Sunak D-Day disaster sees red-faced Kuenssberg backtracking

  • Post last modified:June 9, 2024
  • Reading time:9 mins read

For those who’ve not followed the general election, this week’s biggest story was PM Rishi Sunak bailing on the 80th Anniversary of D-Day to get on with his failing election campaign. Most people witnessed this spectacle and thought, ‘what a slimy, self-serving, toerag‘. Laura Kuenssberg – Britain’s least insightful political expert – thought this:

Since Sunak’s D-Day disaster, he’s received intense criticism from everyone – including his own party. Having received plenty of well-deserved criticism of her own, Kuenssberg has been forced to backtrack.

Sunak: reverse D-Day

D-Day marks when the North Americans joined WWII by storming the beaches of Nazi-occupied France. On the 80th anniversary, Sunak did the opposite of what those brave, young men did – by fleeing back across the channel. Kuenssberg later joined him in an act of sympathetic cowardice by fleeing from her own opinions.

In the Election Newscast episode above, Kuenssberg summed up the situation of Cameron standing in for Sunak as being “slightly awkward”. This was after defending Sunak leaving on the basis that world leaders sometimes have other things to do

We should say, he did make a speech today so it’s not like he was just there for five minutes and then disappeared. But you’re right, at some of the crucial… maximum moments of potent choreography it was David Cameron who was actually there in his place.

People looking at it from a more compassionate or respectful viewpoint might have used a phrase like ‘dignified moment of somber reflection‘ instead of ‘maximum moment of potent choreography‘. She continued:

For prime ministers, who are trying to run the country as well as run an election campaign, that is a challenge that they’ve got that actually the leader of the opposition doesn’t have.

To be clear, Sunak returned solely for his election campaign – not to ‘run the country’ as Kuenssberg suggested. Given that other world leaders managed more than a pop-in, her argument didn’t land:

Kuenssberg wasn’t the only BBC figure drawing criticism either:

Kuenssberg’s backtrack ended up being inevitable as the situation became increasingly farcical:

Mistakes were made

Kuenssberg changed her tune the day after D-Day:

Hard to imagine her saying this when she publicly found it hard to even call it a mistake.

So what changed?

Well, for one, the legion of unnamed Tory sources who have her on speed dial made their thoughts clear:

On 8 June, Kuenssberg published an ‘in depth’ piece titled:

Sunak’s shocking week makes Tory election fight even tougher

In the piece, she wrote:

In the frenzy of campaigns, just like in politics and life in general, everyone makes mistakes sometimes.

This one is almost impossible to fathom.

You literally fathomed it two days earlier. In fact, you were famously the one person who could fathom it.

She continued:

It wasn’t a split-second decision that went the wrong way, or a hot-mic moment like Gordon Brown’s grisly “bigoted woman” comment about Gillian Duffy back in 2010. It was a deliberate choice made in advance.

Sunak’s decision to miss some of the ceremony was always likely to cause diplomatic offence and upset veterans. And from a campaigning point of view, he was turning down some of the most powerful images any candidate could dream of, to be seen alongside the American President, the Royal Family and military figures.

His early departure meant he wasn’t part of a photograph of world leaders. Instead Foreign Secretary David Cameron was pictured standing alongside President Biden, France’s President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz.

Again, she’s presenting this as obvious when it was anything but – not to her, anyway. The only thing she correctly identified to begin with was that Sunak missed out on a good photograph; she couldn’t anticipate the public reaction at all – almost as if she doesn’t understand or posses human emotions.

National embarrassments

As is to be expected, Sunak was expertly ridiculed by the British public:

Sunak deserves everything he gets, because he’s a national embarrassment. The same is true of Kuenssberg, but unfortunately she won’t be voted out of a job this time next month.

Featured image via BBC

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