Of all the ConservativeHome end-of-year awards, Gaffe of the Year is the one most often won by non-Conservatives. Ed Miliband’s ‘Edstone’ won in 2015, Emily Thornberry’s sneering tweet about England flags won in 2014, and Godfrey Bloom’s decision to thwack Michael Crick triumphed in 2013.
This year, however, the award does not simply go to an individual Conservative – an outright majority of the 1,050 Party members who took part in the survey have awarded it to the Conservative Party itself, specifically to its ill-judged and back-firing manifesto. Readers do not need us to recount the reasons why the manifesto amounted to Gaffe of the Year; it is sufficient to recall that it did, and memorialise it with a shudder.
In ordinary times, Diane Abbott’s famous miscalculations of the cost of police officer’s might have won out, and I think Tim Farron’s “smell my spaniel” moment has been criminally under-recognised, but it is hard to argue that either did greater self-inflicted damage than the eventual winner: a blue book.