This is one of the most important questions a politician needs to answer during their stay in Parliament. There is absolutely no doubt that in any political career a politician will, at some point, find themselves caught rabbit-like in the headlights of an oncoming media storm. Do not fool yourself into thinking that ‘it won’t happen to me’ – it will; you’re not that bright. Your prime concern should be to limit damage to your party, ensure that votes are not lost, and also, most obviously, limit damage to your own career. At this point you may be asking why you should blame someone else for your own cock-ups, and let’s face it, I will repeat this warning, you will make your fair share of mistakes and stupid comments – such acts are an integral part of being a politician. Anyhow, if you are asking this question you should resign. There is no place in politics for those who take responsibility for their own actions.
Now, back to the question – Where does blame belong? In the immortal words of the Right Honourable Annie Portner-Storum – It doesn’t matter where the blame goes, just so long as it goes. These are wise words indeed, but the fact remains that you should take some care to ensure that you have a plan that provides some plausible options. If you have no plan, then you are in luck, for there is a tried and tested plan, devised by Sir Roger d’Enwharey, the well known political public relations consultant and spin doctor. Sir Roger is a much-feared operator who has beaten the varied and numerous libel and slander cases brought against him. He devised the Blame Hierarchy (a 7-level hierarchy) that allows the politician to learn from his experience and thereby lessen the number of blubbering and panicking parliamentarians ringing him at all hours of the day and night. You should have this hierarchy on your office wall. If followed it will ensure you have a long and distinguished career. It is particularly important if you have leadership ambitions. The Blame Hierarchy is as follows:
1) Your main opposing political party
The first and most obvious option when the need to pass the blame arises is the opposing political party. As you will undoubtedly realise, politics is not about running the country – that is what the civil service does. No, it is about taking part in petty point-scoring arguments with your colleagues, preferably in another party, but your own if need be. If you are on the front bench, your opposite number will be doing their best to blame you for everything, so feel free to let loose with both-barrels in their general direction. And feel free to dredge up as much ancient history as you feel is necessary.
This is the first option and should be used at all times unless there is no prospect of making any mud stick. If this is the case, then you should look at option 2.
2) The banks, big business, the unions
The second option depends on your political persuasion. If you are on the right of politics you should blame the union movement. They are, after all, a real pain in the neck and cause many of your party donors a lot of headaches with their constant demands for a fair wage and going on strike all of the time. They can easily be made out to be responsible for any number of current woes. Whether it is law and order, the economy, or social issues, they should be well and truly in your sights. You will have a lot of wealthy people who will be all too willing to believe your story and agree that the blame should indeed be laid at the union’s door. The country is clearly only one step away from becoming a communist dictatorship.
If, however, you are in a left-leaning party, then multinational corporations such as banks, phone companies, transport companies, private energy providers, pharmaceutical companies, chemical manufacturers, and oil companies should be targeted. They are obviously out to screw the people with their capitalist approach to business and are borderline psychopaths in the way they look after themselves at everybody else’s expense. The public don’t need much encouragement to believe that any one of these industries is responsible for the current crisis, whatever it may be.
3) A government department
Assuming that the first two options are not viable, then you need a third alternative. This should be a government department. Any department will do, provided that you think you can make the blame stick. And let’s face it, the public service is an easy target and will not be able to defend itself. It cannot be seen to be taking sides in politics, so you can let fly with accusations of incompetence or inefficiency, adherence to process over common sense, administrative wastage, giving you bad advice, and anything else you can think of. Add to this some snide remarks about the easy life of the taxpayer-funded government employee and you will be onto a winner. For more ammunition, read my book – You Can’t Polish a Turd (The Civil Servant’s Manual). All politicians love to put the boot into the public service and you should make sure that you are not the exception.
4) The unemployed, immigrants, minorities
So, assuming that your political opponents are smiling, you haven’t been able to pin the blame on corporations, unions, or the public service, you then need to look at Option 4 – blaming individuals and minorities who are not in a position to defend themselves. While the disabled immediately spring to mind, this is going too far, even for a politician (well, most politicians). No, you should take aim at the unemployed. An example of this is as follows.
These unemployed wasters are a stain on society and are responsible for everything; they sent the country into recession because of all their fraudulent claims for financial assistance and their apathy. Following this you can then include immigrants in your blame strategy, because they are now taking all the jobs that the unemployed could otherwise be put into, aren’t they? And then there are the bleeding heart community groups and non-government organisations. And the damn greenies must be responsible in some way shape or form for the current crisis. As you can see, there are plenty of avenues for blame using this option.
5) One of your own party colleagues
In the unlikely event that you cannot attach blame to minorities, and at this point you should take a long hard look at yourself and your career choice, then Option 5 looms as the next best bet. This is the ultimate ‘it doesn’t matter where the blame goes’ situation; you are in the shit, right up to your nose, and desperate measures are required. Having said all of that, this is also an opportunity, because by now you will have got on the wrong side of any number of your own party and it is one of them that you should target. Make the most of your petty grudges and simmering resentment; line up the appropriate person for a totally unexpected and vicious attack. At first glance, this may appear to be a career-limiting move; however the hollow men of your party will recognise your ruthlessness and leadership potential, albeit with a certain nervousness. They will ensure that all is forgiven a week after your treacherous act, and a short time later you are likely to be promoted. But what if you are in a position that such an act will actually ruin your career? Then you need Option 6.
6) Climate change, global financial crises, in fact any global issue will do.
At any one time there are global issues that are totally out of the control of domestic governments, although few like to admit this unless there is a good reason to do so. They prefer to maintain the illusion that they are actually in control. One such good reason is when you need to shift the blame and all other higher level options have been assessed and found wanting. One word of caution – there are likely to be many experts out there who actually know what they are talking about, or at least are more convincing than you are when they talk, so beware of getting too specific about why climate change or the current financial crisis are responsible for your current woes. You need to have your bullshit technique in good order for this. You’ll need to practice a lot.
7) The French
As the hierarchy was developed by an Englishman, the final port of call is to blame the French. Feel free to improvise should you be in a country other than England. As every Englishman knows, the French are responsible for most, if not all, of the woes of the world, so they should rightly take the blame for your latest crisis. When you have reached this stage of the Blame Hierarchy you will be looking like a complete twat; no, don’t argue, it’s a fact. Your lame excuses and nationalistic posturing will provide huge amusement to the population, many of whom will laugh out loud when they see you on the street. They will actually start liking you at this point, and your stocks may well rise. You’re obviously an idiot and incompetent in the extreme – congratulations, you are perfect political material and should be Prime Minister.