Remember Jo Moore? Perhaps not. But if I tell you that, on September 11 2001 she sent a memo suggesting to Labour Party colleagues that this would be a good day to release bad news, you’ll probably remember her.
Even though there’s no question of telling lies about a particular matter, calculating its timing so that it gets less attention from the public and/or the media is dubious: it looks like you’re using the misfortune of others to your own advantage. (Mind you, we’ve had lots of examples of that here, with people clambering onto the coffins of the dead to use the situation to their advantage.)
I mention this because on Friday (yes, Virginia, Friday the Thirteenth), the long-awaited RHI report will be published. This week also there will be more corona virus deaths, the stock market will continue to plummet, hospitals will start to fill to overflowing, businesses will go broke as their employees are forced to stay at home, workers depending on the gig economy will have to choose between self-isolation and putting bread on the table. In the US, Trump is blundering around making dumb statements about the virus, in Italy they’re locking down an area containing millions of people, Boris Johnson is having to curb his good-for-a-laugh temperament and pretend to be a statesman, a plague of locusts is chewing its way through Africa, there’s been appalling floods and more are on the way: in short, this week there will be events which will pull our attention away from who did what in the RHI scandal.
Besides, a lot of people have lost interest in the whole RHI affair quite a while back, even though it stinks of incompetence and even corruption. About two months ago a friend lent me a copy of Sam McBride‘s book on RHI, recommending it highly. I haven’t opened it, even though I believe it is an absorbing read. It’s just that I’ve heard so much about the RHI story, which was reported in detail as it happened. And so much has happened since that enormous cock-up that most of us have moved on.
Plus, when there’s a virus going round that we’re told 40% of us could end up catching, and if we’re infirm or old or suffering from an underlying illness we may die from it, a scam involving boilers in chicken-sheds begins to look like a minor misdemeanour.
If you can spin a story out for long enough, people will yawn and walk away. At least, that’s what Arlene and her DUPers are praying (literally. in some cases) will happen. Unfortunately, they may be right.