You don’t have to be a sociopath to be a Tory, but it helps

THE optics, as they say, are not good. A Conservative MP grinning on Saddam Hussein’s gold throne, and striking a goofy pose in front of the Victory Arch in central Baghdad.

On the face of it, this is jaw-droppingly insensitive stuff – even by Tory standards – and it’s little wonder relatives of those killed in the Iraq War are calling for his resignation.

But context is key, so let’s not rush to judgment. There must surely be an innocent explanation.

Perhaps Ross Thomson’s grinning, squinting, idiot’s face was Photoshopped on to someone else’s body. No? Oh, OK. Perhaps he was making a political and artistic statement, like photojournalist David E Scherman with his iconic image of Lee Miller soaping herself in Hitler’s bathtub. What’s that you say? That Thomson added a smiling-with-sunglasses emoji when sharing the pictures online? Hmm, perhaps not quite the same then (although to be fair they didn’t have emojis in 1945, so we can’t be certain this is any different).

Read the rest of this column at

Published in The National on April 20 2018.

Published by Shona Craven

Writer, editor, talking head

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