcement.

Meanwhile, in the playground of Westminster politics, the Prime Minister has found himself in the dog house again. Hounded by the press, it’s been discovered that one of his semi-house trained lapdogs has made a bit of a dog’s breakfast of his orders to ‘serve his master faithfully’.

There is something astonishing about the ‘smeary-email gate’ story which dragged Number 10 into the mire this week.

The dogs of war who snarl at and hound each other in the dog fight world of UK politics have always been privately baying for each others’ blood; shaping the effigies of their political opponents, wishing ill on everything they do and hatching plans to secure their downfall.

There is, of course, the embarrassment and guilt confirming anger of those who have been caught at it. But, equally, there’s the butter-would-not-melt-in-mouth feigned innocence and synthetic distress of those politicians who have been the subject of the smears. We only have to think back to the ‘dog whistle’ tactics of the past and the ‘devil-eyes’ posters employed by those on the other side to recognise that politics is a dirty game from whichever side of the battlefield you see it.

Obedience lessons from the latest chapter is that attack dogs need to be muzzled and kept on a short leash. If they don’t come to heel when ordered the master will need more than just a pooper scooper to clean up the mess!