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Polly Toynbee apologises for ‘crass’ plane crash analogy via Twitter

@PollyToynbee’s first tweet is an apology for a comment piece in which the Guardian journalist made a comparison between Gordon Brown and a crashing plane. This is the first paragraph of her piece for the Guardian on June 4:

“Another engine breaks away from Gordon Brown’s fuselage, and the damage done looks set to bring him crashing out of the sky. Even if he can judder on, the injury done will diminish him further. Which other engines may now break away too? Those who would bring him down say the prime minister is beyond repair. The party faces a terrible choice it can no longer avoid.”

Commenters raised questions about the metaphor used, given this week’s Air France disaster. As Jon Slattery noted on his blog, one Comment is Free user, ‘ShamelessWords’, complained:

“Are there no editors working at the Guardian tonight? This opening line, in light of the Air France tragedy this week, is astounding! It is beyond belief that this was written and then published, without anyone realising that the words are in extremely poor taste. What an insult to all those families grieving for loved ones. I hope they don’t see this article.The offending phrases need to be retracted and a quick apology is needed.”

Matt Seaton, the Guardian.co.uk Comment is Free editor, confirms in the comments that Polly Toynbee has apologised for the analogy via Twitter: “As many users have observed, the plane crash metaphor in the first paragraph has an unfortunate ring. Sorry Polly hasn’t been here herself, but she has twittered an apology.”

@PollyToynbee tweeted this morning:

“My sincere apologies for ‘plane crash’ Gordon Brown analogy in Guardian piece yesterday. Utterly crass and insensitive, mea culpa.”

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