Web of Excuses

MP Claudia Webbe made a fool of herself this summer. She was remotely asking questions of the Foreign Secretary and mispronounced the name of Belarus as ‘Baroos’. Several times she said it, so it was no mere slip. She then proceeded to ask a rather silly question, which, had she been wiser, she might have switched off her webcam and blamed a technical fault, cutting short our agony and sparing her some ridicule.

Politicians are forever making fools are themselves, primarily because most of them are foolish. Webbe is no exception, and is a bad advert for the women and BAME shortlists of which she is a product. She is a democratically elected Member for Leicester and I suspect few of those people will care how Belarus is pronounced, nor where it is on a map. Still, electorates get the representatives they deserve. Interestingly, Webbe tried to suggest that criticism of her pronunciation was down to her being black or ‘looking foreign’. As David Paxton simply replied on Twitter:

I reckon they believe you couldn’t pronounce it because they saw you failing to pronounce it.

Instead of admitting that she hadn’t properly prepped or had a poor command of geography, she decided that those who pulled her up were in fact guilty of prejudice. Too often we seek to pass the buck, divert attention, duck the blame. Leicester’s voters may judge for themselves if Webbe is fit to serve them in Parliament yet she only did what many of us do. If we have a short temper, we blame our short-tempered fathers. For every other shortcoming, we point fingers at our teachers who were too strict, families too poor, toys too few, husbands too busy, wives too quiet, children too modest. As a Christian, is my prayer life too brief because I am busy, or because I am lazy? Is my church too small because we are in a godless area, or am I too feckless to evangelise? Are my sermons uninspiring because the auditors are unspiritual, or because I don't invest them with enough preparation?

For whosoever hath, to him shall be given, and he shall have more abundance: but whosoever hath not, from him shall be taken away even that he hath. Matthew 12:13

Image by raimondas Zavackis from Pixabay